The blue cheese that I made on Friday was dry enough today after 3 days turning, that I made the decision tonight to pierce the holes in each cheese so that they can develop the blue mould, and to put them in their maturation boxes then into the cheese cave.
Here are the two smaller wheels before piercing. Notice the slight blue blush or the mould already. They are dry to touch, but still very moist.
As a piercing tool, I simply use one of my milk thermometers and stab from top to bottom.
Here they are tucked safely in their box waiting to be put into the cheese cave. Under the stand is a little bowl of water to keep the humidity high.
Here is the large wheel, which weighs about 1.5 kg. It was also starting to bulge but in a bad way, so I had to slip the hoop back on it.
It has a large crack through the middle, probably from when I shoved it back into the hoop. To patch it up, I smoothed the outside around the crack and it sealed like glue.
I pierced from top to bottom with the thermometer. About 40 holes in all. That should give the cheese a lovely even blue flavour and nice lines throughout.
Finally, here it is in its maturation box. As this is the biggest blue I have ever made, I had to improvise a little. I used a 4 litre ice cream container, and the cheese is resting on two 2 litre ice cream container lids and on top of that is some sushi mat cut to size. I put a little water in the floor of the container to raise the humidity. The cheese is well above this little bit of water. With the lid on, I put both containers into the bottom of the cheese cave.
Next steps are to turn ever 4 days for 30 days, then scrape any blue and red mould off with a knife. This cheese matures for at least 90 days, where I will wrap in cheese wrap and refrigerate in the normal fridge for another month. It should then be ready to eat!
Looking forward to writing the next blue update.