Springbank Cheese Co. Crowfoot

Why Cover Goat Cheese in Ash?


Why Cover Goat Cheese in Ash?

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The use of ash on cheese is traced back to the small farmhouse cheese makers in France, who preserved their autumn cheeses through the winter months by coating them with sel noir (black salt) a mixture of salt and ash made from vine cuttings, or charcoal from the fireplace. This ash provided an instant natural rind for protection and neutralized surface acidity, allowing natural molds to grow. The ash coating allowed the moisture to be drawn out and the curd to mature without the rind becoming rancid or sticky. Now the ash, sometimes called activated charcoal, is a food grade charcoal or vegetable ash. It’s used on some soft cheeses to neutralize the surface of the cheese and create an environment for the growth of penicillium candidum mold while inhibiting unwanted mold growth. The activation is due to ionizing, which results in the ash being purer and very fine, having the ability to cover a larger surface area which greatly increases it’s absorptiveness.

Ash is mixed with salt before applying to cheese. Cheeses with ash are worth maturing for longer periods of time and are not hard to take care of. They will usually develop a blue-gray, mottled rind, condensed, nutty texture and a strong creamy flavour. The ash counteracts the goat cheese’s natural acidity, balancing the fundamental flavours of the cheese.

Check out the goat cheeses (chevre) Le Cendrillon from Quebec or the St. Maure Cendre from France your next time in at Springbank!