Originally Posted by Wade
I am sorry Mike but I have to disagree
Not all vacuum packed cheeses will last for years. It will depend on what is on the cheese surface when it is vac packed. Even some supermarket mature Cheddars that have been vac packed will begin to get undesirable mold after a few weeks/months.
It is also a myth that smoking will effectively inhibit bacterial growth. Smoke may have a short term antiseptic effect however normal smoked cheese will mold almost as quickly as normal un-smoked cheese when packed. It will all depend on the type cheese and what is on the surface at the time of packing.
The way we use smoke with cheese is really only as a flavouring agent. The preservative effect of smoking on any food is predominantly the dehydration of that food during the smoking process - and we do not smoke cheese in this way.
Your cheese cabinet looks great by the way.
My experience and knowledge is accurate and gained as a cheese monger for 20 yrs and a speciality butcher in same store for 10yrs+. My family and i have owned and operated the business for 25 years.
I mentioned I can be more specific if interested because there are many nuances to cheese that would take many paragraphs to explain.
Also mention that not all can be held in cov packaging and gave a list of the 'families' of cheese that should never be vacuum packed.
I've had cheddar arrive in my store that had been aged 5 years in 40lb blocks prior to vac-packing then store for 2+yrs after sealing. Not an issue. Just keeps ageing and getting better.
Mold is caused by cross contamination when handling thorugh dirty hands, knives, cutting surface, or over diluted sanitizing solutions. I know from years of experience that the smoked surface of a smoked cheddar will take much longer to begin to show signs of contamination me than its un-smoked counterpart, even when exposed to certain levels contamination. Properly handled smoked cheddar will begin to shows signs of contamination on a freshly cut surface.
Smoke is antimicrobial and an antioxidant. In preserves the exterior but is unable to penetrate the interior of the food, which is why cures and brines are used to preserve meats.
When you smoke food the chemicals in the smoke adhere to the surface, that's what gives it the colour and flavour, and these chemicals impart the antibacterial and antioxidant properties onto the surface of the food being smoked. this is not a myth.
These antioxidant properties help when smoking oily fish by slowing the breakdown of the oils preventing them from going rancid in a short period of time. This is not a myth either.
We've cold smoked un-cured foods tested through a food sciences lab and the results show this is true. These tests were at the request of our local Health Department to ensure food safety to the public.
cheddar type cheeses that start to show signs of mold in a grocery store have cross contamination, if they are a vac packed cheese and there is mold in the package then there are 2 problems, the 1st being contamination and the 2nd is that the vacuum package has a leak somewhere in the package allowing enough air in to grow bacteria.
if anyone requires more detailed info on buying, handling, packaging, storing or smoking cheese let me know. More than happy to share my 20+ years of hands on knowledge and experience on the subject
Heres a Pic of a whole aged AAA un-cured cold smoked then dry aged for 48 hr. Another of the specialities our cheese and meat shop. Best steaks ever!! .Edited by madman mike - 2/23/14 at 2:08pm