A cheese cave at Murray’s CheesePhoto: VIPNYCAging cheese is tricky business. Trust me, I saw some pretty gory casualties while working at Murray’s Cheese in New York City this summer. When cheese goes wrong, it’s subject to cracking, peeling, excessive amounts of mite-dust, saggy skin, hosts of unintended molds. The list goes on.
Which is why I was surprised to read about people who think of affinage, the process of carefully aging cheese, as a joke, or worse, a scam. The New York Times published a great article recently called “Cheese: A Coming-of-Age Story.” It featured many big names in the American cheese scene, including Rob Kaufelt, the owner, and Brian Ralph, the cave manager at Murray’s Cheese, a bastion of great cheese. They talked about why it matters to pay attention to temperature, humidity, ambient microorganisms , and storage when aging cheese. Doing it well, they said, produces that perfect bloomy-rinded Valençay, or that glossy, amber-hued Epoisses, while doing it carelessly (or not doing it at all) can lead to disaster, or at the very least some pretty underwhelming curd.
In the same article Steven Jenkin... Read more