It was an orange, sticky, ammoniacal mess as I peeled away the damp and disintegrating waxed paper. I dabbed with a dish towel. Wielding knife, I got into it and appreciated that the external funk could be cut away yielding a somewhat discolored but seemingly serviceable paste. You can appreciated the surface molds visibly penetrating in the undersurface of the cut away pieces towards the top of the picture.
|Bayley Hazen Blue|
You might ask-- is it good to eat? Is it safe? The answer to the first question is easy-- if it tastes good, its good. The history of food discovery is just that. Is it safe? This is a harder and sometimes very important question-- mushroom gathering comes to mind. For artisan-produced cheeses with real rinds, consider this approach. If the cheese is molding with what looks like its intended surface molds, this is fine. Just cut away what doesn't taste good and enjoy. If the color has dramatically changed, or the surface mold texture is totally different, this is more extreme. You may discover a new food or flavor, and perhaps just keep this process to yourself until you are a little more sure about safety.
|What remains of the Bayley Hazen Blue|
Lastly, I include a post from a cheese blog I created a while ago about this topic. This has more to do with commercial cheeses, but presents a slightly stricter view. Curious to know reader's thoughts on this!
A few posts ago I said I would write again about what I learned about mold on cheese. In short, one should not consume molds that aren't supposed to be on or in the cheese. This is rarely difficult to figure out. If cheese didn't come with the mold in question, it probably is a bad actor. Almost always pink/yellow/black molds are bad. The mycotoxins they can contain can make you sick. Exactly what kind of sick isn't clear to me from the literature. Many know of aflatoxin, but this doesn't cause acute symptoms so much as it is a potent carcinogen.
1. Official guidelines say for hard (e.g. aged Gouda) and semi-firm (e.g. Fontina) cheeses, one can cut away 1 inch around and below mold spot (I use for spot bigger than eraser head, smaller I cut less) and the rest should be safe.
2. Entire package of pre-sliced or crumbled cheese with molding should be discarded. The mold is likely not just in the place you see.
3. It is true, a soft cheese with more than a very small bit of abnormal mold should be discarded in its entirety. The wetness allows the mold roots to grow deeply, even if the surface mold spot is not very large.
See this USDA site for more information.