Domain Three: Cheese Ripening (Affinage)

Domain Three: Cheese Ripening (Affinage)

Affinage is a French word that comes from the French verb Affiner, which comes from the Latin “ad finis”, meaning “towards the limit”. The Affineur is the person who ages cheeses.

In cheese terms, affinage is a French term that describes the ageing and maturing of cheese. It is during this period of time that flavor and texture development take place.  Each cheese has a set of unique requirements for temperature, humidity, and treatments (such as washing, brushing, or turning) that, combined, will ensure its proper development.

As this Body of Knowledge is a product of the American Cheese Society, it was preferred that the title of this domain be Cheese Ripening, which is the closest translation for the French term, though within the body of the text the term affineur/affinage will also be used.

Aging and maturing is not a precise science: the animal, the flora, the quality of the milk, the terroir, the season have an influence on the cheeses; the skill of the affineur is to be able to adapt his techniques and methods to the cheeses. This knowledge comes with time and experience.

 

GENERAL INFORMATION

 

OPERATIONS

1. TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT FOR TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY

2. ROLES OF AIR IN AFFINAGE (SPEED, OXYGEN CHANGE, HUMIDITY, AMMONIA EVACUATION, ETC.)

3. DESIGNING A SPACE AND CHOOSING TOOLS WITH FOOD SAFETY IN MIND

  • Zangerl, Peter, Christa Matlschweiger, Klaus Dillinger, and Frieda Eliskases-Lechner. “Survival of Listeria Monocytogenes after Cleaning and Sanitation of Wooden Shelves Used for Cheese Ripening.” European Journal of Wood and Wood Products 68, no. 4 (November 1, 2010): 415–19. doi:10.1007/s00107-009-0381-6. (http://bit.ly/1hH3kMq)
  • Guillier, L, V Stahl, B Hezard, E Notz, and R Briandet. “Modelling the Competitive Growth between Listeria Monocytogenes and Biofilm Microflora of Smear Cheese Wooden Shelves.” International Journal of Food Microbiology 128, no. 1 (November 30, 2008): 51–57. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2008.06.028.(http://1.usa.gov/1hH4IyA)
  • Mariani, Claire. “Ecologie Microbienne Des Biofilms Présents À La Surface Des Planches D’affinage En Bois de l’AOC’Reblochon de Savoie’et Effet Inhibiteur Vis À Vis de Listeria Monocytogenes.” ENSIA (AgroParisTech), 2007. http://pastel.archives-ouvertes.fr/pastel-00005194/. (http://bit.ly/1hH8yaY, http://1.usa.gov/1hH99JO)
  • Ville, Minh. “TWO CASE STUDIES OF ANTI-LISTERIA EFFECTS IN TRADITIONAL ALPINE CHEESES AND THEIR ENVIRONMENT: COMPOUNDS PRESENT IN CHEESE AND BIOFILMS PRESENT ON CHEESE RIPENING WOODEN SHELVES.” Accessed June 11, 2014. http://www.smbb.com.mx/memcongresos/acapulco09/trabajos/simposios/simposio%20alimentos/PASCAL%20DEGRAEVE.pdf. (http://bit.ly/1hH9o7N)
  • Ak, Nese O, Dean O Cliver, and Charles W Kaspari. “Cutting boards of plastic and wood contaminated experimentally with bacteria.” Journal of Food Protection® 57.1 (1994): 16-22. (http://bit.ly/1pEz0ST)
  • Didienne, Robert et al. “Characteristics of microbial biofilm on wooden vats (‘gerles’) in PDO Salers cheese.” International journal of food microbiology 156.2 (2012): 91-101. (http://1.usa.gov/1pEGXYd)
  • Compte-rendu de fin de recherche du programme ACTIAA-ITFF 2003-2006 n°RA 03.27. Janvier 2007. Ecologie microbienne des planches d’affinage de fromages à croûte lavée : biofilm microbien durant l’affinage et interactions vis-à-vis de Listeria monocytogenes. Disponible auprès d’Eric Notz

 

AFFINAGE PROCESS

1. DESIGNING CARE BASED ON GENERAL CHEESE TYPE/STYLE

2. ADJUSTING CARE BASED ON UNIQUE BATCH PARAMETERS (moisture, pH, salt, inherent microflora, etc.)

  • Mullan, W Michael A. “Causes and Control of Early Gas Production in Cheddar Cheese.” International Journal of Dairy Technology 53, no. 2 (May 1, 2000): 63–68. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0307.2000.tb02660.x.

3. EVALUATING CHEESE DURING RIPENING- SENSORY AND TECHNICAL READINGS/DETERMINING RIPENING TRAJECTORY FOR PROPER TIMING OF RELEASE

  • McCalman, Max. 2009. “7 Degrees of Ripeness.” Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maitre Fromager. Clarkson Potter.

4. RIND MANAGEMENT

  • Caldwell, Gianaclis. “All ‘Bout Bloomies- Secrets of Making White Mold Ripened Beauties.” Chelsea Green. http://chelseagreen.com/blogs/gianacliscaldwell/2011/09/19/all-%E2%80%98bout-bloomies-secrets-of-making-white-mold-ripened-beauties/.
  • Caldwell, Gianaclis. “Cheese Mites- A Creepy Little Secret.” Gianaclis Caldwell. http://gianacliscaldwell.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/cheese-mites-a-creepy-little-secret/.

5. SANITATION PROTOCOLS + TRACEABILITY AND BATCH TRACKING/HACCP

6. IDENTIFYING DEFECTS

7. FEEDBACK LOOP TO CHEESEMAKERS AND HERD MANAGERS

 

CHEMISTRY OF AFFINAGE

1. UNDERSTANDING FAT AND PROTEIN BREAKDOWN/METABOLIC PATHWAYS TO FLAVOR COMPOUNDS

2. EXPLORING THE PREDICTORS AND CHEMISTRY BEHIND TEXTURE DEVELOPMENT

3. UNDERSTANDING PATHOGENS- THE CHEMISTRY AND MICROBIOLOGY OF ‘SAFE’ CHEESE DEFECTS

  • Food Safety. “Listeria” http://www.foodsafety.gov/poisoning/causes/bacteriaviruses/listeria/
  • Button, Julie, and Rachel Dutton. “Quick Guide: Cheese Microbes.” Current Biology, n.d.