Use these notes with caution. They were written by an enthusiastic beginner.


Brevibacterium linens - Stinky. Washed-rind and smear-ripened red mould cheeses. Limburger and Port-Salut. Aroma attracts mosquitoes.

Propionibacterium shermanii - This makes eyes or the holes. This produces bubbles of CO2.

Bacteria (Mesophiles) - Acidify the milk at 18°C to 32°C for up to 24 hours.

Lactobacillus acidophilus - Flavour, texture, and proteolysis (protein softening while ripening.)

Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus - Converts lactose sugar into lactic acid and acetaldehyde yogurt aroma.

Lactobacillus helveticus - Reduce bitterness and produce nutty flavours typical in Swiss cheeses.

Lactococcus lactis subsp. biovar diacetylactis - Buttery taste and texture. Produce lactic acid, diacetyl and CO2

Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris - One of the two commonest milk ripening bacteria.

Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis - One of the two commonest milk ripening bacteria.

Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris - Produces gas bubbles, and flavour compounds.

Bacteria (Thermophiles) - Acidify the milk at over 32°C for up to 24 hours. 42°C optimum for yogurt.

Streptococcus thermophilus - Used to make yogurt by turning lactose, the sugar in milk, into lactic acid.

Bacteria and Mould starters on a budget - bacteria and moulds are expensive to buy.

Buy the simplest versions avoiding Greek or Creamy versions.

This avoids thickeners that make it hard to dry the curds.

Live Yogurt - contains thermophilic bacteria and can be used as a low cost starter.

Live Cultured Buttermilk - contains mesophilic bacteria and can be used as a low cost starter.

Live Kefir

This contains both mesophilic and thermophilic bacteria and can be used as a starter.

The ripening temperature determines which type dominates.

Around 22 to 32°C, mesophilic will dominate.

Around 42°C, thermophilic will dominate.

Kefir contains other bacteria, moulds and yeasts, harmless or beneficial in cheese making.

Filmjölk - Useful combination of cultures!

Lactococcus lactis

Lactococcus lactis cremoris

Lactococcus lactis diacetylactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides cremoris.

Leuconostoc mesenteroides cremoris.

Quantity to Use - no need to be super precise

Use a 1/4 cup to start a gallon or 60 ml to start 4 litres.

Avoid using a lot more starter. I've had problems with wet slimy curds that are hard to dry.

Don't wait too long before adding rennet. You don't want the milk to start curdling before the rennet is added.


Moulds need oxygen to grow. Use a humid ventilated box.

Avoid vacuum packing because it kills the these moulds.


Geotrichum candidum - White mould. Mushroomy flavour. Reduces skin slip.

Penicillium candidum - White mould. Bloomy rind on Brie, Camembert, etc.

If white mould forms very fast in less than a week, the ageing area might be too warm.

Skin slip (a melted layer under the white mould rind) is more likely with fast mould development.

When mould begins to form, move the cheese to a cooler place.

Harmless pink mould indicates a too humid environment.

Brown or light brown mould indicates a too low humidity environment.


Penicillium roquforti - Blue in mould in Roquefort, Stilton, Danish blue, Cabrales,etc.

Penicillium glaucum - Like roquforti but milder. Gorgonzola etc.

Ripen the cheese in a warm damp box until the blue mould forms.

Excessive humidity encouraged brevibacterium linens and maked the cheese very smelly.

Pierce the cheese all over and move it to a cooler place.

Once it's ripe enough, move to a normal fridge.

Moulds and Bacteria on a budget - Use rind shavings liquidised in milk and sieve out the lumps.

White mould can be harvested from the rinds of Camembert, Brie, etc. to make similar cheeses.

Blue mould can be harvested from the rinds or veins of any blue cheese to make similar cheeses.

Blue mould grows well on sourdough toast and can be frozen for later use.

Red bacteria Brevibacterium linens is present on human skin. A vinegar hand spray helps to prevent transfer to the cheese.

Red bacteria for stinky cheeses can be encouraged by rind washing with dilute brine every day or two.

Frozen cubes can be stored. Add bacteria and/or moulds to the milk and divert some into ice cube bags. Culture for 12 hours, then freeze.