The science bit
The science bit
Our early work with a mycologist taught us much about the microflora landscape, but even the experts admit that they cannot know the breadth and width of micro flora, but emphasised the point that tight control of climatics is key to safety and consistency.
What is the white stuff on your charcuterie? The answer is actually a number of different organisms, predominantly moulds but also yeasts and good bacteria. Primarily the importance of this biological layer is that it helps to moderate drying by slowing the escape of moisture from the product, which reduces the risk of uneven drying and spoilage.
The second important function is its influence on flavour, pH regulation and contributing to the breakdown of fats and proteins. Moulds scavenge oxygen and metabolize peroxides, protecting against rancidity and stabilizing colour. There are certainly moulds that do not produce desirable results, however, they can be avoided by careful control of climatic conditions including humidity, temperature and airflow.
There are many myths that exist around moulds and in the world of the charcutier, the most common is that you can tell if mould is good or bad by colour. White moulds are considered to be good and coloured moulds bad, there are however many exceptions to this with certain green and brownish moulds that are really useful additions to the biome. Having seen the maturation space in the content first hand, we can certainly say that many of them are populated by a huge array of organisms, not only moulds but yeasts and bacteria too. Control of climatics and careful monitoring are essential for promoting the right type of growth with in aging space, these space are a living biomes and need to be looked after.
The best method we employ is often with our noses. When you enter aging rooms, undesirable mould issues will often be identified by the wet dog/wet towel smell. The health of a room is picked up faster by scent than by sight. This is where we underpin all our tight and rigorous climactic check and controls by our own organoleptic checks on the room (we have a number of very sensitive and trained palates and noses at Tempus which we rely on for this essential process).