Making the Ultimate (Stinky) Cheese Board | Serving Up Science

– Have you ever
noticed certain cheeses smell, well, really bad? I’m Sheril Kirshenbaum,
and on this episode of Serving Up Science,
we’re going to explore the bacteria behind the
phenomenon of stinky cheese, while making the
ultimate cheese board. You get a twofer. From a strictly
chemical perspective, there are similarities between
the strains of bacteria behind some cheeses and BO. B. epidermis bacteria is
found on sweaty regions of our bodies, like belly
buttons, armpits, feet, and even the, mm,
groin. (buzzer beeps) In fact, you can even
make stinky cheese using the bacteria
living on our bodies. It’s been done, but we’re
not gonna do that here today. B. linens bacteria live on the
skin of washed rind cheeses, and if you’re wondering, a
washed rind cheese is any cheese that has had a solution of
salts or alcohol rubbed on it, and washing the rind leads
to that notorious funky odor that we tend to
describe as similar to stinky feet and
barnyard animals, not necessarily the scents
that we’d initially guess could also be delicious. Joining me in the kitchen today, we have Tessie Ives-Wilson, one of only 740 certified
cheese professionals in the entire world. Tessie, welcome to
Serving Up Science. What exactly is a
cheese professional? – So the certified
cheese professionals are a group of people who
have dedicated themselves to learning about
cheese production, so we study everything
from the effect that feed and hay and grass have on
milk production in animals all the way up through designing
the ultimate cheese board (harp glissando) – I’m so excited you’re here. I have a celebrity in my house. So tell us the basics
of what we need to know to make a perfect cheese board. – Definitely, so I
brought today a couple of my favorite cheeses,
but they all fall into a couple really neat categories. Something old, something new, something stinky,
and something blue. And we’re gonna focus on
the stinky cheeses today while we build our
ultimate cheese board. So drunk monks bring us some
of the most tasty things in history, and washed rind
cheeses are no exception. One day, a young monk
was in the cheese room turning the cheeses
that they made on site, and he dropped a cheese by
accident into his cup of beer. So after fishing it
back out of his beer, three weeks later, he
had a beautiful cheese that looked and smelled
completely different from everything
else in the room. – I believe that’s
the kind of thing Bob Ross used to
call happy accidents. – Definitely. – The first cheese on our board
is our old cheese, Manchego. Would you mind if
you missed a piece? – I wouldn’t mind.
– (deep voice) Whoa. – One of the stinky cheeses
that I brought with me today is a really lovely Muenster. So when you’re tasting
this, the thing to remember is that the rind is gonna
be the really intense part of this, but the
interior of the cheese should be really creamy and
have some beefy bacony notes that come from the
influence of the bacteria. – (deep voice) Wow. – Not what you expected? – No, I mean, how does
something that tastes so good smell so disgusting? – So the smell comes
from the bacteria breaking down the milk on
the inside of the cheese, but in our mouths,
those flavors go up the back of our palate,
and science now tells us that that’s called
reverse tasting, where things that
if we smell them at our nose smell really bad, but once we smell
them through the back of our mouths,
taste really great. – Wow, it’s so interesting because from an
evolutionary perspective, we have a natural
aversion to bad smells because they warn
us to stay away from stuff that
can make us sick. Not so with stinky cheese. The second step is adding
our stinky cheese, Washtenaw. – Stinky cheeses are
generally cheeses that have that soft,
moist, particularly orange, rind on the outside. Other cheeses, like
our blue cheese, are going to be
described as stinky, but those aromas and
flavors come from molds that grow on the
inside of the cheese instead of the bacteria
on the outside. – Next up, we have our
new cheese, the City Goat. – Rinds on soft cheeses and
soft washed rind cheeses especially add flavor
and texture to the
cheese experience. – Our fourth cheese on the board is another stinky
variety, Brabander. – So by adding different
milk types and textures on a cheese board,
that’s part of what adds both visual and taste
interest to a board. – I notice you cut off the rind. I just pop the whole
thing in my mouth. Was I eating cheese wrong? – There is no wrong way
to eat cheese, Sheril, but you weren’t wrong in that. My general rule of thumb
is if it doesn’t add to your enjoyment of the cheese, it’s not a rind you should eat. There are, of
course, exceptions, like a wax rind on our
blue that we’ve got today, that while they aren’t
going to hurt you, aren’t really great food,
so I tend to avoid them. – Okay, well, on soft
cheeses, I’m a rind girl. Our final cheese on the board is our blue cheese,
Kentucky Blue. Okay, so if I got this
right at this point, we have something old, something new, something stinky, and something blue.
– Definitely. And to that, I like to
fill in all of the gaps on my board with
dried fruit, nuts. I’ve brought some really
lovely young peppers, and those all add pairing
options along with our cheeses, and let us have
different experiences with each bite of cheese. – Well, what’s your
favorite stinky cheese? Share that with us in
the comments below, and if you like this video,
make sure to subscribe. – Cheers to cheese!
– Cheers to happy accidents.


  1. Alfredo Gonzalez

    October 28, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    Although I am not one of these people, a significant portion of the human population is lactose intolerant.. many people especially blacks, asians, Latinos, and some hwites develop digestive issues from consuming these foods and they'll go to the doctor thinking there's something wrong with their digestion but in reality they're consistently consuming readily available foods they are allergic to/unable to digest .. so don't be surprised if some leftist calls you a racist over this

  2. MrT3a

    October 28, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Favourite cheese ? Right now, it's a toss between Bleu de Sassenage and Roquefort.

  3. Donald Wilson

    October 28, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    My favourite stinky cheese (scratch that… Favourite cheese EVER) is Uplands Cheese: Rush Creek Reserve !!

  4. Michael Wade

    October 29, 2019 at 1:12 am

    Sheril low-key nibbling on cheese during recording is incredibly relatable.

  5. Brooke Resch

    October 29, 2019 at 3:21 am

    Wisconsin approved 👌

  6. CJ Thibeau

    October 29, 2019 at 4:04 am

    Super interesting and delicious looking episode! Would love to see a future episode on why smoking foods is so tasty and why people started doing it and what it does to change the food you smoke!

  7. Mary McNair

    November 6, 2019 at 4:39 am


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