How Mold Is Encouraged to Grow Inside Stilton Cheese

Cherry Healy of The Smithsonian series Inside the Factory visited cheesemaker Roger Longman of Longman Cheese in Somerset, England, to learn how tiny organisms help to make their finest cheeses.

Why does Stilton have blue veins? Why do some cheeses smell bad? And the biggest mystery of all: why does Swiss cheese have holes? Join Cherry Healy as she tracks down the answers to these enduring cheese questions.

Longman explained to Healy how he and his staff encourage harmless mold to grow inside young Stilton cheese by poking holes into the wheel to make it mature into a Blue Stilton.

This is a young Stilton before it’s developed the Blue Mold you’ll see very fine cracks in it and that’s where the blue mold will grow at a later stage. So the spores are already in there, they just haven’t grown yet. …There’s no Oxygen in that cheese at the moment so the mold can’t grow on the inside ….So we get the oxygen by using a stainless steel needle it’s a technique developed at least 200 years ago.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.