n.1. A container, usually distinctively shaped, into which a food is placed in order to take on the shape of that container. Molds can range in size from tiny, individual candy-size molds to large pudding molds. The food (such as butter, chocolate, ice cream, aspic, pâté or a gelatin-based dessert) is poured or packed into the mold and then customarily refrigerated until it becomes firm enough to hold its shape. 2. The finished dish made in such a container. 3. Any of thousands of varieties of fungi that grow on food items such as bread, cheese, fruit and jam. Molds grow best when the food is acidic and the environment is warm, damp and dark, with some air circulation. Mold reproduces from its spores, which are carried through the air until they find the right food and environment to germinate. Most molds are simply nuisances that spoil food but are not harmful. Among the beneficial molds are those purposely nurtured to create wonderful blue cheeses like roquefort and stilton, and that which grows on the rind of camembert, providing its distinctive flavor. mold v.To form food into a distinctive shape either by hand-forming (as with a bread dough) or by pouring (as with aspic) into a decorative mold and chilling or freezing until firm.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.