Adventures in Cheesmaking

This all started out as a curiosity. Like most stuff we eat there is a rich history behind it. Centuries of experimentation. Cheese is just another example.

From the horse back tribes of the Asian Steppes to the Silk Road camel caravans to Romans Legions to European Monks to today, milk was a great source of nutrition but spoiled quickly and was heavy to transport.

The answer was cheese.

Sunday, August 7, 2011


This is a much storied cheese - very French and full of history and visions of rocky rivers and grazing cattle and sheep to the south and east of Paris, dark cold and damp caves, Camembert and its big brother Brie are a family of soft ripened moldy cheeses that like a Beaujolais need to be consumed not too early and not too late.

The process of Camembert production takes anywhere from a minimum of 21 days (the legal minimum ageing in France to receive its trademarked brand) to about 6 weeks. Ill keep this article live and updated over that period.

To make 2 * 8 oz 250gram Camembert

1/2 gallon Full cream homogenized milk - I used Mayfield brand
1 tbsp Heavy whipping cream - again used Mayfield
Calcium Chloride solution
Mesophilic Starter - pinch
Penicillum Candidum - pinch
Geotrichum Candidum - pinch
For this recipe I used a combined pack
Calf Rennet powder - 1/8 tsp
pH Test strips
4" draining forms
Bamboo draining mats
Cheese Cave - medium temp 12 deg C/55 F 85-95% RH
Cheese Cave - low temp 5 deg C/40 F 80% RH

Get ready

 Time 0
Adjust Milk to a Protein: Fat ratio of 0.9. For my milk this required addition of 1 tbsp of heavy dream to 1/2 gallon of milk: See P:F ratio spread sheet
Add 10 drops of Calcium Chloride solution in 1/4 cup non chlorinated water (I use from the fridge dispenser that has a carbon filter - we don't want to kill the bugs bacteria!)
pH of Milk was 6.5-6.75
Heat to 90 F

Time 15 min
Dissolve starter culture in a 1/2 cup of the milk and add to batch
Hold at 90 F for 1 hour
Dissolve rennet in 1/4 non chlorinated water

Time  1 hour 15 min
pH of Batch was 6.5 to 6.75
Add the rennet and stir well
leave sit undisturbed for 1 hour

Time 1 Hour 25min
Initial floc observation at 10 mins - allow 6-8* initial floc time as your hold time

A clean break
Time 2 Hour 40min
pH 6.5
Use a slotted ladle transfer curds in draining forms on drainage mats (sterilize all materials - I poor boiling water over it all)
Transfer curds gently to forms

Allow the curds to drain
Time 4 Hours
Place a second draining mat and board on top of the form and invert

Time 5 Hours 30 min
Place a second draining mat and board on top of the form and invert

Time 7 Hours
Place a second draining mat and board on top of the form and invert
The volume will reduce by over 2/3

Time 8 Hours
Place a second draining mat and board on top of the form and invert
Left overnight

Next Morning Day 2
Whey is now acidic at pH 4.5 - taste it 
The pH of the whey is now 4.75 - taste it - very sharp and acidic
Add about 1/2 tsp of salt
Leave in the mold and sprinkle 1/4 tsp of salt on one surface.

Time 2 Hours
Remove the mold and salt the other side

Time 6 Hours
Air dry for 4-8 hours until no whey is on the surface
Flip and air dry

Time 8 Hours
Place in a plastic container on a draining mat. A a small container of water and place at 50F and 80% Humidity for 10 days and turn each day to ensure good even growth of mold.

Ready for the "Cave"

UPDATE: September 4th 2011

So after 10 days in the 50F cave they had a good cover of mold. They were wrapped in breathable two layer cheese paper and placed in the cold cave 45F for another and a bit weeks.

One felt ready so we opened it up - great news - wonderful creamy center - mild but good taste. I think I got it at just the right time!

No comments:

Post a Comment