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, September 11, 2011


At 6 weeks it was excellent!

When we lived in Belgium, this cheese was responsible for at least 10lb of weight increase and who knows how much cholesterol.

Carbonzola - as the name suggests is a hybrid cheese - a camembert inoculated with  Penicillium roqueforti mold , the same mold used to make a range of blue cheeses such as Roquefort and the Italian Gorgonzola. What you get is the best of both worlds. The taste and aroma of an early and mild blue with the soft creamy texture of a camembert.

Normally Camembert has a Fat to Protein ration of 0.9, achieved by the addition of about 2 tables spoons of heavy cream per gallon of full cream milk. See the Camembert blog for details.

In this case I am making it with a ratio of 1:1 - using just full cream milk. If you want the uber rich version - add the cream. Also I have chosen to use as my Penicillium roqueforti source, a nice piece of Gabriel Coulet Roquefort - a dreamy French sheeps milk semi soft blue - perhaps the very best of its type - see more details in the Tasting Notes section of the blog.

As you will see the Penicillium roqueforti is added while the curds are being added to the hoops so for this batch I am going to make one Camembert and one Carbonzola from the same batch.

In the past I have made two small 5 oz Camembert's from one 1/2 gallon - so we will see how much we can fit into the molds by dewatering a bit first and then trying to build two 8-10 oz wheels. We will also see if I can make them without cross contamination.

For this batch


You will need:

1 gallon of full cream milk - I chose Whole Foods 365 Whole Milk

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
Penicillium roqueforti from Gabriel Coulet Roquefort sheeps milk cheese

Draining mats
Camembert forms 4 inch


Heat milk to 90 F
Add 20 drops calcium chloride solution in 1/4 cup non coordinated water
Mesophilic Starter - pinch
Penicillum Candidum - pinch
Geotrichum Candidum - pinch
Mix and hold at 90 F for one hour
Add Calf Rennet powder - 1/8 tsp in 1/4 cup non coordinated water
Mix for 2 minutes and then leave undisturbed for one hour

Once you have a clean break confirmed cut the curds into large 1 inch pieces and GENTLY mix the curds for 5 minutes and allow for some whey separation. Drain about 1/4 gallon of whey. Then using a spoon transfer curds to the hoops placed on draining mats. Fill hoops to half full.

For the Carbonzola

- blend a teaspoon of Roquefort cheese vein with water to a paste.
- drizzle this paste over the 1/2 full hoop

Then - continue to fill the hoop to the top and allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Flip hoops and allow to drain for one hour

Flip hoops and allow to drain for one hour

Flip hoops and allow to drain for 3 hours

Flip hoops and allow to drain overnight (12 hours)

Remove from hoops and salt all sides with one tablespoon of cheese salt

Place in cave at 95% humidity at 50-55F for 8-12 days to allow white Penicillum mold to grow on the surface. The mold should start to appear at days 6-8. Turn the cheese daily.

For Carbonzola - at day 5 - remove cheese from cave and pierce wheel through the side (horizontal) with a clean skewer every 1/4 inch. The idea is to allow oxygen to reach the roqueforti molds that require oxygen to grow. This will produce the blue veins in the cheese. Place back in the cave.

Remove one the cheese has a good white coating. Wrap in breathable cheese paper and transfer to a colder cave at 45-50 F to age for 3-5 weeks.

Prep the tools
Prep the tools
Cut the curds

Stir for 3-4 mins
Remove 1/4 whey
Prep the hoops

Do not eat all the blue!
Make a slurry
Add blue slurry

Fill hoops

After overnight draining - remove from hoops and salt all sides and air dry for the day. Notice the front wheel is the Carbonzola. You can see some flecks of blue.

After 12 days at 55F the Camembert foreground and Carbonzola had an excellent healthy white growth coat and were ready for wrapping and storage for three weeks at 50F
Using a wooden skewer holes were poked through the round from sides and top to allow air access for blue growth
Ready for wrapping and storage at 50F for three weeks

At 6 weeks - perfect

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