Author Topic: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert  (Read 3841 times)

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2012, 11:18:03 AM »
Jessika - Anytime!  Peter Dixon's recipe is also very good. It's actually not very far from the one I gave you, just the ration of inoculation and cloculation is different. You will still reach the same pH at ladling and after hooping.

It took me some time but an envelope with some wrapping paper samples is on its way to you finally.  What creamery equipment are you looking for? Let me know and I will see if I can help. 

I have the same pH meter. I love it but I find that it takes it long time to stabilize to the temperature of the tested substance and that can be confusing, so I now try to buffer and clean it in liquid which is roughly the temperature of the milk/curd. This way it gives me an accurate reading much faster.

bbracken677 - No problem.  These packets you get, do they come in sealed aluminum sachet that carry original Danisco Choozit logo and graphics? (as well as batch number and expiration date).  Or, are they re-packed into some Ziploc bag/envelope?  I get original Danisco products and I have never seen a packet that small.  If it says 2-Dose on it, that's not the same as 2 gallons.  MM100 is a trade name that belongs to Danisco only so it couldn't be another brand.
Generally, I suggest to stay away from re-packed and private label products for several reasons:
  • First of course, price!: I believe that the smallest package of MM100 is 50DCU which is enough to set 800 liters (211+ Gallons) of milk. These retail at $10.95.  Most of the re-packed deals give you 3 sachets of 2 gallon each for about the same price. 6 Gallons vs. 211 gallons? Buy the name brand and get x35 times more for your buck!
  • Sanitation: You don't know who re-packed it and in what conditions. This needs to be done in sterile lab. A single bread crumb from a sandwich that someone ate on that table the other day, improperly-washed hands after cooking or bathroom, or pet's hair dislodging from the handler's sweater - that's all it takes to contaminate it -and your cheese. (now it becomes a part of the culture and grows in the mil with it).
  • Reduced Activity: The powder/flakes are often factory-packed in nitrogen (not vacuum) to give them long shelf life. Whenever a packet is open, oxygen gets in. Subsequent oxidation reduces culture activity and shortens shelf live. Also, unless the room is cold and dry, when the frozen culture defrosts, moisture would create condensation (just like the outside of a glass of cold water in hot room). This not only clump some cultures but it may also prematurely partially activate it!
  • Labeling: Often there is no traceability (batch #) or expiration date. Additionally, Danisco makes similar strains in a series for phage control (MM100 is interchangeable with MM101 and MM102 for example). Re-packers, usually a small private shop typically print many labels saying MM100 so when Danisco switches them to MM102 they don't bother to throw away the labels they already printed and continues to stick the old MM100 on them because its "close enough". I recently had a cheesemaker contacting me about some cheese issues and her re-packed culture had a name that hasn't been in production for 2 years now.I have also seen products claiming to be Flora Danica (a CHR Hansen trade name) not looking like Flora Danica at all, so who knows what bargain culture this really was? (Flora Danica has a very distinct look of puffed flakes of uneven size, looks like tiny popcorn).
As for your milk, it's okay if it's pasteurized. There is a lot that you can do with it. The problem is if it is ULTRA PASTEURIZED and if it is HOMOGENIZED.  Unfortunately I see a lot of people trying to make this cheese and give up because nothing works the way it should and they don't justify spending $8 a gallon on a new hobby before they see signs that they can do it.  Ironically, the cheap milk is what fails them in the first place.  Industrially produced milk is just bad cheesemaking candidate. The enzymes and beneficial bacteria are all dead.  If it is ultra pasteurized, the high heat treatment causes protein denaturation so it cannot coagulate the same way. Homogenization crushes the fat globules and opens them up so they spill into your milk unnaturally (weird texture and lipolysis causing off flavors. The fat is SO IMPORTANT when you are doing triple crèmes, the enzymatic activity on the fat is what creates the whole flavor). Antibiotics int eh cow's diet may fight off your probiotic cultures.  Other accidents may include bloating of the cheese because these factory cows eat fermented feed so it continues to create gas in your cheese when it ages. Sometimes it gives it bitter flavor too.

My point is: you spent all this time. You spend money on cultures and equipment.  You are committing to spend the next 3-4 weeks caring for these wheels of precious cheese.  Does it make sense to save on the most important and primary ingredient of your project?  These cheeses are tough to learn and you can't avoid throwing some expensive milk to the trash while learning them. It will happen but that's a part of it and you will get it right very quickly.  There are lot of variables to control when making cheese so a clean place, better equipment, better cultures and better milk will dramatically reduce your failure rate.

Personally I suggest you start with a classic Camembert. It is far less finicky to perfect and it will make triple crème cheeses much easier to master within a few weeks.  You can make regular Camembert feel much more creamy by tinkering a little with cultures (such as adding 1/16th tsp per gallon of each LM57 and MD88 cultures. These are the strains that give butter and cream its flavor!).

Below: MM100 in original packaging at my frozen storage. Is that what your bag looks like?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2012, 11:27:36 AM by iratherfly »

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2012, 03:52:00 PM »
Thanks for the tips! Regarding the MM100, they are in small metal foil packets, sealed and marked with a lot number etc (stamped). I purchased them locally but I do note that the plastic baggy the foil packs come in came from Cheesemaking.com. It is quite possible that they repackaged. I have found an online supply to buy in bulk and will go that route in the future, specially as I am about out of the MM100.
You made such good points on the milk that you have convinced me to go ahead and spend the time and money to get raw milk. I have used the raw milk before to make feta, but I used store-bought to make some cream cheese that turned out wonderfully except for the texture.....I thought the textural problem was process related, but now I believe it was probably the milk.
As such...I surely am going to grab a gallon of the good stuff when I am ready. I have almost achieved the desired temp (am at 48F and still working on it) and will be working on humidity in the new cave next. Once that is taken care of I will then begin the Cam make ...I figure by end of this coming week at the latest.
I am really psyched and pumped about making this, since I have never before made a soft cheese such as this.
I will be adding the suggested cultures in as well...love that buttery creamy flavor.  I may just go straight Cam, but am not sold on that. I am working hard on providing the perfect environment for the process and if I have any insecurities about that or the process itself, I will go with the simpler Cam...otherwise I am going to dive in for an extra creamy one  haha
I really appreciate all the tips!

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2012, 05:51:00 PM »
btw...is 48F close enough for aging? I have read 52-55F and am working towards that, but have achieved 48F so far.