Author Topic: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)  (Read 3725 times)

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Camembert #1
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2012, 06:42:27 PM »
Thanks, again, Yoav.

I did drain on the cutting boards, so next time I'll put the draining mat directly on the egg crate (and cross my fingers that it doesn't just seep right through  :-[).

As shown in the pictures, the cheeses sat on the egg crate in the aging container while aging, so they never sat in their own juices.  Even though they are off the bottom of the container, should I still clean out the bottom of the container every day?  I did not do that this time--I only cleaned in out a couple of times.

With the sprays--I read on one thread to add "a pinch" of geo and of PC to the brine.  Does it need to be precise at all, or just some?  Also, can it be frozen and reused?

Finally, my pregnant wife complains about the smell of this cheese (I barely notice it...) any guess on whether it will be weaker/stronger/the same when I get it to work more like it should?  She's patient (some might say indulgent) with my "obsession", but I like to keep her happy, too.
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Offline bbracken677

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Re: Camembert #1
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2012, 07:41:36 PM »
I used needlepoint mat, cut to size, as "followers" for my cam forms...kept the cheese seepage to a minimum as well as aided in the flipping process.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Camembert #1
« Reply #17 on: October 09, 2012, 12:43:32 AM »
next time I'll put the draining mat directly on the egg crate (and cross my fingers that it doesn't just seep right through  :-[).
It won't just look like it should go through the flexible draining mat but it doesn't. As a matter of fact, that mesh it so open - it helps the curd drain faster so it knots together and firms up fast.

should I still clean out the bottom of the container every day?  I did not do that this time--I only cleaned in out a couple of times.
Just in the first 2-3 days water will collect on the bottom. Too much moisture still in the box.Help knock it down by wiping any water on the bottom. After that - only wipe if you see more water draining (though I don't expect that past day 4 or so this will still be happening).
With the sprays--I read on one thread to add "a pinch" of geo and of PC to the brine.  Does it need to be precise at all, or just some?  Also, can it be frozen and reused?
No need to be super accurate. Make a light brine of only 3%-5% salt by weight. I use a culture scale (micro digital scale) and measure 100g of water, to which I add 3g salt. (always dissolve the salt in the water before adding the culture. Always use clean non-chlorinated water and clean spray bottle).  Once the salt has dissolved and the mixture is at room temp, add cultures to it. 1/32 to 1/16 of a teaspoon if each culture should just about do it.  Tighten the cover or sprayer, wait 5 minutes for it to reconstitute and mix/shake gently. Then wait for it to activate at room temp for 12 hours or in the fridge for 16 hours. Begin your spray regiment. This is of course very general. Some cultures require you use only room temp or only fridge and some ask for longer/shorter activation time, some may also ask toy to add a pinch of sugar. Don't sweat it with PC. 12 hours at room temp should do it with these quantities.

Finally, my pregnant wife complains about the smell of this cheese (I barely notice it...) any guess on whether it will be weaker/stronger/the same when I get it to work more like it should?  She's patient (some might say indulgent) with my "obsession", but I like to keep her happy, too.
The famous third trimester nose is at work? haha...  If it's the ammoniated cheese, she may very well smell the ammonia and it may be all over the kitchen and fridge (especially if it's on a higher shelf. Ammonia is heavier than air and tends to go downward so if it's on a top shelf it is all over all the shelves below it and your entire kitchen probably...) There is nothing much you can do about it aside from evicting the cheese (got a garage fridge?). When your Camembert is on target it won't smell and would probably get consumed long before it gets ammoniated! It should have a faint smell not much stronger than a piece of camembert in a store. (so when you stand 3 ft away from it, it should smell as much as being 3 ft away from the cheese in the store)

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2012, 09:36:14 PM »
Okay, started #2 this weekend.  I'm only spraying this time.  I can't seem to get water droplets on the top of the container regardless of what I do, though there are tiny droplets on the side...

I did have some major sticking within 30 minutes, though I'm sure that was the result of weak curd due to the cheap milk I'm using.  Someday, soon, I'll start using better milk (in another post I shared the first cheese I've made that my wife honestly liked, which means I'll be justified soon, I hope, in spending more money to get better milk...).

The make seemed to go well.  Now we'll see if the fuzz wants to grow right.  I made it Saturday, let it sit without the lid on Sunday, and sprayed in Monday night and then again this evening (wednesday).  I've flipped it every night.

Here's a picture of the major sticking issue.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2012, 10:22:46 PM »
I've continued flipping and sprayed again on Friday.  Yesterday (Saturday) I saw the first little hairs showing up.  Today they cover a large part of most of the cheeses.  I sprayed a tiny bit more on the bare spots.

I still have no idea what's happening with the humidity--the droplets refuse to appear on the top of the container.  I'm concerned about having too high humidity again, but also concerned that if I try to prevent too high, I'll get too low...oh bother.

Here are a couple of pictures from tonight (Sunday).  Again, this is the day after the first mold appeared.  I've got one picture of the hairiest part and one of the barer parts.  This is day 8 of this make.  I haven't patted down any of the mold yet--for fear that I was too rough and too soon doing that last time.  I'll start that tomorrow, and will gently pat it down instead of aggressively rubbing it.

Any advice at this point?

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Offline bbracken677

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2012, 10:28:57 PM »
Are your containers fully closed? I would expect some moisture to be collecting on the inside.

Once your cheeses have a nice covering growth of pc, you should consider dropping the temp to 43F ish.

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2012, 11:09:23 AM »
Yeah--the container is fully closed.  Like I said, I get moisture collecting on the sides, a bit, but none on the lid.  The lid, however, has little features in the groove that sits on the containers edge preventing the lid from making any sort of seal with the rest of the container.  I've considered filling the groove in with wax, up to the feature, so that it will seal better, but if this works out, perhaps the offset from the feature provides me with a good humidity.  We'll see.
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Offline bbracken677

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2012, 12:35:54 PM »
If you are getting condensation on the sides, but not the top, I would think that your RH would be around 90-95ish...That would seem ideal for mold growth.

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2012, 09:56:16 PM »
I had what I presume is PC growth over almost all of the surfaces today.  I wasn't sure if it was time to do so yet, but I gently patted it down (I hope I didn't do this too early).  I'll let it stay in the cave another day and hope that the PC comes through on the remaining parts.  If it does, even though it's a really thin coating, I presume I put it in the fridge.  My question is, does the PC continue to grow/fill-out in the fridge or should I leave it in the warmer cave for a more robust covering of PC?

Also, I've got about half of my bottle of PC/Geo in brine still unused.  I'm not going to be making any more Cams for a few more weeks.  Can I freeze it?  If not, what do you think it would do to the 3 week old tomme I've got in the cave?  I've tried to bag the tomme twice, but each time, after a few days, I find moisture in the crevices of the bag.  I had resolved to just let it age without any bagging--washing it occasionally with a light brine.  Now, with the extra spray, I wonder what would happen...
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 09:56:28 PM by Mike Richards »
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2012, 09:59:43 PM »
Pictures are from this evening.  One of the cams is showing yellow through the corners.  I'm concerned that I'm having an experience similar to last time--that this is geo overgrowing.  I'm still not sure, though if these guys should go in the fridge yet because the PC coverage is so thin.  So, I put two in the fridge and left two in the cave.  I'll watch them the next few days and try to figure out which was the better choice.

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Offline bbracken677

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2012, 04:03:42 AM »
At this stage, a reduction in temp to around 41-45F would be desirable, as would a reduction in RH to 85-90%.

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2012, 02:19:41 PM »
Thanks--I'll pop the other two in the fridge tonight.
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2012, 01:46:06 AM »
Hmmm... was this the geo over-growing? or the PC under-growing?  Fridge kind of halts the geo and give the PC a go ahead. Problem is that too much fridge disrupts the balance and you get a thickj fluffy dry PC rind which is also undesireable. Just be vigilant. You will learn to recognize the sweet spot very fast though.
It's been a few days now. How is it looking?

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2012, 10:47:15 PM »
It certainly could be too little PC at that point.  I ended up putting 2 in the fridge and 2 back in the cave for a couple of days.  I then add the two from the cave to the fridge.

They are now a day over 3 weeks.  I can't tell which ones stayed in the cave and which ones went to the fridge first.  I opened one up today even though I knew it was not soft enough--I figured I had four and could spare one to education.  It really hadn't soften a whole lot--the edges are somewhat smooth.  The flavor was sour, though it wasn't bad.  My wife is thrilled that these don't smell at all.  I'm glad they look better--now I just need to get some that taste good... I hope these will continue to soften and improve in flavor with some more time.

Here are some pictures--if I can get them to upload...one at a time...
« Last Edit: November 11, 2012, 10:54:06 PM by Mike Richards »
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Camembert #1 (and #2 now...)
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2012, 06:55:11 AM »
Yum, those photos have me excited about the batch of Brie ripening here now!  I think finer mesh matting would be much easier for you.  I have some of the type you have and prefer the more rigid slightly finer weave.  Too fine and nothing drains but medium fine is great.  The stuff you have I love using for aging hard cheese in the cave.

I don't pat down the PC until it's a bit higher but I'm not the expert with this.  I don't imagine early patting will do anything negative to the growth of the PC.