Author Topic: Fourme d'Ambert keeps stumping me  (Read 483 times)

Offline botanist

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Fourme d'Ambert keeps stumping me
« on: November 16, 2012, 05:18:44 PM »
Maybe you mature and old cheeses can clarify something for me on this cheese.  I've tried it 3 times  :-\ (third time is only 4 days old, so can't comment on it yet too much other than methodology).  I did somewhat of a hybrid between Boofer's version #2 (with advice from Sailor, see quoted section below) and the one from 200 Easy Cheeses. 

Fourme d’Amberg #2 Boofer  I am again loosely following the recipe from 200 Easy Homemade Cheeses.

From Sailor:  Boof - Aroma B generally has a long pH curve. You can make things go faster if you add a little MA-11 or MM-100. I don't but I do use a little L. helveticus (a thermophile). This helps stabilize proteolysis and does a better job of converting residual lactose. You said you were looking for a "sweet" cheese with the higher pH. Again, that would normally be true, but not with a blue. Your finished pH is the most important. 5.03 is probably OK, but I normally want it around 4.7 to 4.8. I would soak your pH probe in rennet for a while to let the enzyme break up any residues, then calibrate again.

Following Sailor’s advice, I have included a little helveticus in this make to help stabilize proteolysis and acidify by converting residual lactose. I’m hoping the LM057 will create cavities which the blue can then fill.

Starting milk pH:  6.83

2 gallons Twin Brook Creamery whole milk
1 pint Twin Brook Creamery whipping cream
¼ tsp Kazu (LL, LC, LD, LH)
1/32 tsp LM057
¼ tsp CACL
1/32 tsp Renco dry calf rennet


I used MM100 (LL, LLC, LLD) and Thermo C (LH, ST) + P. roq-PV and a slurry of some commercial F 'Ambert and only goat's milk from my goats (no cream).  I didn't check pH at all because I have been too lazy to set up my pH meter!  My curd cutting and stirring were fairly similar to Boofer's. I pressed lightly, brined and pierced similarly as well, but not only did the cheeses never develop blue mold, they became stinky with slimy surface, despite washing with salt/vinegar mix repeatedly.  The cheeses were very dense with no cavities, so it seemed to me it must be due to the pressing.  The surface was very pale pink-orange in places (but just a hint of the color, not really strong like with B. linens), and no furriness as the link description suggests there usually is.  This was after about a month of aging.

My husband liked the taste even though I thought the stink was gross (need a puke icon here :P), so I tried the same make, adding a slurry of my #1 make (yeah, I know that means I inoculated the stinky, slimy 'rind' microbes, but I wanted to retain the taste husband liked and try to get the blue to grow).   A) Ok, I'm really not angelic, but I do like to keep my great fella happy, even when it means making gross fermented foods he likes and I don't (like sauerkraut and stinky, slimy cheese).

This time I loaded firm curds into fine-orifice basket molds which drained until barely dripping.  I then stacked (and restacked over draining time) to get a more open texture with only the cheese weight (about 1 lb each) for pressing.  After a couple of days at room temp to dry out from the brine, I pierced them and then into 50-55F cave to try and slow slime--- After about a week of aging, still no blue, same slime and stink.  What's more, the firmness was inconsistent in the cheeses, soft and spongy in places, hard in others. I decided they weren't worth waiting on with that textural problem, so I moved on to #3, figuring I had to find a way to open up the texture to get blue development that might help control the stinky slime.

I looked at Sailor's comparison between Stilton and Castle Blue:

Stilton vs Castle Blue

No curd cut or stirring ------------- Cut into large curds and stir gently for 30 minutes.
Curd drains overnight --------------- Can go right into the hoops for direct draining
Curds are salted -------------- Curds are not salted. After draining the top and bottom are salted.
I keep my Stiltons in the hoops for a few days until they firm up ----------- Castle Blue is firm on day 2 because the curds are not salted
I keep my Stiltons at room temp until I get a nice bloom -------------- Castle Blue goes straight into my cave

and also this description of the cheese and the traditional make process where it appears they are NOT pressed  ??? and the paste and exterior look much more like a Cabrales or Stilton to me than anything else.
http://iledefrancecheese.com/index.php/Fourme-d-Ambert/fourme-dambert.html

Version #3

MM100 amount not decreased for volume of milk, Aroma B added (despite Sailor's suggestions to Boofer, because I've liked results with it in other cheeses for flavor), no Thermo C except what was growing in make #2, which I added as a slurry and P. roq-PV.  Firm curds ladled into basket molds without predraining.  Flipped cheeses only when there was very little dripping, so an unpressed texture on the side that was first up for several hours, more closed surface on the side that had been down first, but still with some mechanical spaces showing.  Second day, out of the baskets and instead of brining, I rubbed all sides liberally with salt, then brushed off excess.  After several hours of sitting at about 60-65F, I brushed the exterior of half the cheeses with P. roq-PV solution to see if I could encourage the blue to grow more agressively (or at all!) to help control the slime.

Now on Day 4, with the cheeses still sitting open to the air at 60-62F, the stink is slight, but still present (so could it be due to decreased Thermo C?), the slime is slight, but then the cheeses are still young; I can just start to see a hint of the color in depressions due to the basket mold imprints.  The cheeses aren't wet, I rubbed them lightly with paper towels to try to decrease slime starting up.  No hint of blue yet, but then it is still early.  No hint of inconsistency in texture and the paste seems dense enough without cutting into it to say that not pressing was probably ok.

Any thoughts on why my Fourme is doing this weird thing?  It can't be 'catching' slimy growth from any other cheeses, because I don't have any B. linens and have managed to keep my P. candidum cheeses and P. roq cheeses all separate and consistent.

I'm baffled as to why I haven't been able to get it to blue-up, and the whole slime/stink thing.  I'd ditch the slurry from previous makes for myself, but my guy likes it.

Thanks in advance for any help!
before goats, store bought milk = chevre & feta, with goats, infinite possibilities, goatie love, lotta work cleaning out the barn!


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