Author Topic: 1st Camembert Attempt - might be posting this to "Failures I Have Known" :-(  (Read 1659 times)

Offline High Altitude

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Followed Mary Karlin's Camembert recipe (which she even claims is unconventional).  Started the make this morning, and this evening my cam hope is currently hanging in a cheesecloth bag over the sink  :-[.  It simply would not drain without spilling its "guts".  But, I WILL somehow get it back into the mold after some major draining, and proceed from there....who knows what this thing will be one day!

A few pics tell the story.   Not sure what went wrong exactly, but will follow a more traditional cam make next time (which will be soon)!
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!


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Offline shotski

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Hummmmmm interesting, who knows what it will grow up to be. Keep us posted though, I have not made many Cams so I hope some one with more experience will chime in. Who knows maybe you just invented the next Cam knock off.

Offline Mike Richards

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Bummer--sorry.  I had a batch of cams that spilled their guts, but that was through the big hole on the end of the mold, not through the little holes.  I would guess that your curd is too weak, but I'm not sure.  My cams that spilled all over the place turned out pretty well, though, so there is hope.

What milk do you use (I've been meaning to ask you that for a while, but I keep forgetting)?
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline High Altitude

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So this morning my cam much resembles a thickening greek yogurt  :o.  Hoping this dry climate will continue to suck moisture out so I can at least get a solid mass, strong enough to put in the cave sometime this week.  At this point, I really just want to see if it will grow PC.  What really bummed me out is that I have about 1/4 tsp left of calcium chloride, and the new PINT bottle I received in the mail has some sort of contaminant inside (a black thing attached to the bottom) so I can't make the Colby I had planned for today.  The company is overnighting me another bottle though, so I don't have to go searching on the local economy for some while my 2 gallons of milk sit anxiously waiting to become cheese.

Maybe I'll try a small conventional brie or cam recipe today to use up one gallon of milk and the last 1/4 tsp of CaCl on hand.  At this point I'm not willing to risk 2 gallons on a brie/cam make until I know it MIGHT turn into something that resembles this type of cheese.

Mike, we get Royal Crest dairy products delivered weekly.  I used their Royal Rich (3.8% fat) for this make.  Their regular whole milk (3.4%) is what I normally use for cheese.  But we drink their 1.5% which is creamier and tastes better than any 2% you'll find in local grocery stores (in our humble opinion anyway).
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline Mike Richards

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A lot of our friends get royal crest.  We considered it for a while, but decided we were to cheap (and we consume a lot of milk) for it.  Recently, though, I've decided to try a bunch of different milks to see if I can find one that works the best for me.

As always, you are welcome to have some of my CaCl if you'd like.

Good luck with the thickening/drying.
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...


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Offline High Altitude

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Thanks Mike (as always :-). 

The 1.5% from RC is their best seller (much cheaper than their other milk percentages) and really is worth it for the quality  ;D.  I got into it when our neighbors (with 4 kiddos) had been getting deliveries for 2 years already.  They have since moved, but they are all over "health and quality" stuff, natural products, etc. 

Anyway, do tell when you find a milk you really like.  I'd love to try raw sometime, and there is a farm/dairy in Denver that sells, so might give it a whirl next Spring just to see what all the rave is about  8)
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline High Altitude

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Well Shotski, you may have something there....my cam knock-off!

It finally became a mass that I could (delicately) handle and get into the cave this morning (after some 36 hours draining).  Now, please, please, please let's see some PC action in the next few days/week.  It is not beautiful by any means, but all may not be lost yet!
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline shotski

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It will be interesting to see what the inside is like after ageing. Fingers and toes still crossed.

Offline High Altitude

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Ok, it's day 7 and the PC has really taken off on my little "whatever it is".  It looks completely covered to me and I'm just wondering whether I should wrap soon and store in the kitchen fridge (at 38 F).  It is still very firm of course, so maybe I leave it (wrapped) in the cave (at 54-56 F)??

Any advise from those in the know?!
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline High Altitude

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I've been patting it down, and will wrap today (before I leave on a weekend trip and cannot babysit it).  I'll put it in a ripening box (with balls of wet paper towels to keep up humidity, per recipe instructions) in the bottom drawer shelf of fridge (38 degrees) and leave it for 5 weeks to ripen (also per instructions). Assuming I need to flip every now and again?

I've read so many different opinions on whether to ripen cams/brie in the cave or cooler fridge, that I had to pick one finally...and ultimately went with the recipe instructions. Eventually it has to ripen to some degree, or at least I HOPE it will  :o.
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!


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Offline Mike Richards

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I agree that you just have to try and see what happens.  I've only done cams 3 times.  I did fridge aging with one and cave aging with the other.  I didn't wrap either of them.  The cave aged one turned out better, but I think not wrapping the cheeses made a big difference.  I've got a set of 4 that I just sprayed Monday.  Once they are ready, I think I will wrap them all and put 2 in the fridge and leave 2 in the cave.  It will be interesting to see what happens.

5 weeks seems long to me, though, as I said, I don't have too much experience.  You probably ought to check it after 3 weeks and see how it's doing.
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...

Offline High Altitude

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Oh I'll definitely keep a close eye on this one and be feeling for softening, regularly.  Karlin did say this was an unconventional recipe and maybe that has something to do with the ripening time (?). This one wasn't even salted on the exterior, rather salt was added to the curds while still in the whey and gently stirred in.  Poor curds were so weak already and that slight extra stirring didn't help any!

I'm just still amazed (and thrilled) that the PC grew so evenly and quickly, and I was able to wrap within the time the recipe said I could  ;D.

Going to try her American Brie recipe tomorrow (I think), and make two 4" wheels.  I look forward to seeing how your latest cams turn out, Mike.
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline Tiarella

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HiAlt, did the recipe say to pat down the PC when it bloomed?  Looks like some slip skin....which is NOT at all the end of the world! 

Offline High Altitude

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Hi Tiarella!  The recipe didn't mention patting down the PC, but I've read it a number of times in this forum that I know it should be done.  The "cheese" is only a week old in that photo, and still really hard.  It is a disaster make and is just hard and lumpy...no slip-skin (yet!).  I was lucky to even get it into any "shape" whatsoever as in the beginning it was like yogurt mush.

It seems to be happily aging now, wrapped up and in the fridge.  No sign of softening up yet, but we're only just now on day 15 from initial make, so still pretty early. No matter what it turns out to be, I will post pics later on and hope that it is remotely edible :o!
Have some (homemade) wine with that cheese!

Offline Tiarella

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Oh, I think it will taste fine.  The only trick is figuring out when it's ready.  I'm still learning that......and just about everything else.
 :-\