Just cut into the second of the camembert I made after the success of the Pouligny St. Pierre a few months back. Like the first one, it is just fantastic, I cannot believe it turned out so well!
Again, I used 1/2 gallon raw Jersey and 1/2 gallon grade A pasteurized Jersey (plus about one cup of half-and-half I had in the fridge) and a combination of the recipe from Karlin (mushroom infused camembert but made without the mushroom infusion) and technique from Caldwell. My cultures were Flora Danica, candidum and the geo 15.
Our weather was fantastically conducive to the temperature gradients that Caldwell mentions as ideal for the pre brining treatment of the cheese. I could only hope that this improved the chances that my cheeses would retain the correct moisture levels required to turn out well before being placed in the ripening box. At first I was a bit apprehensive about brining the cheeses, as they seemed quite moist and tender and I worried they would fall apart in the brine, but they held together and I was very careful about the timing so as not to oversalt them like I did the Pouligny. They were still thicker and more moist than I had anticipated after brining and required very careful handling.
It took seven days for the mold to appear but again that was due to my slightly colder than ideal fridge temperatures of 47-51 degrees. Slow at first, the mold took off eventually and the cheeses themselves seemed to firm up over time. Turning them daily required being very careful. I used wet bare hands which I had washed and run under a faucet but not sanitized any further, which did not cause any problems at all with unwanted molds or deformations of the rind.
Ten days after the appearance of the mold, they were very fuzzy and I wrapped them and put them at the bottom of the fridge in a box with moist paper towel. I turned them every day for 2 weeks, then cut into the first one.
The cheese had gotten less thick, it actually looked like I thought it should look in terms of dimensions. Golden creamy interior, lovely rind, absolutely stunning flavor, perfect level of salt. I have to say it was as good as Dinah's, it really was. It lasted all of 3 days lol;)
This second one, which I just took pics of and ate a portion of with some warm fresh homemade bread, is just as fantastic, the perfect level of ripeness even with an additional week in the wrapper.
I still find it hard to believe that such a wonderful cheese was made at home, using a fridge and less than optimal temperatures! Again I would encourage a try with these cheeses, the success when it happens is so satisfying.