OK, yesterday I took the plunge and despite a recent disastrous foray out of my chevre-and-cheddar comfort zone with feta, I decided I would take advantage of a Saturday and try making my first camembert. I pretty much combined the recipe for cam from New England cheesemaking with the "washed curd, stabilized paste bloomy rind" recipe from Cowgirl creamery in Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking.
Briefly, my hybrid recipe went like this:
1 gallon pasteurized goat milk (courtesy of our Nigerian Dwarf Goat, Nefi)
0.2 gram Flora Danica
1/8 tsp calf rennet (diluted in 1/8c H2O)
1/4 tsp calcium chloride (diluted in 1/8c H20)
about 1/16 tasp p candidum
the tiniest bit geotrichum
after adding cultures, I let the milk ripen for about 30 min. Then added the calcium chloride, then in five minutes the rennet. After waiting 90 min, the pH reading from my new-and-not-quite-trusted-by-me-even-though-I-calibrated-it was 6.5. (which is essentially what it was prior to the rennet and calcium chloride).
Hmmm, I thought. This may not be a good sign.
I cute the curds into about 3/4 inch, let it rest for 10 min, stir GENTLY, rest 10 min, stir and rest 5 min. Then the forms. Even though I cut and stirred to release some of the whey, there was still a lot of curds! I used 2 4-inch cam mold and put some overflow into a smaller goat cheese mold which became my "tester" sample. I used bamboo mats and a metal rack over a cookie sheet to catch the whey. I turned the curds after 1 hr, then again twice in about the next 3 hrs. The first turn looked messy on one of them (dammit! I forgot the molds were open at both ends!), but by the last turns they both looked very respectable.
After another 8 or 9 hrs at 73 to 75F, I turned them again and checked the pH. It was about 5.15. This is where my questions come in:The pH is not quite as low as I expected (I expected closer to 5.0) - does this have anything to do with the goat milk?
Or is this common and I should just let them drain longer (they seem pretty well-drained now)The curds didn't shrink as much as I thought they would - they are only at 1/2 or a little over 1/2 of the original height.
I am hoping this is just because they released some whey in the pot with stirring. However, this still seems like a very generous yield for one gallon of milk. I know Nigerian dwarfs have a very high butterfat level - about 6.3% compared to about 4.7 in jersey cows. And the separation of the whey was beautiful, but it still seemed almost too good to be true. The height of the cams is about 2.5 inches.
Then, when I un-molded the cams (pH got to 5.06 after another hour) - I saw big gaps in the side of the cams - some craters even
. The tops and bottoms looked beautiful, but the sides looked pretty bad, with some craters even. For some reason I am having a hard time uploading a photo, but I'll try again later.WHAT DO I DO???