Did you guys know you can change how your username displays in the settings? I felt silly making people type out 3 whole syllables (makkonen) to respond to me, so I shortened it. Apologies for any confusion (or for the further confusion when I inevitably shorten it to 'mak', and then again to just 'mm'. Mmmmmm.) Anyway, on to our regularly scheduled programming:
Yesterday I tried my hand at a triple cream camembert, a la Saint-André, Explorateur, or Brillat-Savarin. Ended up going better than expected (large amounts of cream have given me problems before, but patience paid off here) and now I've got a couple of seriously thick rounds settling down.
Camembert 4/04/09 (Triple Cream)
1 gallon pasteurized whole milk
1 quart ultra-pasteurized cream
2 cubes mesophilic starter
2 cubes penicillium candida starter
1/4 tsp CaCl2
1/4+ tsp double strength vegetable rennet (a few extra drops dribbled out, and I figured that wasn't a bad thing -- probably should've been more rigorous with it)
12:00pm sterilized bowls and pot, left milk to come to room temp
12:20pm Added 2 cubes mesophilic and 2 cubes candida to 1/4 cup milk
1:35 mixed starters into 89 degF milk, set timer for 90 minutes
2:50 Left heat on too long, overheated to 95 degF. Cooled water jacket.
3:07 Added CaCl2 and Rennet, stirred for 1 minute, milk at 89 degF, set timer for 60 minutes
4:30 Finished cutting curds, reheated and let curds heal for 30 minutes.
5:00 Stirred very gently, curds still very weak. Leave another 30 minutes.
5:55 Finished ladling into forms. Surprisingly little loss of curd. pH seems high: ~6.0-6.4*
11:00 Slow to drain, or much higher curd yield -- still 3"+ tall. Possibly a problem with curds knitting back together during firming-up period.
4/05/09 8:45am Flipped again, ph ~5.0, rounds are about 2.5" tall. Still quite moist, will wait to unmold.
*pH readings are based on 4.6-6.2 strips, not a meter, so they are probably neither accurate nor precise.
I was pretty sure I'd lost this batch entirely. I got a clean break at 60 minutes, but the curds were so delicate, I couldn't stir them at all, and even after 30 minutes heal time they broke down excessively on stirring with a washed hand (a spoon was out of the question). However, a full hour after cutting, they had firmed significantly, and though I still had curds shooting out the holes in the molds, it was less than my last batch of camembert, and settled down pretty quickly. I'm learning to trust my feelings over the recipe, which is nice.
As for analysis... does anyone know if the (ridiculous) amount of cream is (a) slowing down the culture, or (b) inhibiting the action of the rennet? Next time, I might try giving a whole 120 minutes between adding rennet and cutting, to see if that works better.
I think I will age this a little less than a typical camembert (Start testing at 4 weeks?). St. Andre seems to be soft and brie-y on the outside, but the center is still rather unaffected, and maintains a fresh/crumbly/buttery character. Though they probably use cultures that enhance that rich diacetyl note.
Now that I've been able to get this to come together, I think I'll be trying again with a little blue mold added. Cambozola's also a triple cream. (Which is an issue I have with that cambozola recipe that's going around. You're not going to get the same style without the same obscene levels of fat.)
Pix after cutting (milky!), after stirring (messy!), and of curds shooting out of the molds: