This one was not planned, but I was inspired by Wateetons and his post on testing different Camembert ripening techniques: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,1297.0.html#msg9279
The fact that we should be able to successfully ripen a Camembert in a regular fridge intrigues me and here are a few notes on my project along with a few photographs.
I used 6 liters of pasteurized cow's milk (3% fat - the max you can buy here) and added 500ml cream (40%), resulting in just about double cream at 6% - I am going for a very rich and smooth cheese. I use dry/granulated calcium, so I diluted roughly 0.7g of it in a quarter cup of water and mixed into the milk. I the began heating the milk. PH at this point was 6.54, milk over here is at the very best 6.6-6.7, so I am not worried about 6.54 - all I want is a 0.1 drop by the time I add my rennet (in the past I was looking for 0.2 drop but my cheeses sometimes ended up with a final pH of less then 4.5). When my milk reached 90F I added starter culture (one pack of direct set mesophilic from cheesemaking.com and a little more than 1/8 teaspoon Flora Danica). After approx 90 minutes I had my PH at 6.44 and added rennet - unfortunately I added the amount of rennet as I usually do when using raw goat's milk and I think I should have added more (or let the milk ripen longer, resulting in my usual PH drop of 0.2). In any case, I floated a toothpick and had first signs of flocculation after 9 minutes. I usually wait for about 7 times this indication time factor until I cut, but unfortunately, I just didn't get a clean break and waited until 2 hours had passed. The break still wasn't clean, but I was in experimental enough a mood to figure out if this'll work or not. The curd at this point had a PH of 6.1. I cut the soft curd into columns and let them rest for 10 minutes, I gently stirred with my slotted spoon for only a few seconds and let rest for another 10 minutes -repeating this process once more. I then ladled into two 4.5" molds (5" tall - I don't have the slightly smaller typical Camembert molds and simply use some of my hard cheese molds in which I drilled extra holes), two 8" tall Saint Maure molds and one half size Saint Maure mold which I use for my PH meter.
I moved the cheese to a room with approx 72F (it was 11.30pm at this point) I flipped after about 90 minutes at which point the cheese had a PH of 5, then again after 1 hour and once more an hour later - I then got some sleep and got up to flip it again at 8am. I think I flipped them once more in the late morning, but I have no recollection ... I de-molded at 4.15pm and had a PH of 4.7. Their weight were 480 and 490g for the large 4 1/2 inch molds, the Saint Maure came in at 230 and 210 an the little guy at 100 exactly - They will obviously still loose some weight, but I am happy with the yield considering I also managed to get 125g of Ricotta (I know people don't usually make whey cheese from soft cheese's whey, but I always do and it just makes a happy breakfast). I suppose the addition of the cream caused my increase in expected yield - in my opinion, the Camembert style cheeses ended up too thick, I should have had another mold ready, but I didn't and wasn't going to wait until I would have sterilized a third mold.
It is now 10pm and they finished their final drying stage - oh, I salted them each with about 1.8% of their weight (I know this may seem high, but since I liberally sprinkle on the slat, not all of it ends up on the cheese, besides, some of it still drips away during the drying hours ...
As you will see in the photographs, I like making different shape cheeses. The Saint Maure I like, because its tall shape puts more pressure on the curds during gravity draining resulting in a denser final product - I then like to cut the Saint Maure in halves or thirds because I get more mold coverage and like the mold to cheese ratio when it comes to flavor. It also enables me to taste them at different stages without cutting them open. Again, I feel cutting the long shape results in a different texture than if I were to use shorter molds to start with. In the photographs you will also see the half hight Saint Maure in which I have poked the PH meter, as well as the 4 1/2 inch size Camemberts which look a bit abused because I took this picture right after handling them during the salting phase (about an hour after salting is when I sprayed all the cheeses with re-hydrated penicillium and geotrichum which I apply using an atomizer).
I have decided to place one Camembert size cheese in my regular cheese cave and as you can see, the others go in a plastic container destined for my regular fridge (thanks Wateetons). You will also notice two pyramid style cheeses in there, those are from a goat cheese batch 2-3 days ago which I will also subject to a fridge ripening procedure (their cousins are still in the cave).
The last photograph is just a picture of what the Saint Maure's look like when cut into thirds and beginning to ripen (those are goat and from the 14th - I suppose I will wrap them in a day or so).