Author Topic: Camembert & Ammonia Smell  (Read 5762 times)

Offline chilipepper

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Camembert & Ammonia Smell
« on: May 05, 2009, 12:07:44 PM »
FineWino, you have some excellent replies and seem to be a resident Camembert Guru! :)  You talked about controlling the ammonia gassing and aging at lower temps.  The last few batches of Camemberts I made seem to have very slight ammonia smells but fairly strong stench to them.  Kind of a gassy smell. Since I'm aging these wrapped in the bottom of my beer fridge it give off a pretty good odor every time I open the door.  Certainly cutting into my stealth beer raids! ;D  Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Offline FineWino

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Re: Camembert & Ammonia Smell
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009, 11:40:16 PM »
Hi Ryan,
I have made a lot of Camembert type cheeses but I don't know that I have quite reached "guru" status.  I was fortunate in that last summer I had the opportunity to pick the brain of a master cheesemaker for a couple of afternoons and I was able to get up the learning curve for these cheeses quite quickly.  My first attempts were quite stink, runny on the outside and hard (unripened) ion the inside.  I am still learning.
Now that I have made all my disclaimers......
If your cheeses are stinky, it is usually some combination of the temperature being too high, moisture too high, and/or not enough air circulation.  I try to get my camemberts in an environment that is 8-10C (46-50F) withing 18-36 hours after molding.  I have found that if they sit in the molds at room temperature for too long, the later ripening does not proceed as desired.
Higher ripening temperatures lead to undesirable reactions (mostly proteolytic, as I have read) that produce excess ammonia.
If you have other undesirable aromas in addition to aroma, there may be other things going on.  Are you using raw milk?  My first raw milk camemberts were ripened at too high a temperature, and I also think perhaps I held the milk too long.  Some of those first attempts were really rank.
Since I have started ripening at lower temperature, I have not had any of these issues.  I see some references discussing ripening at 52F for the whole process, but I found I still get significant ammonia at those temps.
It sounds like you are putting them in your beer fridge after they are wrapped.  Is there moisture accumulating under the wrapper?  If so the humidity may be too high or the cheese may have too much moisture.  Either can lead to stinky cheese as the moisture will inhibit the P candidum and other stinky bugs will grow.  What is the temp of your beer fridge?
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.  -John Kenneth Galbraith

Offline Baby Chee

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Re: Camembert & Ammonia Smell
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2009, 08:27:33 AM »
I have 6 Camemberts growing in a chest freezer and was noticing the stink.  So I am curious if the stink is normal or something else is going on.  There are no other molds in the fridge or on the cheeses: all are quite white and fuzzy, including parts of the freezer.

The freezer is set for 60ºF but due to the room being cold and using a small space heater to keep it around 60ºF, the freezer says 52ºF this morning.  So I am assuming it is fluctuating through the 50's in that fridge through the day.

The smell inside isn't quite rotten, but it is a kind of sewage-y smell, but not quite sewage-y.  Very hard to explain. Not rotten, just strongly methane-ish.  Bending in to flip the cheeses is hard to do for more than a minute: a breath of that and I am going on the road to nauseation.

The cheeses all look quite good.  One is 4 weeks old and looks fine, but is regrowing a little white which ripped off due to bamboo matting.  The other 5 are about a week old now, and they are getting fuzzy.

Is that smell normal for Camemberts?
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