OK, Here's my log entry for this one... I hesitated to post it up here, because it was a total experiment, and I didn't feel like having another of my failures writ large on the site.
Instead of going for the careful layering of p. roqueforti into the middle of a camembert, as the Cambozola recipe that's made its way around recommended, I just dumped homemade starters from a camembert and a stilton into my standard triple cream camembert make. (Haha, standard -- I'd done it about one and a half times prior to this.)
1 gallon pasteurized whole milk
1 quart ultra-pasteurized cream
2 cubes mesophilic starter
1 cube penicillium candida starter
1 cube penicillium roqueforti starter
1/4 tsp CaCl2
1/4 tsp double strength vegetable rennet
6:30pm started heating to 89F
7:20 Added cultures
8:50 Added CaCl2 and rennet
10:50 Cut curd
11:00 Stirred, still very soft, left for another hour for curds to fully heal
12:15am Ladled into forms... about 1.5-2" high in each form, but have already expelled some whey. Might end up too thin, but hopefully will be good.
3:30 after third flip, finally sitting about right. Fell apart on each of the first two. Hoops are too tall for such a small portion of curd.
11:30am Salted 1st side of each with scant 1/4 tsp salt. Each round weighs ~7.5-8oz.
5/6/09 Never quite got a full coverage of white mold, due to encroaching blue and red. Wrapped in foil and put in fridge.
...and that was the end of the log entry. I kept checking on one of them, and the white mold quickly caught up once they were wrapped, and the others died back to leave a rather ugly brown flecking on the rind.
Anyway, when I finally cracked one this week, I was positively blown away. After the tentative start, I didn't have high hopes, but I'd call this my biggest success to date. The rind is a bit too high on the ammonia flavor for me, which I attribute mostly to aging in tinfoil. But the pate is, to speak immodestly, stellar. Perfectly smooth, edge to edge, with no dripping edges nor any unripened middle (the benefit of these 3/4" tall mini-rounds). Overwhelmingly creamy (thanks to the triple cream+ levels of added cream). Flavored mostly with the white mold headiness, with just enough of the blue bite to be unmistakable. OK, my girlfriend says it's too salty -- but I don't think so.
I really didn't think I could make cheese this good from super-cheap pasteurized milk. I'm thrilled.
Thoughts for improvement in the future:
- I don't need to leave it unwrapped for so long (almost 2 whole weeks here) -- once I see the white starting to bloom up everywhere, I can wrap and feel confident it'll get the rest of the way.
- I could probably move on to some standardized cultures -- it was a little creepy seeing a red mold come up along with the blue and white. I assume it was just the b. linens getting a foothold earlier than normal from the brie culture, and everything tastes fine, and I haven't dropped dead... but still.
- Though wrapping in tinfoil seems to work better than parchment + tinfoil, or parchment + perforated tinfoil... at some point, I need to bite the bullet and grab some real purpose-built camembert wrapping papers. There's no way around it. So much for my cheap, simple, locally sourced aspirations.
Here's a few pictures of the ugly little things -- don't let their appearance fool you.