Author Topic: newbie disaster cam  (Read 1712 times)

Offline furball

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newbie disaster cam
« on: November 14, 2009, 02:37:04 AM »
Hello
I think this may be my first post on this very informative board.

Had a go at making camembert, but it's back to the drawing board cuz this isn't edible.



I waited 6 hrs after the rennet was added before the curds were formed. And they were crumbly, not nice and cube formed.
I guess the rennet was old or not stored properly. The camember making kit that I bought was sitting on a shop shelf.
And the cheese wasn't draining very well either. I also didn't put enough salt on them, just a light sprinkle, as the recipe didn't specify how much.
The ageing went well, I thought. Mould formed within the week. The esky was a bit too warm (17-18 C) even though I had it practically filled with ice blocks.
The taste is what I'd imagine fly spray to taste like, very bitter. There was a rush for beer after the ceremonial cam debut.
I would have left it longer but the outside started to smell a bit of ammonia-ish and the cheese was also weeping a bit of clear liquid underneath. It's been in the frig (5 C) for 3 weeks.

Do you agree that my problem is most probably rennet realted?


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Offline mtncheesemaker(Pam)

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2009, 09:43:01 AM »
Hi there and welcome;
From the photos I'd guess you have slip skin, aka toad skin. It's a problem mostly caused by too much moisture during the initial stages of making this cheese. (I'm familiar with it as I have seen too much of it in my own attempts!)
There is some great info on this forum about this problem, as lots of us are struggling with it.
It also sounds like your rennet may be off since it took so long to form a curd, and not a very firm one at that.
Don't get discouraged; camembert is a tough one.
Good luck,
Pam

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2009, 01:46:33 PM »
My first try at a latic cheese did the same thing. The instruction did not suggest draining the curds in cheese cloth before putting them in a mold and they drained for weeks. Evenyually getting slip skin. The second try I drained the curds first and they came out very nice.

Offline furball

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2009, 05:48:16 PM »
Too much moisture makes sense. I thought the curds were difficult to drain, and as you can see the cheese is thicker than it should be. That would be as a consequence of bad rennet and mushy curds, wouldn't it?
The bitterness, could that be because of inadequate salting? I know that salt removes the bitterness in eggplant (aubergine to you americans).

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2009, 06:14:20 PM »
I think to answer you correctly we need more details of the process you used. Don't quickly jump to the bad rennet conclusion or you could end up buying lots of it when the problem is just poor draining.


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Offline furball

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2009, 09:46:38 PM »
I can write up the whole procedure, but it'll take me a couple of days to sort my notes and remember. Any particular questions Debi?

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2009, 10:14:48 PM »
Biggest one I'd want to know is did you drain the curds before putting them in the molds?

Offline furball

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2009, 10:54:23 PM »
I scooped the bigger pieces out with a slotted spoon and put them in the moulds. The rest went into a cheesecloth lined colander to dry up a bit before going into the moulds. The cheeses were still quite wet when they went into the eskycave to age. I have been comparing with pictures on this forum. When I was making the cheese I had no idea what it should look like.
Thank you for taking the time Debi.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2009, 01:21:56 PM »
I have only done this twice so I am not the person to help but I will try. My understand is the overly moist curds form the slip skin and extra stinky ammonia smell. These delacate curds drain slowly in the molds - not enough holes I guess. If I rmember right I had to drain my second batch for several hours - maybe most of the evening to get them to stop dripping, then I molded them.

Offline Tea

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2009, 01:45:24 PM »
 My recipe calls for flipping several times after moulding, and then finally leaving overnight to drain, brining/salting then leaving for a few hours to dry a little before transfering into the cave.  I fill a 4in high mould to the brim, and the resultant cheese is about 1 1/2in high.


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Offline Likesspace

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2009, 08:35:25 PM »
Okay, I have had some experience with this problem and I can tell you that it is due to excess moisture during the make.
The only time that I've seen this problem was during a batch that was so "wet" that it was basically impossible to even give them a turn while salting.
If I remember correctly I had 4 out of 5 wheels that had this excess moisture problem and I ended up tossing 4 out of 5 of them in the trash. The final wheel (that seemed completely normal) turned out to be the best example of Camembert that I've ever made. Go figure.
Anyway, if you search some of the posts by a member called FineWino you will find some wonderful information concerning this variety of cheese. Basically he recommends aging the cheeses much longer (about 6 - 8 weeks) and much cooler (regular refrigerator temp) than most of the recipes call for. Since I've been following his advice I've been turning out some examples of this cheese that I'm really proud of.
Hope this information helps.

Dave

Offline handyface

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2009, 04:44:27 AM »
Camenberts are my nemesis, still haven't managed to make a good one!

Are you sure you were getting a clean break on the curds?  From the sounds of it they weren't ready ...

Offline furball

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2009, 12:02:32 AM »
Thanks everyone for your help.
I'll study FineVino's posts re aging temp.
The clean break was probably not as clean as it should be, as I didn't really know what to look for. Now I've seen pictures. Will use different rennet and pay more attention next time.
Drain properly even if it takes longer, yes.
And then salt the correct amount.
All sorted.

Offline Tea

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Re: newbie disaster cam
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2009, 01:47:42 PM »
Good luck with your next batch.  As long as you can learn from a failed batch, it really hasn't "failed" in my view.  It's when you can't figure out what went wrong, that it is frustrating.