Author Topic: My first cheese.  (Read 2694 times)

Offline sominus

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My first cheese.
« on: January 25, 2010, 08:56:44 AM »
Hi all...

  So I finally did it -- after a long period of time spent reading, collecting little things to make the task easier, cleaning out the garage and just generally living a very hectic life I finally made a cheese.

  Last night I put together a 1-gallon (triple-cream) camembert...  Lessons learned:
    1- patience, young grasshopper!
    2- be gentle with the curds -- I allowed the first ladel-full of curds to fall into the mould from too high a height.  The result?  The fell right through!
    3- I need a better initial drying space/system. -- lack of planning didn't help here!
    4- My Wyott drop-in food warmer is really nice..

I did, however, remember to put geo and p. cand in.. :-)  I've read about that one too many times.. :-)

One minor disaster was that on the first "flip" of the cheeses, they got messed up... I was able to re-form them, but that's something I need to solve in the future for these non-pressed cheeses.  This morning they came out of the molds and looked pretty good... I salted the "tops" and will flip again and salt the "bottoms" tonite or tomorrow...


-M
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Offline Tea

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 02:21:09 PM »
Fingers crossed that all goes well from here.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 04:31:24 PM »
Good luck!
Be very vigilant about aging them in the correct temp/humidity and to wrap them on time with a proper wrap paper or cellophane. Some start out perfect and then bad aging conditions ruin them. Take your time.

As far as dropping the curd - I saw this video of how the French do it in Normandie and read the Camembert AOC rules: You need a stainless steel ladle that is exactly the diameter of the entire mold itself. You lower a ladlefull of curd into the bottom of the mold and turn the ladle upside down in smooth motion, pivoting around the bottom of the ladle. In other words, you slide the ladle up and away from the curd as if all you do is remove the "floor" that supports the curd so that it gently rests on the draining mat. The curd doesn't drop - it hardly even moves in the process.

Quote
Camembert de Normandie decree of December 26th, 1986, article 2 (C): "The curds are ladle moulded and the ladle diameter must be the same as mould diameter. The process must be discontinuous with a minimal of 4 fillings per mould."

I don't have my video online, but here are two videos that have a couple of shots where you can see how the professionals ladle it. Note that they do it very quickly and it looks rough but they are very skilled and confident. Also, they are french and about to go on labor strike or demonstration at any moment, so they don't want the milk to go bad. You can take your time though :)
http://www.fromageriegillot.fr/fr/fromagerie-gillot-fabrication01.php
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2008/apr/17/camembert

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 02:46:05 AM »
Good luck Michael.  You'll figure out a better system as you go along. Hard to know what's going on until you do it. I figured you like that warmer. I love my chaffing dish. If I had a bigger place drop in is a nice touch. I have to pack mine back in the carton when I'm done and bring it to the attic.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2010, 04:33:35 PM »
Oh yes, how is that cheese going? You should probably see the very first bloom tomorrow or the next day if all is well.


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Offline sominus

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 10:25:53 AM »
Actually those cheeses didn't fare so well... One of my cats got closed into the pantry where they were aging the first few days and .. well... 'nuff sed.

I made another batch this past weekend yielding 3 cheeses which are now aging in my garage fridge...  They went in yesterday and I realized that its a little cold @ 45°.  I have a temp controller that I need to hook up tonite.  This time I got better filling of the moulds, though there was a little sticking to the side on the "flip" -- a little crumbled away from one side on a couple of them.  I think I need to "slice" them away from the sides prior to flipping (you learn something new every time, dontcha?) in the steel mould I'm using.

The "smell" is different on this batch, too... This time there's a sour tang in the fridge, the last batch was really "sweet" smelling.  It could be moisture, open air, or gremlins I guess..

-Michael
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 10:06:42 PM »
Aw gee sorry to hear the cat got you first cheese Michael. That's rough. Did you find making the second batch a little easier now that you sortof know what to expect?

Offline iratherfly

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 02:56:28 AM »
Oy, sorry to hear about that. And here I was worried about mites...

45 is a bit low for the initial 7-12 days. Good for mild and slow 4-5 week development thereafter. Watch out for cross contamination if this is with other cheeses. They are susceptible to this!

Offline sominus

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2010, 08:17:36 AM »
Debi:  Yes, the second batch went MUCH more smoothly than the first...  The first batch was actually kind of frustrating:  I am a pretty fair chef, and felt like a rank amateur on the first batch.  Second batch was much more kind to me.. :-)  However, even if the 2nd batch ends up failing, I will have learned where there are inadequacies in my process or equipment for the 3rd.

Now I've read in a couple locations that my temperature isn't all that low for initial aging... A bit, perhaps, but not significantly... The stuff I've read merely states that I'll have longer to wait.

Your thoughts?

-Michael (keeping his cheeses away from the cat)
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 06:35:06 PM »
I agree Michael. It will slow down the ripening process but it won't harm anything. Don't ley them puddle. If  you see moisture wipe it up and keep flipping thse babies so they air evenly.


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Offline sominus

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2010, 09:00:55 AM »
So here's a pic of the current cheeses...



We're at day 10.. The first few days were a little cooler than recommended, but I finally got my temperature controller wired in this past week and we're at 47-52 degrees...

*crosses fingers*
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Offline mtncheesemaker(Pam)

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2010, 10:07:29 AM »
Looks good, we''l hope for the best. This is a challenging cheese, but well worth mastering!
Pam

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2010, 10:29:11 PM »
They look like they are coming along nicely. Keep em dry now!

Offline michoutim

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2010, 07:27:28 PM »
Damn cat ! You feed them yet they steal !  >:D

Your second batch is coming out really well !

For turning the cheese over, we put a cheese grid on the top to sandwich the cheese in between. Just like you would turn an omelette using a plate.

The other problem could be the cheese is not dry enough and still too fragile.  If it looks so, then better wait a few more hours...


Offline sominus

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Re: My first cheese.
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2010, 09:05:19 AM »
No updated pics this morning, since the past week hasn't shown much change in these guys.  Today is day 16, and the mold hadn't really spread much more than in the pics I posted... In one cheese, in fact, it may have receded...

Is this batch doomed?
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