Author Topic: I need some Camembert help.  (Read 1799 times)

Offline MarkShelton

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I need some Camembert help.
« on: April 08, 2010, 07:24:20 AM »
My first 2 batches of Camembert have turned out failures, and I just got back on the wagon with this cheese by starting a new batch 2 days ago.
Here's what's done already: Warmed milk to 90 F. Added meso starter with geo to ripen 90min. Floc time 19min after adding rennet, cut curds after 1hr 20min (~5x multiplier). Healed 5min. Gently stirred 10min. Removed as much whey as possible. Ladled into molds. Flipped 1st time after 4hrs then every 2hrs after for 8hrs. Let drain overnight. Salted then put into ripening box.
That was the procedure thus far, but I want to make sure that the ripening conditions are correct also. Currently they are in the refrigerator at ~43 F and 85-90% RH. Now that I have 3 options for refrigerators, I need to know what the best ripening conditions are, and I can make it happen in one of them.
How should I continue handling this cheese?
I am constantly in awe of the very first people that consumed these things, despite how funky looking and smelling they had become.


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Offline mtncheesemaker(Pam)

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2010, 10:32:56 AM »
Hi Mark;
I feel your pain!
Did you add any P. candidum to your milk?
Were your failures due to slip skin or something else?
If slip skin, that apparently is an issue with Geo and humidity/moisture. After draining 12-14 hours, I remove the molds then allow the cheeses to air dry (after salting) until there is no more moisture accumulating under them. Then I put them in a closed box on a rack and wipe out the moisture every day; I want them to be at 50-54F. When they start to bloom, I turn them every day. When they are covered with white mold, I wrap them in cheese wrap, put them back in their box until they feel ripe.
There are a couple of detailed discussions somewhere that are well worth reading. I also posted my recipe on one of them.
The only failures I've had with this cheese were slip skin, and I've eaten most of them!
Good luck. Keep us posted on your progress.
Pam

Offline MarkShelton

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2010, 05:34:10 PM »
Oops, yes, there was p. canadidum added (forgot that in the first post).
The first failures were slip skins that were so foul-smelling of ammonia that it nearly sent me into dry-heaves when I cut into them. They went straight out to the dumpster!
So the slip skin isn't necessarily the cause of the ammonia smell?
I am constantly in awe of the very first people that consumed these things, despite how funky looking and smelling they had become.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2010, 05:48:27 PM »
Ammonia is produced from excessive proteolysis, and deamination of amino acids. It's when too much protease can eat at the proteins. Instead of slowly breaking them up into progressively smaller chains, the enzyme breaks them down and strips out an amine, which is basically ammonia.

Causes? Too much geo (either too much activity before candidum took over, or greater than 1:4 geo to candidum), too much humidity (above 92), too high of a temp (above 55), or surface not dried out after the make.

Geo gone wild will cause ammonia. But so can other bacteria and molds. Candidum has similar proteases.
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.

Offline MarkShelton

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2010, 06:21:56 PM »
Thanks linuxboy.
It is a prepackaged culture of meso, geo, and canadidum, so I don't know the ratios, but I would like to assume that it is a good ratio.
So, I need to keep the humidity around 90 and the temp below 55. The temp will be easy. I can just set my thermostat to 50. Maintaining a proper humidity is going to be trickier. I think I'll have to use Wayne's method of drilling holes in the aging container and covering/uncovering them with masking tape.
I am constantly in awe of the very first people that consumed these things, despite how funky looking and smelling they had become.


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Offline Oberhasli

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2010, 12:48:59 AM »
Good luck on your new batch.  At what point (time-wise) did your other cheeses turn bad?  I used to have a problem with ammonia, but I think I was just waiting too long before I moved my cheeses to the refrigerator.  They were done too fast and didn't have a chance to age at all in the fridge.
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Offline MarkShelton

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2010, 01:08:17 AM »
I started noticing the ammonia smell a few weeks after I wrapped them. After a few more weeks, they started feeling very squishy when pressed on the sides. Here's a picture of the two. Both were the same.
I am constantly in awe of the very first people that consumed these things, despite how funky looking and smelling they had become.

Offline Brie

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2010, 11:57:01 AM »
Lately, I've been following Margaret Morris' recipe and not allowing to ripen at all--just add the rennet after the starter (I use MA 4001). I made a Cambozola last week and it is beautiful--the white mold is just completing development on the rind. Also, after wrapping, I let them age at 40-45 degrees, open the lid every few days and let them breathe a bit--that seems to help with the ammonia smell. Good luck! Here's a pic of my last go-round with this cheese that I adore.
Darn, another cheese meltdown--ahh, perfect fondue.

Offline Nitai

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2010, 12:24:52 PM »
So, I need to keep the humidity around 90 and the temp below 55. The temp will be easy. I can just set my thermostat to 50. Maintaining a proper humidity is going to be trickier. I think I'll have to use Wayne's method of drilling holes in the aging container and covering/uncovering them with masking tape.


I live nearby the Beverage People, which I imagine most of you have encountered in various searches and perhaps ordered from. In a recent class there one person said they use damp rid to decrease humidity, just opening the lid and then closing it when the desired humidity is reached. Here is a link: http://www.damprid.com/. I think I will try it out next time I do Gorgonzola, which I just got lucky with the last time around.

Offline MarkShelton

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2010, 02:00:24 PM »
I wrapped my cams today after 10.5 days and a full white bloom. Sorry, no pictures. They went back into the aging container and back into the cave at 48 F.

Humidity is no longer an issue now that they are wrapped, right? And is this the right temperature and method for the remainder of aging?
I am constantly in awe of the very first people that consumed these things, despite how funky looking and smelling they had become.


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Offline Brie

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2010, 08:41:37 PM »
48 or even down to 45 is good to age and yes, you still need high humidity throughout the aging period. I keep them in a covered container with a piece of wet towel (not touching the cheese, but aside). Hope this helps!
Darn, another cheese meltdown--ahh, perfect fondue.

Offline The_blue

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2010, 04:31:45 AM »
I started noticing the ammonia smell a few weeks after I wrapped them. After a few more weeks, they started feeling very squishy when pressed on the sides. Here's a picture of the two. Both were the same.


Mine loked very much like that. The liquid wasn't quite as bad but it's sour :(

Offline Ben

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Re: I need some Camembert help.
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2010, 11:17:28 PM »
Mark,

Here are a few thoughts.  My cams are rarely firm like what you get in the store but only slightly runny.  If left on a plate for 10 minutes they will begin to run out.  I have really grown to appreciate their unique flavor.  They also have what I originally called an ammonia smell.  I do not know now if I would call it the same.  The only way to know would be to actually taste ammonia and then my cheese and for some reason I am reluctant.  :)  I suspect it is an ammonia smell mixed with cheese smell #9.

Anyhow, to my thoughts.  Your photos look like mine do when they age under wet conditions.  The surface is not soft and fuzzy and is sometimes even slick.  This may have contributed to your problem.  I age in my cave for 10 days until I have a good bloom.  Then I wrap in white cam paper I buy from cheesemaker and.  Then I place it in that little drawer in the door of the fridge.  I think it is for butter or something like that.  It is not only the warmest place in the fridge but is also somewhat sealed.  Between the papers and the drawer lid I don't have problems with them drying out.   

Don't know if any of this helps, but there is my 2 cents worth.