Well that is sad Dave, and agree, I also will not be beaten by a little white fuzzy hockey puck
All the info I have says ammonia smell is normally from being past A Point
, but yours was definitely too young for that
So probably your problem was the cheese being too moist, but I, I think like you, don't understand the root cause, if anything I'd have thought that cutting 2" curds would give you more whey expulsion than just ladled curds, sounds like not.
So what are the variables for more-less whey expulsion? Ones I can think of are:
- Effectiveness of rennet, ie type & amount of rennet, past or not milk, fat content of milk, if added CaCl2.
- Good set, clean break.
- Cut curd size.
- Time spent warming cut curds.
- Temperature while warming cut curds.
- Time spent gravity draining curds in Camembert hoops.
- Temperature while gravity draining curds in Camembert hoops.
Quite a few variables!
Other than cutting vs ladling, maybe there is something else you did different in all these variables resulting in moister Camembert which resulting in shrinking and funny looking coat?
Just my 2 cents. Good luck this weekend!