Author Topic: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like  (Read 5944 times)

Offline Boofer

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Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« on: April 09, 2012, 11:25:30 PM »
Using the recipe from 200 Easy Homemade Cheeses (with slight modifications), I attempted Fourme d’Ambert…my second blue cheese. I was looking to duplicate the taste and texture of some blues I had sampled over the past couple weeks. I had made what was supposed to be a Stilton-style blue last year, but I was not overly impressed with the taste…and it did not improve with time and aging.

Something was slightly amiss during the make of this cheese. I’m not entirely sure what it was.

Initial milk pH: 6.79

2 gallons Twin Brook 1% creamline milk
2 gallons Twin Brook whole creamline milk
1 quart Twin Brook whipping cream
8 cubes Aroma B (meso) mother culture
½ tsp CACL in ¼ cup distilled water
1/16 tsp Renco dry calf rennet in ¼ cup cool distilled water

Began heating milk in double boiler to 90 F. Added culture cubes to cold milk.

While waiting for cubes to melt so I could stir them in, I made a slurry of Regina Blu and distilled water.

When the cubes melted, I stirred them in.

After 15 minutes, I added the CACL and rennet. pH: 6.69

At 20 minutes, flocculation. Using 4x multiplier, I would cut the curd in 80 minutes.

When I cut the curd, the pH was 6.63.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Here’s where the story gets a little murky. I wanted to reach pH6.1-6.2 for whey-drain and get the curds in the mold somewhere around pH5.00. I waited and waited…and then waited some more. It was 3 hours later and the pH hadn’t moved below 6.61.

I decided to go ahead and drain and fill the mold(s). After I had filled the large mold I found that I had a few more curds that I had to put somewhere. I quickly prepared a small Bucheron mold and filled it. What an adventure that was!

I pressed under whey using first a 5lb weight for 30 minutes. I flipped, redressed, and pressed for another 30 minutes. Then I drained the whey, flipped, redressed, and pressed with 5lbs for another 30 minutes.

Some 4 hours later the pH had reluctantly moved to 6.55.

I removed the Plyban and began pressing in the pot with 10lb. The pH was now down to 6.48. I flipped, redressed, and continued pressing in the pot with 10lbs.

Two and a half hours later and the pH was at 6.31. I flipped, redressed, and pressed some more. Two hours later still the pH was 5.89 and I pressed some more. I had begun this make at 6:15AM and it was now 8:30PM.

At 11:30PM I checked the pH and saw 6.16. I decided to take it out of the press and start brining. I put the two cheeses in separate whey-brine containers. I got up to turn the Bucheron-type at 3:00AM (it would be brined for 6 hours total). Then I got up again at 6:00AM to remove the Bucheron to airdry in its minicave, and to flip the larger cheese in the brine (it would be brined for 12 hours).

At 12:00PM Saturday, I removed the large cheese to airdry in its minicave. I checked the pH: 5.03.  There are some rind cracks from the Plyban, emphasized by brining.

This afternoon I pierced both cheeses and placed them in the caves. They both had a little residual moisture underneath which I dried. Hopefully this will not present a problem.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

So there it is. A big question mark. Why did the pH react that way? Should I have just proceeded according to the recipe and discounted the pH readings? I feel I may have overcooked the curds. The temperature held pretty steady at 88-90F. I have used this mother culture recently and it worked well for me.

This cheese is injected during its affinage with Vouvray wine. I probably cannot locate that wine but I would still like to inject it. Would a Moscato or something similar be a suitable substitute? Yes, I realize then that it wouldn't be a cheese true to the style. I'm probably far enough away from that at this point anyway.

At this point I am cautiously optimistic curious how these cheeses will turn out. Ah, what a thrilling excursion into the unknown....  ::)

The last pic is my target.

-Boofer-
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 07:59:31 AM by Boofer »
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Offline H-K-J

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 09:30:15 AM »
I cant answer your question about PH,  ??? Just wanted to say they pressed out nicely :)
It looks like you are on another adventure down cheese lane Hope you hit yer target (as in the last pic) :D
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Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 10:12:01 AM »
Hi Boofer,

To start at the end: They really look nice. I don't have a decent mould in that shape, so I used my Kadova Gouda moulds. I have to find some time to make cylindrical moulds out of some PVC-tubes.
You mentioned injection with Vouvray wine. I can't recall that being mentioned in the recipe (I'm in the train back from work at this moment), but it is certainly not mentioned on Wikipedia for Fourme d' Ambert.
I followed the recipe from 200 Easy Homemade Cheeses without any modification, BUT, I don't have a PH-meter so I have no clue about the PH in the different stages. Mines are now in the cave since March 27th and although I flip the twice a day, they still feel a bit moisty at the outside.
I just had a look at the logfile and I started at 8AM and they were under the press with 5KG at 11:30AM. Well, I never tasted Fourme d"Ambert, so when they are ready, I can only compare them with other blue cheeses I had before....But I'll keep you posted ;-).
- Herman -

Offline Boofer

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 12:43:15 PM »
If I had been able to do it properly, the two cheeses would have been combined in the larger mold. That was the original intent. When (not if) I do this again, I will ensure that all curds get into the one mold. Here's a little more detail about this cheese style.

Below are comments from a couple websites:
_______________________________________

"Fourme d'Ambert is one of France's oldest cheeses (dating from the Roman period). It is traditional, farmhouse and cooperative, blue cheese. Fourme d`Ambert is more supple and dense than more blues. The flavor is savory and nutty. You can easily recognize it by its unusually tall cylindrical shape. Today the cheese is produced with pasteurized milk. The maturing process takes place in humid cellars. The pâté is creamy with a lasting taste of wine. Extremely pleasant, this is one of our Cheese Master specialties. The period of maturing is 3 to 4 weeks and every week the cheeses are injected by a syringe, containing Vouvray moelleux. Similar cheeses include Fourme de Montbrison, Bleu de Montbrison, Bleu de Gex and Bleu de Septmoncel."

_______________________________________


"Fourme d'Ambert is one of France's oldest cheeses (dating from the Roman period). Today production is with pasteurised milk. Like its cousin Fourme de Montbrison, it is a blue cheese. The maturing process takes place in aerated, humid cellars. This is one of our Cheese Master specialties. The maturing period lasts 2 to 3 months. In the Tours region of France the local cheese mongers allow the cheeses to mature by adding a little "mellow Vouvray wine".
This cheese still smells the cave odour and has a lasting taste of wine and fruits extremely pleasant.
The rind is dry and yellow and wrapped in a grey velvet. Inside, the pate is creamy, moistured, with faint hints of blue mould."


I also wanted to say that the curds tasted sweet not sour as one might expect for so long in the press. That supports what I was reading on the pH meter.

-Boofer-
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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 06:41:50 PM »
It will be interesting to see how it turns out.  Keep us updated.  Did you're pH meter calibrate ok? Odd.

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Offline Boofer

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 07:06:44 PM »
It will be interesting to see how it turns out.  Keep us updated.  Did you're pH meter calibrate ok? Odd.

- Jeff
Yeah, Jeff, it has been doing surprisingly well for me. The latest was the Maasdam and the meter did what it was supposed to do. That's why this is such a diversion from what is "normal". I have been trying to rely less on the meter and to develop a sense for what the milk & curds are doing. Not having much knowledge or experience with blues, I'm in a learning curve. There are some points where you would like to hit certain marks and that's why this was such a disturbance in the Force.  8)

Eh, we'll see how it all turns out. I have identified a few blue varieties here and here that I would like to emulate. I screwed up in a couple places with this make, but I have the molds, the cultures, and the will...so I am going to press on.  :)

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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2012, 03:18:58 AM »
Does it suppose to have such a high ph at brining (seems awefully high) or were you having acidification issues?
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2012, 10:51:47 AM »
Does it suppose to have such a high ph at brining (seems awefully high) or were you having acidification issues?
Tomer1, that was the whole point of the problem I discussed. For some reason the acidity was very stubborn and refused to drop as expected. I wanted the cheese to be sweet and I'm sure it will be. I just hope there is enough acidity.

I want to repeat this make soon and hit the pH points that I should. The cheese should be taller. The form I used is shown on the right. In the middle is the large Bucheron and on the left is the Camembert. I'm thinking the large Bucheron would be a more appropriate form factor.

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Offline anutcanfly

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2012, 10:52:51 AM »
Now I wish I had taken more pH measurements... how curious!  I didn't realize it was injected with wine.  I'm going to have to try that!
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Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 11:48:40 AM »
The injection with Vouvray is new to me, but I'll get me a bottle of sweet white wine and a syringe. I hope it's not to late starting to inject it....
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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 12:24:39 PM »
I think the lactate (lactic acid) produced during the complete acidification process is essential as food source for the PR mold, thats why during ripening the pH in blue cheeses rise.
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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 02:01:01 PM »
Tomer, That is correct. PR "eats" lactate not lactose or lactic acid. That is why you cannot maintain PR as a Mother Culture. As the starter bacteria consume lactose, it gets converted to lactic acid and then lactate. So a blue doesn't conform to the normal pH/acidity rules. With a cheddar if the pH gets too low, the finished cheese will be dry and crumbly. Not true with a blue. The curds often set overnight to develop the proper acidity and therefore more lactate.

Boof - Aroma B generally has a long pH curve. You can make things go faster if you add a little MA-11 or MM-100. I don't but I do use a little L. helveticus (a thermophile). This helps stabilize proteolysis and does a better job of converting residual lactose. You said you were looking for a "sweet" cheese with the higher pH. Again, that would normally be true, but not with a blue. Your finished pH is the most important. 5.03 is probably OK, but I normally want it around 4.7 to 4.8. I would soak your pH probe in rennet for a while to let the enzyme break up any residues, then calibrate again.

I'm curious why you used whole, 1%, and cream. The low fat milk will definitely effect the creaminess and the mouth feel. That will also decrease your yield.

Not all Fourme's are injected with wine. I do not inject mine.
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 04:58:15 PM »
The curds often set overnight to develop the proper acidity and therefore more lactate.
This is curious. Why do the recipes then call for the accelerated molding?

Boof - Aroma B generally has a long pH curve. You can make things go faster if you add a little MA-11 or MM-100. I don't but I do use a little L. helveticus (a thermophile). This helps stabilize proteolysis and does a better job of converting residual lactose. You said you were looking for a "sweet" cheese with the higher pH. Again, that would normally be true, but not with a blue. Your finished pH is the most important. 5.03 is probably OK, but I normally want it around 4.7 to 4.8.
Good to know. I do intend to retry this cheese and I'll plug in your steerage. I am also now suspicious of my Aroma B mother culture cubes and may opt for dry culture for the next go-around.

I would soak your pH probe in rennet for a while to let the enzyme break up any residues, then calibrate again.
So you're thinking my meter's reference may be out of kilter and the rennet might correct that?

I'm curious why you used whole, 1%, and cream. The low fat milk will definitely effect the creaminess and the mouth feel. That will also decrease your yield.

Not all Fourme's are injected with wine. I do not inject mine.
When I bought the milk for this make, I was faced with only four bottles (64oz) of whole. Checking the pulldates for the 2% and 1%, which were in good supply, the 1% was quite a bit further out (thus fresher), so I decided to go with the fresher 1% and supplement the missing cream. Obviously, if I had been able to get all whole milk, I would have done it. If you view the different milks in their bottles at the store, the only clear difference I see is the level of cream at the neck. I wouldn't expect that the yield would be reduced if I added in the whipping cream and effectively boosted the 1% to whole.

I agree: not all Fourme d'Ambert cheeses are injected. I found that out.

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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2012, 05:21:35 PM »
Whats are the effects of the injections?
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Reluctantly...Fourme d'Ambert-like
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 07:18:45 PM »
Whats are the effects of the injections?
Well, Tomer1, I will let you know when I find out.  ;)

I expect to restart tomorrow morning.

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