Author Topic: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6  (Read 4258 times)

Offline John (CH)

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2009, 05:55:07 PM »
This evening just took second of two Camembert's out of fridge, 13 days after previous one. Unwrapped, very soft sides and middle, allowed to warm towards room temperature for 15 minutes. Cut, runnier than first one! Didn't firm up like Tea's St Maure.

Nice rind texture and taste, the very runny pate tastes great but a little salty like previous one.

Pictures below . . .


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2009, 06:07:34 PM »
Looks good on the outside, sucks about the inside.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline FineWino

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2009, 09:17:50 PM »
John,
 
You asked about suggestions, and I have a number of them.  I have read your previous recipes as well.
 
First, I would suggest that you try to be more consistent between batches.  Particularly important is the temperature when you are making this cheese.  Maybe you can get away with temp as high as 92F, but most literature recommends 86-90F and and I usually try to keep it between 88-90F (31-32C).
 
Don't use direct heat to heat your milk.  Heat damages the casein structure and upsets the calcium balance, which is why pastuerized milk doesn't form a curd as firm as raw milk.  CaCl2 can help some, but it is best to not damage the milk to begin with.  With direct heat, the milk directly above the "hot spots" of the burner gets really hot and transfers the heat to the rest of the milk.  If you want to use the burner, try putting a metal plate between the burner and the pot, or get a metal grid to elevate it.  I always let my milk sit for a few hours at rooom temperature, and then immerse the containers in a sink of hot water.
 
I have become a big fan of Geotrichum, and I add it and the P. candidum when I add the ripening culture.  I have tried a few (including MM 100), and I usually use MA4001 as I think the addition of a little Streptococcus gives the cheese more character.  It is important to let the milk ripen for the proper time (usu ~90 min) before adding the rennet.  The activity of the rennet is sensitive to this and if there is insufficient acid development the curd will not set as well.  Also, if the temperature is too high it will inhibit the acid development.
 
I have tried cutting and not cutting the curds, and I think both work.  Draining is a little faster with the cut curds.  I usually let them rest 10 min or so after cutting.
 
I typically leave the cheeses in the molds 8-10 hours, and occasionally overnight if I started the cheese later in the day.  Once they are reasonably firm, I take them out of the mold, salt them (1-1.5%) and move them to the first stage of ripening at 48-50F(9-10C).  I turn them once a day, and if excess moisture has accumulated below the cheese I dab it up with a clean paper towel.  White mold shows up in 7-10 days, and once there is a continuous layer of mold I wrap and put in the fridge (38F/1C).
 
Ripening at high temperatures will give you a runny cheese faster, but it will probably also be stinky and somewhat bitter.  Ideally the cheese should be soft and creamy rather than runny.  The proteolysis and lipolysis that cause the cheese to get soft and tasty need to happen slowly to give you a quality cheese.  I do not know how some of the recipes say that you can have a tasty camembert in 4-6 weeks.  I have found 8-12 is more common.  The ripening time will be dependent on the thickness of the cheese.
 
I have been able to make a tasty cheese in a shorter period of time by using a St Marcellin style mold and making 1 cheese/liter (or quart) of milk.  This is a thinner, smaller diameter cheese and I find it is usually ready in 3-4 weeks.  If you want to make the full size Camembert, coolness and patience are a must.
 
For lunch today, unwrapped and ate one of this two Camembert batch, my first batch wrapped, 4 pictures posted above.

Wrapped came away from cheese nicely, beautiful looking rind development, both bottom and top, but when cut the cheese at ~10 C / 50 F after 2-3 minutes out fridge where aged 25 days in wrappers at 9 C / 48 F (34 days total), found very runny inside :o .

Ate it anyway ;D .

The rind had the normal Camembert taste and nice thickness compared to my previous non-wrapped Camemberts with thicker fluffier rinds, bottom where wrap was folded had more unevenness that store bought Camemberts, I think as these wraps are thicker than those on store bought Cams. The pate did not have much of the Camembert taste and was a little bitter and a little too salty and while mostly very runny, did still have a small more solid part.

Any advice/thoughts especially on why too runny appreciated . . .
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.  -John Kenneth Galbraith

Offline John (CH)

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2009, 04:43:24 AM »
FineWino

Great post, thank you very very much for taking the time to write up all the advice, tricks and traps. I agree I am not consistant and there are many recipes on web that are too simplistic, especially for this sensitive cheese. Also agree that ripening time is dependant on thickness, thus reason much are larger brie wheels are still roughly same thin height as Camemberts.

Few quick additional questions:
  • Are you using store bought pasteurized cow's milk and what fat content, whole?
  • What are you using for wraps, I have another 90 of these to go from US based CheeseMaking.com but I am finding they are very thick vs ones on store bought Camemberts and thus hard to conform tightly to cheese and leave large indents on Camembert's bottom.
  • Is it true that when you cut this style cheese, it stops developing? I've checked firmness/ripeness of both in stores and generally find Camemberts under-ripe vs pre-cut and plastic seal wrapped Brie's are nicely ripe.
  • How is it that store bought Camemberts are able to have such long shelf lives?
  • How is it that store bought plastic wrapped/sealed Bries are able to have such long shelf lives? Or is that it stops developing once cut and sealed? Must still be some limit on shelf life?

Sorry for additional questions, video on checking for ripeness . . . video on cutting and plastic sealing Brie's.

Today I will try again with your advice. Thanks again, John.

Offline FineWino

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2009, 09:09:57 AM »
John,
 
I hope that what I can add is helpful to you.  This is a somewhat tricky cheese, and I made several stinky and/or runny ones before I started getting it right.  I just received my new pH meter yesterday that I hope will help me control the process even better.
 
I have made this type of cheese with both raw and store bought milk.  Other than the curd set being a little different, I think that either will work.  I have always used whole milk.  My last batch I added a pint of half and half to two gallons of milk for a creamier style.
 
I am using the same wraps that you use.  If you are getting indentations in the cheese from wrapping it they may be too soft.  The cheese should still be pretty firm once the mold has covered it.  Too much moisture in the cheese can be one of the factors in it being runny instead of creamy.  I plan on getting some of the larger wraps (approx 16" x 16") because the 10" ones are marginal for a standard camembert.  I have also used the cellophane type cheese wraps (also available from cheesemaking.com) and they seem to work fine.  The important thing is that while it is ripening the cheese must be able to breathe.  The two layer wrap has the inner layer that helps wick away excess moisture from the cheese surface and the plastic part is perforated to let it out.
 
Cutting the cheese alone does not stop its development.  If you leave the cut open, and the cheese is very young, sometimes the mold will grow over to cover it.  If the cheese is runny and the guts spill out, you can't seal it back up.  The way to monitor development is to pick one cheese for your "monitor" cheese.  You can cut a wedge out to see how it is doing and then just put the wedge back in and put the wrap back around the cheese.  If you want to eat the wedge, then just get some plastic wrap and press it against the cut surface of the wheel before you put the regular wrap around it, and the remainder of the cheese will continue to develop.  When the cheese is kept in the fridge at 38-40F or so, it will not be runny unless something is really wrong with it.  I have tried all the methods above and they work.
 
Regarding shelf life, I think that a properly made camembert lasts quite a long time under refrigeration.  If the development inside is such that the cheese is creamy and gooey rather than runny, it is seeming to me that they keep for a few months.  I am presently enjoying the last batch I made that I started in November, and they are perfect now.  The pics I took last night are blurred, so I will have to take some new ones.
 
I think it is a myth that this cheese can be ready in 35 days or whatever it is that some articles/recipes say.  My experience is that when they ripen this quickly they are runny and develop off odors.  My last batch, probably my best, has never had a hint of ammonia.  I also have one small one that was over salted, made last August.  I am letting it dry slowly to use as a grating cheese.  I will be experimenting in the future to see if there is a way to shorten the time frame, but right now it seems to that making a thinner cheese is the best way.  BTW, I think that early in the ripening process the soft cheese just under the rind may appear to be very runny, but as it progresses the texture becomes more uniform.
 
I see you are starting new batch.....Good luck!
 
 
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.  -John Kenneth Galbraith


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2009, 09:53:01 AM »
FineWino

Thanks again very much for your detailed response!

I like your monitor cheese trick of unwrapping and cutting open to check maturity, and if sample a wedge then apply plastic to that area. FYI on this store bought French Brie slice I bought here in Houston it had a semi stiff plastic V shaped liner to help keep the cut edges from oozing out before unwrapping. I am using standard 100 mm/4" diameter Camembert hoops and find that those 10" x 10" wraps fit fine, maybe your cheeses are taller than mine.

Makes sense that mold continues to grow albeit very slowly at 38F/1C even when cut, in the link above you can see new surface mold on the front cut edge. Also makes sense that long shelf life at low temperature, that French Brie had a long trip from manufacturer to reefer container, to french port, across ocean, across US to distribution center, then reefer truck to store where it could easily sit for 1 month before sale.

OK no shortcuts and take longer on this next batch.

One last question (I think) if you have time. I salt my Camemberts lightly by sprinkling side and ends from shaker by eyeing how much salt, and adjusting amount from memory on next batch. Not very scientific and easy to over salt as a small cheese with large surface area. Any tips on how to get the optimal 1 - 1.5% (by weight or volume?) amount, do you measure ie 1 teaspoon per Camembert assuming 2 per 1 US gallon?

Thanks in advance . . . John.

Offline mako

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2009, 02:16:41 PM »
A cheese for you, FineWino. This is totally illuminating info. Lots of stuff to keep watch over on my camembert attempts. There's so little feedback once they go into cold aging, it seems really important to make sure all the early going is dialed in to give the best chances of a good final product. Well, that and as much patience as you can muster.

Quote
I think it is a myth that this cheese can be ready in 35 days or whatever it is that some articles/recipes say.  My experience is that when they ripen this quickly they are runny and develop off odors.

I've wondered about this. It seems that the professional makers are the ones giving the numbers on the 20-40 day range, but everyone who actually makes them at home only has real success with colder temps and longer affinage (or, alternately, really thin rounds). So I wonder if there's something that the big guys are doing completely differently, or if it's just disinformation, or what.

Offline Likesspace

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2009, 09:31:31 PM »
Good call Makkonen....
A cheese for Tom, from me as well....
Of all of the information I've read and studied, Tom has helped me the most with my Camembert making.
Thanks a million for your input Finewino. This is information that everyone can benefit from.

Dave

Offline FineWino

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2009, 01:57:48 AM »
Gentlemen,
 
Sorry for the delay in my reply here.  I have been very busy the past few days and on the road today.
 
Dave and Makkonen...Thank you so much for the cheeses.  They are my first.  I am just trying to share what I have learned so that we can all make better cheese.
 
John, regarding salt.....
 
I was told by the cheesemaker who taught me much of what I have shared that I was not salting enough.  I have made a few cheeses that I thiought were good but other consumers said they were too salty.  The 1-1.5% came from references I have seen in various places.
 
More recently, I was able to obtain a copy of The French Cheese Book by Patrick Rance (long out of print) and it indicates that for Camembert de Normande they use 7g of salt per cheese.
 
Perhaps the next batch of Camembert  I will try a salt experiment, using slightly varying amounts of salt for each cheese.  It is about time.
 
This I do know from research and experience:  too little salt -> poor or no mold growth.  Too much salt -> thicker rind.
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.  -John Kenneth Galbraith

Offline John (CH)

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2009, 06:04:26 AM »
FineWino

Wow 7 grams salt per Camembert is very high!

For my Batch #7 I used 3.25 gr (1/2 Teaspoon) per Camembert (basically 1 US quart of whole cow's milk) which I estimate is 1% salt by weight of final cheese.

As an experiment and as my older Batch was slightly too salty, for my Batch #8 I used half that amount, 1.6 gr (1/4 Teaspoon) per Camembert which I estimate is 0.5% salt by weight of final cheese.

Will be a good experiment ;).


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Offline FineWino

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2009, 02:54:14 PM »
I agree 7 grams sounded like a lot to me.  Maybe some of it gets shaken off?
Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.  -John Kenneth Galbraith

Offline Tea

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Re: John's Cheese #034 - Camembert #6
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2009, 03:37:06 PM »
Finewino thankyou very much for this information.  Somehow I have missed this thread.

I am still waiting for my usual milk to become available again, so I am reading as much as I can, before I make this cheese again.

I just wanted to add that I agree that the cheese is definately runnier before it is ripe, and then firms up and becomes more consistant and creamy when ripe.  That was very evident in my St Maure cheese.