Author Topic: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert  (Read 3518 times)

Offline Althea

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Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« on: July 19, 2012, 06:49:13 AM »
These are my first Camembert and were looking so good. I used margaret morris's recipe, they fully bloomed around 6 days and I wrapped them put them back in the fridge and had been aging them in a 54 degree fridge.Oh and I used MA 4001 and PC Neige. Tried one at 2 weeks looked, tasted, and smelled perfect. Then I opened one up a few days ago and it smelled strong of ammonia. Paste was still firm though not runny at all, so I unwrapped them all and now they still smell like ammonia AND they are drying out around the edges because I can't get the humidity up. What did I do wrong?  The paste still looks like they are young.  I have a LOT more of these little cheeses coming along and was hoping to have them ready for farmer's market between 3-4 weeks. Now I feel like the first batch is ruined. It still tastes good but I cant shake the ammonia smell.
Thank you,
Althea


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 07:14:17 AM »
What did you wrap them in?
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 jerseyknollfarm

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 04:49:45 PM »
Shouldn't they be aged at a much cooler temp?  When I made my Brie, I used warmer fridge (could only get it down to 45*) and high humidity until they were fully bloomed and then moved to my milk refrigerator, which is much cooler, for 2 weeks to ripen.

How old are they now?  You said you tried one at 2 weeks and it was fine but how long ago was that?

If you are going to age at a high temp, it will ripen much sooner than in a colder environment.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 01:53:13 AM »
I agree with jerseyknollfarm
 - 2 weeks is way too early for these. Minimum of 21 day aging, if it's thick or large format minimum 28 days.
 - PC Neige is a very aggressive strain of PC. It grows too tall, too fast and has very high rate of enzymatic activity that causes premature ammonia. You need some good geo growth before the PC is taking over and that should take about 4-5 days (appears as cream color velvety slippery coating before the PC blooms). If your PC took over the cheese by day 6 I suspect it was too aggressive. Ideally this should happen between 7-9 days. You need to take your time with these cheeses if you want them to ripen nicely and produce that supple quality and even texture distribution.
- humidity in cave environment must be spot-on. If you can't get it as high as you need, use an aging container which traps the moisture in and allows the cheese to mature without moisture/drought oscillations. . Have you used boxes before to age cheese in a cave? It makes life easier.
- Once wrapped they should never go back to the cave. After wrapping they must go to refrigeration
- What type of Geo did you use? How much of it vs. the PC dosage?

I would:
- Switch to a more comfortable traditional strain of PC such as PC-ABL or PC-VS. You may consider changing Geo or dosage of the Geo vs. the PC.
- Wrap much later. The cheese doesn't mind being wrapped even at day 12 if you allow the rind to grow slowly. It will still be ready on time. Heck, you don't even need to wrap them, just move the aging box from cave to fridge, then turn and rub the cheeses daily to keep the PC thin and dense. Wrap when they are ready to sell. That's totally acceptable
- test other wrapping materials.  I use Crystal paper and it does incredible job. Micro-perforated cellophane is also great. Many of the wrapping papers suffocates the rind and cause ammonia. They are designed to wrap the cheese as it goes into a poplar or cardboard box, or for a cheesemonger to wrap an individual wedge of cheese for a customer. They may not fit your cheese production conditions.

Overall, Camembert is a bit finicky and it takes a lot of practice to get right on a consistent basis. This is one of those cheese where aging practices can really make or break it. It's not difficult, it just takes practice. Before selling, I would practice more batches and different conditions -until it's consistently, repeatedly perfect.

I assume you have dairy plant license for cheesemaking if you are selling your cheese? ...what are the other cheeses or product you do there? Are you a farmstead producer?

Offline Althea

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2012, 08:16:27 AM »
Thanks you guys. Yes, I am licensed. I have my own very small dairy and creamery. I had been selling raw milk and yogurt from Jersey cows for 5 years and am now finally making the leap to cheese. I wont sell anything until I'm sure of it. I appreciate all the feedback!
Lets see I didnt use any geo.. didnt see it in the recipe? what recipe do you recommend? I am hoping to use the rest of this year to seriously test out some cheeses and then expand my creamery next year and get serious with the cheese.
Where do you like to order cultures, paper etc? I need to reorder today anyway.
I also have a small flock of sheep that I intend to milk and make cheese with.
Althea


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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2012, 09:32:12 AM »
Althea, I am not suppose to promote myself here... but I do sell paper, cultures, moulds and instruments and I give discount to creameries. I get them in bulk from distributors and manufacturers. If you want, we can try a few things until you get it right. Send me a private message with details and I will mail you some stuff to try out.

Geo is quite necessary when making a Camembert. It does a lot in terms of contribution to flavor and texture development - as well as the appearance of the cheese. It also de-acidifies the surface in preparation for optimal growth of PC. The competition over some nutrients between PC and Geo makes them keep each other in check, so good balance between them would prevent out-of-control growth for both in some stages of aging.  The Geo is the creamy ivory color goo that's right under the velvety dry PC layer.  If you want, you can PM me and we can test a few scenarios to give you a nice, aromatic and flavor rich Camembert with supple texture and ample stability.  For your large batches I would suggest NOT to inoculate it in the milk but to do a spray solution.  This will also give you the opportunity to make a single batch of cheese (so you know all your wheels are the same) and then test different wheels with different spray and compare the results.  In a creamery environment it will save you lots of money and hassle in the long run and enable you to control growth much bettter (you will see how your cheese is responding and decide if you should spray more or stop. Better than putting it in the milk and having no control of it after the fact).

Can you post the recipe you've used? Let's tweak it right here!  Usually Margaret Morris' recipes are quite good basis to build on.

Offline Althea

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 05:36:01 AM »
Okay. Here is the recipe I used. The milk was from my Jersey cows, testing right now around 5.5% - 6 % butterfat. I heat treated it at 145 degrees for 15 secs. as I intended to sell these before 60 days.

Ingredients:
2 gallons milk
1/8 tsp MA 4001/ 4002
1/8 tsp P. Candidum ( I used neige. It's all I had )
1/4 tsp rennet

Start temp of 84 degrees.
Add culture and let it dissolve on the surface for 2-4 minutes. Work well into the milk with 20 top / bottom strokes.
Add 1/4 tsp diluted in 1/4 cup cool water. Mix well into the milk. Allow it to ripen and rennet until curds form in 1 to 1 1/2 hours. ( I cut the curds after 1  1/2 hrs. )
Test for clean break. Cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Stir gently for 2-3 minutes.
Allow curds to settle for 5-10 minutes without stirring.
Ladle into camembert moulds OR predrain for 20 minutes. ( I pre-drained for 10-20 minutes before putting in moulds)
Allow cheeses to drain at 68-77 degrees overnight. When they are firm enough to handled 3-4 hrs after draining, flip them in the moulds.
Once cheeses have completed draining (12-14 hrs ) they can be removed from the moulds.
Place on a clean ripening mat in a plastic container and sprinkle 1/2 tsp coarse salt on each side. Place lid back on box, slightly open to allow for air circulation until no further whey accumulates under cheese. At this point lid can be tightened into position.
Transfer cheeses to a ripening room (50-54 degrees ). I put mine in a fridge with external thermostat set at 54
The white mold should appear on day 5-7.
Looking at my notes it appeared on day 6 and was fully bloomed by day 8
Once white mold appears cheeses must be turned daily and when fully bloomed remove from the box, wrap the cheese in cello paper or cheese wrap.
You may at this time further ripen in the refigerator ( 40 - 45 degrees ) OR continue in the ripening room. I was leaving them in the same 50-54 degree fridge I started with
The cheese will be ready to eat when the center feels soft under thumb pressure.
6-8 weeks at ( 40-45 degrees) or 3-4 weeks at 50-54 degrees.

My first batch is 3 weeks old today. I have 2 more successive batches made at weekly intervals. I unwrapped the 2 week olds and put back in the plastic container and then the ones I made on Monday are just starting to show white mold. I dont plan to wrap them. I have Chaource draining right now. I did use a pinch of Geo 15 with those.
Althea

Offline Oberhasli

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2012, 04:44:22 PM »
I have used Margaret Morris's recipe for years and I add a pinch of Geo when making cam's.  I used to have a problem with black mold growing in spots and the geo helps keep this in check.  I don't wrap my cheeses while they are ripening.  If you air out your cheese ripening box for an hour or so everyday - it should keep the ammonia smell at bay.  I flip my cheeses daily, air the box, and keep the lid slightly ajar so as not to accumulate too much moisture while they are ripening in the fridge and I wipe out any excess moisture on the bottom.  I order my cultures and rennet from Glengarry Cheesemaking and Dairy Supply (Margaret Morris).

Good luck with your cams.  It sounds like you have a good start.  It can be a tricky cheese to get it ripened to suite your taste. 

Bonnie
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than do nothing and risk they stay.     Anonymous

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2012, 11:49:58 PM »
Althea, sorry for taking so long to reply. Family visiting from overseas... busy couple of weeks!

The Margaret Morris recipe you posted seems to me, eh... like a quick hack for a "Camambert-esque" recipe. My guess is that this was written for beginning cheesemakers to give them something trouble-free that has fuzzy white growth on it, limited ripening and less issues such as slip-skin and ammonia. The problem is that this also means a lackluster texture, flavor, and aroma.  While it may satisfy a novice home cheesemaker, it may not be good enough to sell. Pre-draining is a definite no-no in traditional Camembert. Moreover, Geo (which was missing from recipe) is a must: It is vital for development of rind, paste texture, flavor, aroma, and presentation in Camembert.

If you intend on producing quantities for sale, I suggest you practice consistency (and increase success/yield) so...
     - Rather than counting on a set recipe pre-rennet time you should look at pH.
     - Rather than waiting for prescribed post-rennet time, rely on flocculation multiplier (are you familiar with the spinning bowl method? So easy!).
     - Rather than measuring teaspoons of salt per cheese, measure salt based on the cheese weight (at the time of salting)
This will flex your fabrication to match your milk/room condition of the day. You would perfectly reach the same targets and produce a similar cheese every time!

Okay now:

CLASSIC CAMEMBERT FORMULA IN 10 EASY STEPS:
- 2 Gallon whole milk or standardize milk to 4% fat (2 gallon nonfat milk +  2 cups cream), bring to 95°F, mix in 1/4 tsp Calcium Chloride
- Culture to 6.45pH with:
    - 1/8 tsp Flora Danica
    - 1/16 tsp TA50 series culture
    - 1/16 tsp of MD89 (optional)
    - 1/16 tsp Geo 13
    - 1/16 tsp PC ABL
    - 1/16 tsp KL71
- Flocculate at x3
- Cut curd large (3/4") cubes and allow to rest for several minutes until it sinks to the bottom
- Stir gently for 5 minutes and rest for 5 minutes
- Repeat last step one more time. (The target here is that your curd gets firmer and shrinks a bit, yet doesn't "dry" as if skin is growing on it).
- Siphon whey to lose about 1/3rd of the overall volume of your pot, or until the liquid level is about 1 inch above the curd level
- Mould in rotation to hoops, a ladle per hoop at a time (with the whey, very wet!). If hoops are filled but curd still remains, wait 10-20 minutes for the cheese to shrink and top off with remaining curd.
- Turn as soon as the cheese is stiff enough (1-3 hours). Turn again 2 hours later, 4 hours and 8 hours later.
- Remove from moulds and dry salt at 1.8% by weight per cheese.

Age at 55°F/92% RH, turn daily. Expect bloom around day 5-9. When fully bloomed (2 weeks or so) refrigerate at 36°F-49°F. Wrap as needed. Open day 21-28

Now I know this is a small recipe, but let's get this one right first and then we will convert it to large batch production quantities. If any of this is overwhelming or not clearly understood -just ask I will explain. This is actually really easy. Really, really, I swear. You will master this before you know it.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 06:47:46 PM by iratherfly »

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2012, 10:56:57 AM »
What is the D89 added?

Shouldnt the flocc multiplier be like 5 for a cam?


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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2012, 07:21:05 PM »
Oops typo! I meant MD89, fixed it now. MD89 is just some extra diacetyls. It already exists in the Flora Danica so this is just to doubles up on it. It's a slow/weak acidifier and it doesn't change your fabrication. I add it to acidic cheeses to give them more buttery flavor and release some aromatic gases into the paste which forms some minor eyes.

There are two schools of thoughts with cam; one goes high with temp, rapid acidification, then low floc multiplier. The other goes lower temp, slow acidification and high floc multiplier.  I prefer the former of the two, though both formulas are proper. Camembert is rather acidic anyway and both formulas will get you to moulding at about 6.35pH.

Also remember that if the acidity it lower when you rennet, flocculation will take more time so for example, if you ripen milk at 86°F for 90 minutes, you may get flocculation in 12 minutes. 12 x 5 is 60 minutes total.  In the recipe I posted your acidity is lower. It may take 60 minutes to get there and you get flocculation at 20 minutes.... x 3 = still 60 minutes.

Also, in this recipe you do very wet ladling of the curd. All this whey is very acidic and it acidifies faster in the hoop. You can expect it to lose a whole pH point in the first 5 hours.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2012, 07:28:09 PM by iratherfly »

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2012, 07:57:32 PM »
6.35 for moulding...is that when to add the rennet?
I think I read somewhere that at salting you should be looking at a Ph of around 4.5.
I plan on starting my triple cream in a few more days....still have to make sure my cave is all set (the wife bought me a new fridge, so I have to get temp and humidity right before I start this project).

So far my instruction set is as follows:


1.   Make rind culture night before (puree existing rind from Reny Picot Camembert  Fermier (traditionally made))
2.   Sterilize molds, stirring spoon, knife,  2 gallon pot,  draining mats, thermometer tip and small bowl.
3.   Heat milk (1 gallon whole milk, 3.3 cups heavy cream) to 90F.  Can also use 1 gallon 2% milk and 1 qt heavy cream.  At this time I will also add 1/8-1/4 tsp Calcium Chloride.
4.   Once 90F is reached add rind culture as well as MM100 (1/2 pack)
5.   Allow milk to ripen for approx. 1.5 hours. (maintain 80-90F temp)
6.   Add rennet
7.   Use flocculation method (small bowl) to determine length of time to allow for curds to develop.
8.   Ladle curds into molds for draining.
9.   Flip the forms 4 times early on (every hour and half) for even whey drainage.  Once the cheese begins to settle, flipping should stop. They should drain 24-48 hours, the cheese shrinking to approx. 1/3 of original height.  Once there, remove from molds and apply ½ teaspoon salt to top, then flip and get bottom and sides with another ½ tsp ea. 
10.   Move to the cave.  Aging at 52F and 95% humidity.
11.   Turn cheese at first sign of mold growth, continue turning every 2 days until mold growth complete.


This is what i have so far...I plan to include Ph data as well.

Any corrections, suggestions or critique would be appreciated.   :) 

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2012, 01:35:36 AM »
6.35 is your pH at moulding, not de-moulding. Meaning, the point of ladling the curd from the vat/pot into the hoops.  4.5 may be your pH about 24 hours later, when you de-mould (take the cheese out of the hoops) and salt them.  With my formula you should be just below 5pH actually, like 4.8-4.9pH, not as acidic as 4.5. 4.5pH is goat cheese/yogurt level. It will still work but less desirable for classic Camembert in my opinion.  In any event, forget the pH and don''t base your cheese fabrication on pH meters, it's a bit like driving with a GPS and not looking out the window. Always trust your senses first.

Your recipe is quite close, but needs some adjustments:
- if you are planning on using morge from an existing cheese you can allow yourself not to inoculate it into the milk but simply make it in a sanitized spray bottle and begin spraying it about 48 hours or so after you are done salting. Stop when you see that growth is happening.  Make sure to use clean cheese that was not touched by bread crumbs or knives that were in bread - you are risking a yeast contamination.
- I would use far less cream. To turn regular Camembert which is already 45% fat (in dry matter) into a double crème, all you have to do is raise the fat by 15% so that the final cheese will be 60% fat in dry matter. For a triple creme, you need to raise it from 45% to 75%.  To give you an idea, in 1 gallon of whole milk there are about 150ml of fat.  in 3.3 cups of cream there are about 275mg of fat, so you will end up with 425ml of fat which is obviously far more than you need (you don't want too much fat! This will give you cheese with far too strong of a flavor and aging issues such as ammonia and unstoppable geo) . Just add 1 cup.
- Calcium chloride... 1/4 tsp is far too much! Keep it at 1/8th per gallon. you don't need it if you are using raw milk. What kind of milk are you using?
- MM100 - what do you mean by half pack? How big is your pack??? The smallest pack of MM100 that I know is 50DCU and that processes about 250 gallons of milk so half a package is enough for 100-125 gallons. That's x125 times what you need. 1/8th teaspoon will be enough for 1-2 gallons.
- Keep the milk at stable temperature. Don't let it drop to 80°F. Keep it at 90 throughout the entire process.
- calculate rennet and flocculation, your recipe didn't say how much and you don't want to scramble for this info when you are in front of the pot away from your information
- 1.5 hours may not be enough to turn the cheese. It may be too soft and break apart in your hands. Even if you are successful, turning too early may cause too much of it to drain too fast. You can certainly turn it at 3 hours if you wish. Then again at 5 and 8 hours and the next morning again. Don't hurray, give it time to naturally drain.
- during aging, turn it DAILY, also turn it before you see any rind blooming. This will help it drain and dry properly and distribute minerals and salts evenly. This will also prevent collection of liquid on one side of the cheese vs. another. I turn it morning and evening in the first 3-4 days. 

Have you made Camemnbert before? If no, I would suggest to do a classic Camembert before going triple crème. The creamy ones are a bit too soft to deal with and more difficult to control so it's good to practice classic Camembert first.

Are you using an aging container for this cheese in your cave?  It would be helpful

Offline bbracken677

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2012, 08:22:53 AM »
Thanks for the terrific info! 
The MM100 (1/2 pack) I got at a local brewers supply that is branching into cheese making. Each pack is good for 2 gallons (according to the packet itself). I have used it to make cream cheese and Feta so far and it seems fine.
Will change to 1/8 tsp cacl...I was a bit unsure about that.
I have never made a camembert before, but really love the triple creams (eating-wise lol) I am using store bought pasteurized milk as well as pasteurized cream for this first make just because I didnt want to sink $8 for a gallon of raw until I felt somewhat secure in my success.

Regarding the aging...I really havent got that far yet, since I am unsure what the conditions in my cave will be until I get it finished. Picked up the fridge yesterday and doing settings/temp tests today. If necessary I will be using a container for the cheese to reach correct humidity levels. Hydrometer is set to deliver next week and will be checking to see how I can influence the humidity levels in the cave before I actually start the make.

Regarding the morge(?)...my chosen cheese is still in its container/wrapper and was purchased solely for this project.....of course I will be eating what is left after I take what I need   haha


Offline Althea

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Re: Ammonia Smell on 20 day old Camembert
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2012, 07:44:48 PM »
Thank you for the help! I have a ph meter ex tech 110? maybe, ?I also know about flocculation and tried the Peter Dixon recipe last batch. I really love making these bloomy rinds and have been learning by trial and error! Tomorrow I am going to a sheep dairy to help milk and pick out some ewes. Then I'm going to look at some creamery equipment.
I cant wait to try this recipe next time thank you so much!
Jessika