How much cream can I add to my milk in cheesemaking, please?

Started by michoutim, July 30, 2023, 01:40:45 AM

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Hello everyone!
What would the maximum % of cream you can add to milk for say Triple Crème Camembert cheese, considering I always buy the best quality full cream milk for my cheese making) please?
I have now successfully mastered a beautiful gorgeous triple crème which is gorgeous after 6 weeks and even more so after 8 weeks. After 2 years of research!
What I try to do in fact is to reproduce a Boursault, a cheese to die from! Getting close but not there yet!
Love to you all! Michèle


There are 2 practical limits that I know about.  First, the more cream, the more difficult it is to get rennet to set the curd.  This is much less important in a semi-lactic triple creme.  I'm not sure what you mean by "Triple creme Camembert" because Camembert is a specific style of cheese that does not have added cream.  It has normal amount of rennet (say ~40 IMCU per liter), cut and drained.  Triple creme style cheeses are sometimes (often?) semi-lactic or full lactic (at most about 10 IMCU per liter of rennet and sometimes no rennet).  I assume by "Camembert" you simply mean that it has penicillium candidum growing on the outside?  If you make a triple creme using a Camembert style make, the curt won't set well and it will likely lose most of the fat when it's draining.  For a semi-lactic/lactic (small amount or no rennet and waiting 8-12 hours before draining), you can go pretty high.  I've heard 80% fat by dry weight is achievable.  However, the more you add, the harder it is to drain, so it might take you a week or even more for it to drain to the right consistency.  Boursault is apparently 75% fat by dry weight, so you should have no trouble reaching that.  In terms of a recipe...

My last (actually not quite) triple creme using something similar to a Camembert style make was 2 liters of 3.8% fat and 3.8% protein and 200 ml of 47% cream.  My bad math tells me that's just under 70% fat by dry weight (2000 x 0.038 + 200 x 0.47 = 170 grams of fat, 2000 x 0.38 = 76 grams of protein, 76 + 170 + ? (ash content) = > 246 grams total solids, 170 / 246 = < 69% fat by dry weight  -- technically triple creme is > 70% fat by dry weight).  To get this to set reasonably I needed 20% extra rennet and even then I got a 22 minute flocculation time.

So, for my milk, to get up to 75% fat by dry weight I need at least 330 ml of 47% cream.  At that point I would not use a Camembert style make.  I haven't tried it, but I don't think it will set well at all.  I would go with a semi-lactic (probably about 15 IMCU per liter -- 1.5 drops of single strength rennet per liter of milk) and a 8-12 hour set time, followed by a 12 hour drain, flip 12 hour drain, flip then flip every 6 hours or so until it can stand freely (probably several days later).  I've never done it with this much cream before, though...  So this is just my being theoretical.

Some triple cream producers add extra protein to the mix (using a kind of Frankenstein milk).  You can do that by adding skim milk powder (must be freeze dried milk powder, not heat dried!).  I've done this before and it works surprisingly well.  However, you have to do the math to figure out the ratios to hit 47% cream.  The idea of using dried milk powder is that you get the extra protein without the water.  This makes it set more easily and it will drain *much* more easily.  So if you get stuck, this is a possibility.  Normally, with my bad math I just assume skim milk powder is 100% casein, but this is completely false :-)  Probably only about 80% of it is...

Hope that helps you and doesn't scare you with the crazy math.


QuoteFirst, the more cream, the more difficult it is to get rennet to set the curd. 

This likely explains my last failure.
Wanted to make a pepper jack cheese with ghost pepper flakes from my garden.

Bought a hodgepodge of different cream line milks from producers in Ohio:  Indian creek creamery, Snowville, and Hartzler Dairy.  total of 4 half gallon containers.  What I failed to recognize was the Hartzler milk was labeled on the cap (glass bottle) as half and half (the bottles all look the same - just the caps were different labels and the price obscured most of the labels).  So i basically had a 1.5 gallons of whole milk and 1/2 gallon of half and half and tried to make cheese.

Welp.  Used a MA4001 mother culture which acidified fairly well by my pH probe.  floc time was 32 min (first clue something was awry!).  96 min later I cut the curd and proceeded with the recipe (heating and then a cold water washing).  Initially I thought it looked like shattered curds, which was really weird given i've used all these milks before with excellent success.  After the cold water washing, i could tell that I was in trouble. 

When I drained them, the curds just didn't look right - looked like cottage cheese.  Salted and added my pepper flakes and molded - it just kept weeping whey.  (and as Mikekchar has said before - pressing is to get a knit not to push the whey out).  after about 30 hours of just letting it drain - with about 0.4 psi - i unmolded it and it quickly started to slump and eventually just fell apart.    It tasted like a higher fat cottage cheese with ghost pepper flakes... which was good but not the intended end product.

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