Camembert is one of the more trickier cheeses to attempt to make. It is not for the faint hearted, even if you have a bit of experience under your belt.
I can honestly say that I have only gotten this cheese to taste right two times out of the four times that I have made it, so you can take this post with a grain of salt if you like.
However with that said, one of the two attempts of making this cheese that I did get right, I lucked-in and recorded this session via a video tutorial of the process, and have some photos of the aging process.
Here is the video to begin with so you understand the cheese making process. It is quite different to semi-hard cheeses and does not require a press.
- 7.6 litres (2 US gal) full cream milk
- ¼ teaspoon Calcium Chloride (if using homogenised milk), dissolved in ¼ cup (60 ml) cool unchlorinated water
- ¼ teaspoon mesophilic direct set starter culture
- 1/8th teaspoon Penicillium candidum
- ¼ teaspoon (2 ml) liquid rennet dissolved in ¼ cup (60 ml) cool unchlorinated water
- Cheese salt
- Cheese hoops
- 4 sushi mats
- Stainless steel ladle
- 8 litre stainless steel pot
- Small saucepan to use as a double boiler (as per video)
- Cafe Thermometer
- Curd knife
- Stirring spoon
- Cheese paper/wrap
|Camembert aging in ripening box.|
|Camembert in ripening box (top view)|
Drain any water that collects at the bottom of the container, making sure that the cheese does not come in contact with it. The water will inhibit mould growth, which at this stage is a bad thing.
Your cheese should look something like this before you wrap it in cheese film. A consistent white mould all over the cheese. There should be no black mould. If there is, just pick it off with a sterile knife. Don’t wipe with brine or vinegar as this will destroy the white mould layer. Then make sure you use the cheese wrap. It helps to slow the mould so that it doesn’t ripen too quickly. I made it once without the cheese paper, and the Camembert was far too ripe for my tastes.
If aging in a normal kitchen refrigerator, the cheese will take a little longer to form mould and age. Make sure that you check it regularly until you get an even mould all over the surface. Then use cheese wrap as mentioned above. It may take until week 4 to fully mature, but still check at the 3 week mark.
Also, if this cheese is matured above 7°C, the flavour will be overpowering and stink to high heaven! Make sure you keep it below the this temperature.
Hopefully, I have given you enough information to successfully make Camembert. This cheese is worth the perseverance if you do not get it right the first try. The taste is amazing once you master the skill of making Camembert.