Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fancy Cheese...Camembert!

Soo....I started making cheese again a couple weeks ago.  
An interesting cheese I just made is Camembert.  For those that may not know, Camembert is a mould-ripened cheese.  The mould causes the inside of the cheese to become runny, and develop a flavor quite a few people enjoy.  It can be difficult to get right, since you only want one kind of mould to grow on the surface of the cheese.  This particular mould is called Penicillium Camemberti and is bright white and fuzzy.  You can buy it freeze-dried, in the form of yellowish powder...
Camembert cheeses are made in small rounds in order to let the mould do it's work all the way to the center of the cheese.
I started making this cheese by heating two gallons of whole, raw, cow's milk to 90F.
As soon as the milk reached 90F I inoculated the milk with mould powder.
I stirred it in for a minute or two; basically until I was sure the mould powder was thoroughly mixed.
After adding the mould powder, I added starter culture.  Starter culture is the bacteria cheesemakers put in the cheese to develop flavor and acid levels.
I made 'mother' culture by sterilizing milk, inoculating it with store-bought, freeze-dried bacteria, and then freezing the resulting coagulated, bacteria-laden milk.
Here are the culture cubes...
I added 4 of them...about 4 ounces of culture.
After adding the starter culture, I allowed the cheese to 'ripen' for 90 minutes.  
In that time of waiting, I prepared a place for the cheese to age.
I already had a Gouda and a Cheddar
and a sausage, down in the cheese room. 
I decided to age the Camembert in a tiny fridge in the room, in order to be better able to control the temperature and humidity.
I wiped it down with vinegar to hopefully remove any residual unwanted moulds.

After allowing the cheese to ripen the proper amount of time, I added 30 drops of rennet dissolved in 1/4 C water.
The milk rested for an hour (which was probably too long, considering that I seemed to have added a little bit too much rennet).
After that, I cut the curd into 1/2 inch cubes, stirred it for 15 minutes, let it rest for 15 minutes, then ladeled the curd into Camembert forms.
I used four cheese molds to drain the cheese....four small cheeses!
...and a funny contraption to catch the whey.
I allowed them to drain for five hours, turning them once every hour.
Then I took them out, spread Kosher salt all over the outside and let them sit 10 minutes.
Finally, they went into the basement, into the mini fridge, to grow mould and become runny...


Lori said...

They look lovely, Alex...I so admire your cheesemaking ventures!

Kelly said...

Eric and I love Camembert....just sayin'

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