I can’t exactly say that my Camembert cheese making efforts were an astounding success. It looks okay in the picture, but wait until you read the rest of the story!
I did everything as per the recipe, including all the tips I remembered from the mould cheese making course I attended, but things just didn’t go my my way.
The white mould formed well on all four rounds that I made in the first batch. We cracked open one straight from the cheese cave at about the three week mark. Althought it was very runny around the inside rim, the centre was nice a firm and the nose was sweet and mild. This is what happened when I cut into it.
The next day we tried it again, this time being quite firm. The rind had a mild, flavoursome taste, and the centre was firm and delicious. So the 3 week old Camembert was a success, but a big note to self; refrigerate first to harden the cheese!
That left 3 more rounds in the cheese fridge. We decided to leave them for another week as the recipe stated that Camembert ripens from 4-6 weeks. So after a week, I put one in the fridge to cool down to 4°C on the Friday morning in preparation for a cheese tasting that evening. What a difference a week made. All of the centre was runny even when chilled, and the white rind was pungent and extremely strong in flavour. Kim was not a fan at all, and I could only handle the runny centre. The rind just left a lingering bitey taste in my mouth for what seemed like ages! Not very pleasant at all. Mind you, Butch and Holly thought that all their Christmas’s had come at once, because even though we didn’t like it, they wolfed it down and cleaned up the plate as well.
I was unsure of what to do with the other two rounds so I left them in the cheese cave for a few more days until I made a decision. Big mistake, because the cheese had made the decision for me! I opened the cheese cave on Wednesday to turn over a few wheels of cheese and oh my goodness, what a smell. It was like the Camembert had grown legs and wanted to escape. The stench of the over ripe Camembert flew through the entire house like a screeming banshee on speed. We had to open every door and window just to get rid of the odur. I then had the sorriful task of taking the remaining rounds of Camembert out to the wheelie bin just to get the offensive odur away from everyone. Even the dogs didn’t follow me this time!
Next, I had to remove all the other wheels of cheese from the cave and proceeded to desanitise every surface, tray and rack with lashings of white vinegar to kill any mould build up. I used a spray bottle filled with the vinegar and a clean sponge to complete the task. Once clean, and very vinegary, I put all the cheese back into the the cave, placed them on clean sushi mats just incase they were harbouring any mould and then lit about 5 incence sticks to get rid of the vinegar and cheese smell that had replaced the cheese odour!
So the lesson in this story is to eat your Camembert young, and only use half of the milk that the Camembert recipe states and adjust all the other ingredients accordingly. Next time I will be removing the Camembert rounds from the ripening box at the 3 week make, wrapping in cheese wrap, and placing them in the normal fridge at 4°C to stop the ripening process. Hopefully that will solve the problem and produce some very edable cheese.
Well, you win some, you loose some. Not dissappointed, just more determined to succeed!