How to make Camembert-style Cheese
This recipe for a generic white-rind, soft ripened cheese comes from The School of Artisan Food, where I completed a day course in basic cheesemaking skills.
The result can vary depending on a number of factors such as your room temperature, the type of milk used, and the temperature the cheese is ripened at, so it’s likely that the end cheese will vary each time you use this recipe.
It is however great for getting used to working with soft, ripened cheese and should produce a lovely creamy cheese with a white mold rind similar to a brie or Camembert. The image above is of this cheese at two weeks old – it has a mild, semi-soft texture that becomes gooey with a bitter tang toward the rind. If you prefer your cheese in the latter, leave it for one more week.
As always, ensure you have all your equipment sterilised and ready before you begin, and put aside a day to dedicate to making your cheese.
Makes 6 soft cheeses
5 litres (8.8 pints) Whole cow’s milk
Kazu culture (amount may vary depending on supplier; check packet for details)
1.5ml liquid rennet
Small pinch of Geotrichum powder
Six soft cheese moulds
Pinch of salt
One day for production; 2-3 weeks for ripening
The night before starting your cheese, add Kazu culture to the milk in a large saucepan or bucket and leave out at room temperature overnight. The culture will help produce lactic acid in the milk while the temperature will allow the flavour to ripen as bacteria grow.
The next day, ensure the milk is at room temperature, or 25-30°C, and add the liquid rennet and Geotrichum. Stir well with a spoon using an up and down motion to ensure the rennet and bacteria are evenly distributed throughout the milk. Place a lid on your bucket/ saucepan and leave for around 2 hours.
After 2 hours or so check for a good curd by noticing whether the whey has risen above the curd and if it comes away from the edge of the pan slightly when squeezed. Stick a knife into the curd horizontally and twist gently. If the curd breaks cleanly (without being mushy) then it is ready to cut. If not, leave the curd to set for a while longer.
Cut the curd into 1 inch squares using my curd cutting method and stir gently.
Sit the moulds on a wire rack placed over a baking tray to catch any whey run-off.
Using a slotted spoon, ladle the curds very gently into the moulds to avoid breaking them up any further. When the moulds are full, leave the whey to drain for 10 minutes before continuing to ladle more of the mixture into the moulds. When full, leave the curds to drain for four hours.
When most of the moisture has disappeared from the moulds and the curds have reduced by at least half, gently tip the mould upside down and tap the cheese out.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt on the side of the cheese that was previously face up and pop it back into the mould upside down. Leave the cheese overnight at room temperature over a draining rack.
The next morning, tip out the cheese again and salt the remaining side. Turn the cheese over once more and sit directly on a draining rack with the moulds on top of them to retain warmth. Leave for 12 hours at room temperature before storing away at around 15°C with 90-95% humidity. See my post on how to store your cheese for ripening and for details on how to create your own ‘cave’.
Turn the cheese every morning and wipe away any excess moisture. The cheese will eventually form a white mould rind and take around 2-3 weeks to ripen.How to make Camembert-style Cheese,