Soft, white-mould cheeses are my favourite types of cheese. The pungent odour of a ripe Camembert is heady and I want to make some of my own.
My starting point was wondering how to get the fungus into or onto my curds. I haven’t bought any of the bulk freeze-dried cultures or moulds as I’m still a little overwhelmed by the volumes required – each packet is enough for 100 litres of milk – and this seems like a lot. So after a bit a research I found that another way is to use the rind of a similar cheese as the inoculent. I ground up the rind from about a quarter of a Tunworth cheese and mixed it with a little purified water and my buttermilk mesophilic starter, then added this to the milk.
I used a recipe from the cheese forum, which was very similar to one in Ricki Carroll’s book. It seemed to go ok, but produced more curds than I expected. I only own 1 camembert style mould (a column without a base) and 1 cheddar mould (which has a base) and once I filled both of them, I still had lots of remaining curds. I didn’t want to waste them , so kept them in a stainless steel strainer all day until I could re-use the camembert mould to make a third cheese.
The other issue that arose was that both recipes suggested 5 hours of draining, with a flip of the cheeses every hour. I’m not sure this was long enough, as my cheeses kept releasing whey afterwards and didn’t hold their shape entirely. In particular, the cheese in the cheddar mould didn’t release anywhere near enough whey, so sort of collapsed (you can see it at the back in the photo above).
Anyway, that was last weekend. I’ve now got some little bits of white furry mould growing and the beginning of the odour. Hopefully the whiteness will spread across in the cheese in the next few days I can then move it to the fridge for ageing.