I might have been a bit too optimistic last post. Turns out there are a few beginner traps in camembert making that I’ve managed to find. My cheese isn’t a complete disaster (yet) but there are a two things I will definetly do next time:
Let whey drain fully – my cheese was very moist when I put it in the the box to let the mould grow and continued to release quite a lot of whey. This meant the cheese collapsed and was very wet. When I finally turned it over, the base of the cheese was quite runny, which is often due to the cheese being too moist to start with. Next time, I’m going to drain it longer and try making sure the outside is drier before packing it away for mould growth.
Turn cheese daily – when I put the cheese into its box I wrote a note that said ‘turn daily’ . I didn’t. Somehow, despite checking mould growth every day, I managed to ignore this sign. So after admiring all my lovely mould on top, when I finally went to flip it over to let mould grow on the bottom it stuck to the matting – probably partly because the matting holes were too big so it got attached but primarily because it had been just sitting there for 4 days without moving. So whilst I got lots of nice white mould growth on the top and sides, when I turned it over the rind was quite thick and slipping away from the cheese – an ugly problem called ‘skin slip’, which can be due to too much mould growth, as well as linked to the wrong humidity or extra growth of certain mould strains.
On the upside, I don’t have the ammonia smell that many people get when camembert goes wrong, so all might not be lost. I’ve wrapped the three cheeses in waxed paper and put them in the bottom draw of our fridge for aging. We’ll just see what happens in a week or a few.