Easy Homemade Camembert
After much experimenting, this is as close as we can get in a home kitchen to an authentic French Camembert in size, texture, aroma and flavor. Our recipe makes two cheeses, one to keep and one to give to a friend! It looks a little involved on first inspection, but after you have made it a couple of times it is quite straightforward and reliably turns out excellent cheeses.
Sterilize all equipment with boiling water and place it on a sterilized plate next to the stove.
In a non-reactive saucepan, gently heat the milk to 89°F, 32°C. This should take 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and put the lid on the pan.
Add the culture and mold from the starter sachet to the milk and stir gently until well mixed.
Put the lid on the pan and incubate for 60 minutes. Make sure the pan is in a warm place, free from drafts.
Check the milk temperature and reheat if it has dropped below 89°F, 32°C. Dissolve the rennet in the water. Pour into the pan over the back of a ladle and stir gently from top to bottom for a count of 10, stilling the milk with the ladle when you finish.
Put the lid on the pan and leave to set for 60 minutes.
Put the tip of a knife into the curd and pull it to one side to test that the curd has set. Look for a clean break. If the curd is still soft, leave it to set for another 30 minutes.
When the curd has set, cut it into 1 inch (2.5cm) cubes, making a checker pattern across the pot vertically. Let the curds rest for 5 minutes.
Put two Camembert hoops on flipping boards in a sterilized draining tray.
Gently ladle the curds into the hoops, 3 ladles at a time, over the course of the next 3 hours, leaving at least 30 minutes between each fill so the curds have time to drain and compact.
Drain the hooped cheeses for 36 hours (1 1/2 days) at 68°- 70°F, 20°-21°C. A warm room is important to keep the culture working during draining. Cover each hoop with another flipping board during draining.
Flip the cheeses in the hoops at least 4 times during draining. Wait 4 hours before the first flip to allow the curds to drain and knit together. Twist the hoops gently before flipping to loosen any curds that have stuck to the sides. Flipping drains the cheese properly.
After 36 hours (1 1/2 days) remove the cheeses from the hoops and weigh them. Measure 2.5% of the weight of the cheese in salt and rub it in with clean hands (see page 21 for how to apply salt).
Sit the salted cheeses on a clean draining mat in a tray and dry for 24 hours at 58°-65°F, 15°-18°C, turning and changing the draining mat once during drying. Keep the humidity around 80% during draining by placing a lid loosely over the cheeses to allow a slight air-flow.
After drying, put the cheeses into a food storage box on a clean mat at 52°56°F, 11°-13°C,, for a week to ten days.
The box keeps humidity high and protects the cheeses from unwanted bacteria. The cheeses need fresh air, so open the box each day, wash the mat, wipe out any moisture with a paper towel and turn the cheeses over. This will ensure even rind growth and ripening.
When the mold is well developed all over the cheese and it feels slightly soft around the edges, wrap the cheeses in cheese paper and move them to the refrigerator in the cheese box to ripen.
Ripen your cheeses in the kitchen refrigerator for a further 1-3 weeks in the food storage box. Open once a day to turn the cheeses, give them soime fresh air, wash the mat and wipe out any moisture.
To serve, remove the cheese from the refrigerator at least an hour or two prior to serving.
For more information and other Camembert recipes, please check out our book: How to Make Camembert & Brie.
Calories 114, Protein 8 grams, Carbs 0.2 grams, Fat 9 grams, Fiber 0 grams, Sugar 0 grams