|Ingredients for for 1 kg, yielding 4 cheeses:|
6-8 litres milk
The difference between Brie and Camembert is the shape of the cheese as that influences the maturation process. Traditionally Brie is made in round moulds with a large diameter, hence the cheese will be smaller. Camembert is traditionally made in moulds with a smaller diameter, hence producing a cheese that is taller than Brie. If you make curd from 6 litres milk and use 4 medium moulds the result is a thin cheese - a brie! If you use the same moulds for curd from 8 litres of Milk, the cheese will be higher - a Camembert.
3 pinches of freeze dried mix starter culture - or use ½ dl. soured milk mixed with ½ dl. plain yogurt
Starter culture - Mix, is a starter culture that contains a mix of two categories of lactic acid bacteria; Mesophillic, normally used for making soured cream - and Thermophillic, used for making yogurt. You can make your own starter culture by mixing a bit of soured milk with a bit of yogurt. This provides a similar mix of bacteria as the mix starter culture.
Hjemmeriets freeze dried Mix starter culture has a unique blend of Mesophillic and Thermophillic culture, designed to provide optimal fermentation for molded cheeses. However, making your own starter culture could provide you with unique and nice result.
1 pinch of freeze dried white mould starter culture
There are numerous white mould cheeses on the market but if you have a favourite, take a small piece of the white mouldy crust. This enables you to duplicate this particular blend of white moulds to your own cheese. Only use it if the crust looks allright!
You use the same cultures for Brie and Camembert. The only difference is the hight as explained above. Their height of the cheeses determines how long they need to mature for and this is what cause them to differ in taste and texture in the end.
2 ml. rennet
300 g. salt dissolved in 2-2½ litres of boiled water (for brine salting)
- or 4 tsp fine salt (for dry salting)Optional:
Grapeseed oilRequired tools:
Large pot with lidHelpfull tools (non-essential):
Cheese mats (fine and coarse)
Cheese wrapping paper
Thermometer clip holder
Cooler or thermobox
We recommend you leave the milk un-opened on the kitchen counter for approximately 10 hours prior to beginning the process. This allows the milk to slowly gain room temperature.
NOTE: Our recipe provides several methods for applying mould culture, correcting acidity, salting and maturation. Each method will provide you with nice results, one method is not superior to the other. However, before you begin, read carefully through the entire recipe and decide on which method you wish to follow. If you are a beginner, we recommend you choose the easiest methods and these are; mould grafting the milk, brine salting and to mature the cheese in a cooler or thermobox.
Everything begins with hygiene
Hygiene is crucial when making cheese: Take a pot, fill it with water, cover with lid and bring it to boil. Once boiling, now scold each of your tools suitet for scolding. Carefully pour boiling water over; cheese trays, moulds, mats, colander, etc. in order to sterilize them. Use a dish brush for scrubbing where possible.Steps:
- Pour the milk into a large pot and slowly heat to 32°C.
- In a small glass of cold water, blend together starter culture and white mould culture, add that blend to the pot and stir for ½ minute. (Alternatively white mould culture can be applied to the cheese crust with a brush or a spray bottle later on in the process)
- Cover with a lid and wrap a towel around the pot to keep it warm. Let it rest for 60 minutes.
- Mix rennet in a small glas of cold water, add it to the pot and stir carefully for ½ minute. Let the milk rest for 30 minutes now.
- The milk should now have coagulated – this is curd!
- Cut the curd in 2 cm cubes using a long knife or cheese cutter that reaches to the bottom of the pot.
Cube size influences cheese acidity. When cutting 2 cm cubes rather than 3 cm cubes as we do when making feta cheese, drainage happens faster and cause less build up of lactic acid in the curd. Hence, less acidic.
- Stir the cubes with a long skimmer to seperate them from one another.
- Stir the curd every 15 minutes for 1 hour.
For a firmer cheese, scoop out a portion of whey 20 minutes after cutting the curd and replace it with the same amount of luke warm water (55°C). For instance, aim to take out 15-20% of the total milk portion you based your recipe on. Meaning, if you began with 8 litres of milk, you should take out 1-1½ litres of whey and return 1-1½ litres of water to the pot. Experiment with this step for every batch of cheese you make to find the right balance for you. As whey is replaced with water, fermentation slows and that slows maturation giving a more firm cheese when finally matured.
- Place the moulds in a cheese tray lined with fine cheese mat at the bottom - fill the moulds with curd.
- Cover the moulds with a piece of fine cheese mat and cover that with a cheese tray, facing upside down. Hold the trays firmly together, as you tilt them to let excess whey escape. Turn them over on flip side.
- Keep repeating this step frequently until less and less whey runs off. Keep the whey for baking or making a delicious Ricotta.
- After 24 hours of draining, remove the curd from the moulds.
Make sure pH is below 5, preferably pH 4.5.
- Now it is time for brine salting. If you have chosen to do dry salting, simply skip this step. Dry salting is done later in the process. Preparing brine for brie and camembert is the exact same as for feta; Dissolve 300g salt in 2-2½ litres of boiling water. Remember to make it prior to when you actually need it as it needs to cool down to 20°C. Soak the cheeses in brine for 2-4 hours. Use a plate to weigh them down under the surface.
It is important that the brine and cheese have the same pH. You can regulate brine pH by adding whey in the brine until pH is identical. Also, add 1 ml. of calcium chloride to the brine. Increasing calcium content in the brine, will prevent calcium in the cheese from leaking out into the brine when you salt the cheese. If do not match brine pH and calcium content with the cheese, there is a good chance that up to 5-8 mm of the crust will be deprived of calcium and acids. This will cause a soggy crust in the early stages of maturation.
- Place the cheeses on a coarse cheese mat in the bottom of a cheese tray.
Place another piece of coarse cheese mat on top of the cheeses and finish off with a cheese tray, facing upside down.
We recommend only using coarse cheese mats at this point due to the white moulds growing on the crust during maturation. The moulds tend to grow in to the finer cheese mats and make it difficult to seperate the mats from the cheese without destroying the crust. This is much less likely to happen if you use coarse mats.
- Move the trays to a cooler place - no more than 8 - 12°C, that provides high humidity. You can easily provide such conditions in a cooler or a thermobox using cooling elements to regulate the temperature. The cheese trays serve to encapsule humidity around the cheeses. Use the cooling elements to keep the temperature steady between 8 and 12°C - this is the ideal temperture for mould growth. It takes about 7 - 12 days before the mould begins to develop. Replace the cooling elements daily and check the temperature.
- Turn the cheese trays over on the flip side once a day. Make sure that the mats do not stick to the cheeses, and make sure to ventilate fresh air around the cheeses.
- When mould has developed (in 1-2 weeks) it is time for dry salting - ONLY if you did not do brine saltning earlier in the process! You do dry salting simply by sprinkling the cheeses with fine salt!
- Wrap the cheese up in cheese paper and refrigerate for 1-3 weeks while they mature.
Optional: 1-2 weeks into the maturation process in the refrigerator, you may soak the cheese in grapeseed oil (or place them in a vacuum sealed bag). This will slow down maturation and make a milder cheese.