Why Your Camembert Isn’t Growing White Mold

By on 17/12/2012

camembert rind

With cheese making, there are a couple of real ‘buzz moments’ for me.

The first is when I get a really good, firm curd and get a strange satisfaction from cutting it in clean, neat lines. The other is when I make Camembert and see that gorgeous fluffy white mold growing over the cheese. There’s nothing better than watching that white blanket start to cover over each round, signally the beginnings of another successful Camembert batch.

Because these little milestones feel so good to achieve, it’s really disappointing when they don’t happen.

Anyone who has tried making Camembert will likely experience the disappointment of poor (or no) mold growth at least once.

And without that thick marsh-mellowy mold, you unfortunately don’t really have Camembert.

So what might be stopping the white mold from growing on your Camembert?

There are few reasons and hopefully if you address one, or all of them, you’ll be on your way to a good covering of white fuzz with your next Camembert make.

No White Mold?

The white mold on cheeses like Camembert and Brie should start to grow in 3-4 days of being put into your aging area (fridge or other aging area).

If this doesn’t happen you need to check the following:

Temperature – If it’s too cold in your aging area the white mold won’t grow so check that your Camembert is sitting at around 12 degrees Celsius/54 degrees Fahrenheit

Salt – The application of salt either through rubbing, sprinkling or brining is important for the growth of your white mold as it inhibits the growth of unwanted molds, and leaves room for the desirable molds to develop. Make sure you cover all surfaces liberally with cheese salt.

Moisture – White mold will not grow well in conditions that are too moist so be sure to mop up any extra moisture that has drained underneath the cheeses.

Application – You can either add the Penicillium Candidum to your milk during the make, or spray it on to your cheese once you have formed your rounds. If one way does not appear to be working well for you, try the other way and make sure you are applying the correct amounts.

Competition – As mentioned, if unwanted molds are allowed to develop, they are usually aggressive enough to outgrow the molds you do want to grow, so keep any undesirables under control while your white mold develops.

Remember to also turn your cheeses daily, while your white mold grows, so that it has a chance to sprout and develop on all sides of the cheese. When you turn your cheese, pat down the fluffy white mold so that it forms an even, consistent rind and creates that gorgeous traditional Camembert look.

Regularly turning your cheeses will also avoid the mold growing into your draining mats and then tearing away from the cheese when you try to turn them.

So, if you’ve been having trouble with your white molds, try some of these solutions and let me know in the comments below how you go. Or, if you know of another reason why white molds might be inhibited, also let us know in the comments below and spread your Curd Nerd knowledge : )

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6 Comments

  1. Liz

    29/12/2012 at 3:59 pm

    Hi, my camembert has been ripening for more than 14 days and it still is not covered with mold on the one side. The rest of it is well covered. Do I just wait a while longer?

    • curdnerd

      09/02/2013 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Liz

      Did you cover all sides liberally with salt? And have you turned the cheese? Also, did you add the Pencillium to the milk, or spray it on afterwards?

      The mold should normally grow at about the same rate all over, not on one side then the next and so on.

  2. kate

    25/06/2013 at 2:43 pm

    hi curdnerd,

    We will endeavour to do all those things you mentioned because we did not get our white mould either. We have always been successful in the past. I have a question about storage though, as this seems to be the problem. All our dark, cold areas change in temp/humidity so we cant really rely on them, can we? we also feel that a wine fridge has no air circulation. Is there an alternative option?
    cheers
    kate

    • Curd-Nerd

      17/07/2013 at 7:09 pm

      Hi Kate

      Because you have had success in the past, my first thought is to ask what has changed?

      Variable temperature and humidity will definitely cause problems, so if they are fluctuating you need to be able to stabilise them or no, you can’t really rely on them. In terms of the air circulation with the wine fridge, I leave the door open for a period each day to allow ‘new air’ to be introduced. Others using fridges will get their cheeses out for a time each day to allow them to air and breathe. The alternatives that allow more air flow come down to having a dedicated cheese room, cave or other storage space that provides constant air flow.

  3. Kate

    07/07/2013 at 9:54 pm

    Hi,
    This isn’t a question about mould, there’s been plenty growing on my Camembert. However I am having a problem with ripening. I have a fridge that I have a thermostat attach and I have it set at a range of 10-15 celcius. I’m finding after a couple of weeks of ripening the cheese closest to the rind becomes liquid and the middle is still unripe. It also has a bit of a sour flavour. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thank you for your time.

    • Curd-Nerd

      17/07/2013 at 4:22 pm

      Hi Kate

      It sounds like your Camembert is ripening too quickly. Camembert ripens from the outside in, so if it starts to ripen faster than it should, the outer edges will go soft and gooey, but you will still have a firm centre. Are you confident of the temperatures in your aging environment? I age my Camembert at 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) but you could reduce to 10 degree Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) to slow things down. In regards to the sour flavour, I am wondering about your rennet amounts. Too much rennet can create a sour/bitter flavour. It may be worth tweaking your rennet amounts back to see if this helps. Hopefully this helps. Good luck : )

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