Very Strong Tasting Camembert

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  • #4494 Reply
    The Kooky Kiwi

    Hello Everyone

    I recently made my first attempt at making camembert cheeses. As a little background info, I used fresh jersey cow milk which, at the moment, is particularly creamy.

    When I started my preparations the milk was extremely fresh; less than an hour after milking and still warm from the cows. I only needed to raise the temperature 2 degrees to recipe temperature. I followed my recipe religiously and all utensils and surfaces were cleaned sufficiently before I started.

    My cheeses molded up well, and I had good white mold growth within the normal time frames but I did note a couple of other things that I’d like to refine before the next batch. Please feel free to add your expert opinions and suggestions for the following:

    I observed that my cheeses took a looooong time to drain whey (compared to the recipe comments and other comments I’ve read on the internet). Research has me now believing this is likely due to the high cream content of my milk but could also be affected by the way the curd is cut and handled? I’d be keen to hear if there are any ways to improve the drainage and drying of my cams for the next round.

    Also, my cams had a stroooong flavour. It wasn’t the ammonia flavour associated with over ripeness – more like a blue cheese type strong flavour, which I didn’t find that appealing for a camembert. I will mention that my cheeses were 20 days old when I tried them and they were ripe. Out of curiosity I left them in the fridge an additional five days to see the result – and a taste test indicated that they had the same strong flavour, but I could then also taste the buttery flavour I was hoping to taste earlir, and also the start of the over ripe ammonia smell. Does anyone have any hints or tips as to what caused the strong flavour and how I can reduce that in the next batch.

    Thanks in advance for the help 🙂

    #4582 Reply
    Tom Moran

    Kooky, I made raw milk cheese’s from single source dairy farmers for a few years and I made cheese from warm milk as you have. While I am no expert I found that my milk source dictated the cheese rather than the opposite. You may have a particular type of protein and butter fat mox that is perfect for a Gouda or a Monterey Jack but not for a Camembert. Also, food mix of the cows, where they are in lactation, and a host of other things can create off taste’s. I am not ruling out some contamination during the process but it sounds like you were on top of that. My experience is that it is all about the milk and choosing the right cheese for that milk. Keep trying and good luck.

    #4604 Reply
    The Kooky Kiwi

    Thanks Tom for the reply and comments. They are gratefully received I assure you.

    I completely understand your comments regarding the cows diet and lactation period. We have two cows milking at the moment – it is currently our off season. One is near the end of her lactation (not yet dried off) and the other is at the beginning (she calved early). So the milk is a mixture of both and in general is veeery creamy and high in milk solids. They are both grass fed with a supplement of grass silage so nothing too unusual there.

    As a point of comparison I plan to make the exact same recipe in a few weeks time (when the herd comes into milk) to see what occurs then. In the meantime I have made a rather successful batch of Feta (which has received the nod of approval from several friends who I have recruited to be my taste testers hehe) and this past weekend made a Havarti which is now maturing. The plan for next weekend is to try a Jarlsberg and, if I get time, a cheddar perhaps. In line with your own comments, I’m trying different cheeses to see what works best with my milk and methods.

    So I guess all we can do now is to make the cheeses and see how they turn out!

    #4605 Reply
    Tom Moran

    The type of grass that is maturing in your area can make a huge difference and when you mentioned grass silage it also raised a flag. While these are not bad things in the real world it can produce off taste in cheese.

    #4612 Reply
    Ray Johnson

    Could just be the fat content of you milk. You could try letting the milk sit for a while and skim it before making the same recepie. Would make for a softer paste if you skim too much off but with jersey milk and hand skimming you would have to work failry hard to get down that far

    #4616 Reply
    The Kooky Kiwi

    Hello Ray – Welcome to the conversation!

    I had considered taking some cream off yes, and that is an option I may yet try. I have also wondered if I should try one of the double cream brie recipes (instead of the cam recipe) as those are intended to have loads of cream and might suit my milk better.

    I will note that the English Coulimmers and Feta recipes I made recently all came out tasting lovely – so not all my cheesy exploits have had flavour issues.

    I am actually quite content that my first cam batch came out as it did. I’m satisfied that they formed well, they grew their outer mould well, and they were edible – so not a failure. But I am now also learning a LOT as I dissect my milk supply and processes and discuss how they can affect the end results – which can only be a good thing!

    #4617 Reply
    The Kooky Kiwi

    Hello Again Tom 🙂

    I agree with your comments and it is something I’ve considered. Our pasture does not really change much throughout the year but we do feed a little bit of supplement at different times (hay, grass silage, maize, PKE) so I am expecting to have some variations.

    As another person commented, I will need to pick the recipes that suit my milk, so I am embarking on a bit of a period of trial and error until I develop some favourites 🙂

    I will compile a group of recipes which I will try (without changing the recipes) at different stages through the year to see how the cheeses change and to then form a list of beneficial times for each cheese to be made.

    I have informed my friends and family that they will be required to help me eat all this cheese and offer honest taste opinions hehe.

    #8145 Reply

    Some good information in here Kooky Kiwi I just milked a Jersey girl that’s been in for 3 weeks, bought the milk straight home and got started with my first camembert. Just waiting for my rennet to set. I am using the New England recipe. But as per being in the middle of calving – I now need to run out and feed the calves. If I leave the curd developing in the whey longer than recommended, will that impact on the flavour? Well I am about to find out.

    #8146 Reply
    The Kooky Kiwi

    Hi Team!

    It’s been a while since I started this thread so I have some updates to share. I made 3 batches of the original camembert recipe, at different stages of our milk production year, and I pretty much got the same results. LoAdS of flavor, too strong for my tastes, and too little time between ripening and overripening. So.. I tried the Stabilised Paste Camembert recipe that Gavin posted on Youtube and I have had success! I’ve made a couple of tweaks to his, I use about 25% less cultures (to cater for fresh milk), use 8 hoops for 12 litres which gives you a slightly larger cam, and I do a little less processing at curd stage, more like the processing of the original cam recipe. I now get gorgeous cams, great mould coverage with no slipping, and the flavor is to die for. There is more flavor than a store bought cheese but not too overpowering, and you get that lovely buttery aftertaste. And they last quite a while in the fridge so you can take your time eating them.

    Vicki, I have found that with my raw jersey milk the best cheeses I make are the Camemberts and Jarslberg, followed closely by Havarti and Halloumi. Happy Cheese Making!!

    #8147 Reply
    The Kooky Kiwi


    Yess.. I know the deal.. we are calving too at the moment so yes can be tricky working around farm schedules. Happy to share my learnings re: cheese making with raw jersey milk – if that interests you please feel free to pop me a line on [email protected].


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