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  • harmo

    Hi Susan,

    Welcome! Ripening paper is something I think all cheese makers struggle with. In my case, finding sheets big enough for the 200m diameter wheels I make… so I’ve had to get creative.

    Firstly, please note that it’s not uncommon for the “velvety” coating to thicken up once the wheels are in the cheese wrap (whether that’s paper, plastic, or the foil type). However, for the utmost “winter coat” as I call it, I don’t actually wrap at all. But I’ll get to that.

    Sometimes I “roll” my patchier sides of my wheels on the thicker “velvety” of other wheels in a “cross pollination” technique. It works, but if you’re running out of time….

    Are you inoculating your milk with the white moulds? If so, consider using the spray on technique, in addition to your inoculation, just to patch the thin stuff up.

    All you need is a small (50ml for your purposes) sanitized “misting/spritzing” spray bottle, boiled/sanitized water, allow it to cool, and add (insert normal amount of culture for this make) of Penicillium Candidum to the water, shake the bottle to mix the culture, and spray it on. Spray so it’s damp, not wet.Less is best in this case.

    I keep the unused solution in the bottle for a few days in the fridge, shaking it each time before lightly spraying where needed. Sometimes in the earlier phases, I’ll spray twice a day, just to give it a “head start”.

    However, if the cheese surface dries too much, it becomes somewhat resistant to growth, it may be best to leave it and cut that bit off at the end.

    There are a few ways to age a brie…. not all of them involve wrapping.

    I think it was in Mary Karlin’s book, “Artisan Cheese Making at Home” she describes that some bries can be left unwrapped to age. Simply keep it in the same ageing container as you do for the mould development, and continue to flip it every day. The routine of opening the tupperware container while flipping allows the gas to be released, as the wrap would do (or actually better in my experience). If you are making taller wheels (the kind that are above 5cm tall, or double/triple cream bries) it’s unlikely to age to the point where the core will be entirely “goo” but instead have a mild fresher flavour in the middle, and softer creamier flavour closer to the surface. Some people like this.

    Ageing it beyond this point means you start getting into some over-aged territory, and it doesn’t necessarily add any benefits. However, your tastes may differ wildly from my own.

    That said…. if you like your soft gooey bries…

    Now I should note that the second stage of aging should be done in a regular fridge, but I have to say I’m having positive results by continuing it at 10 degrees Celsius, flipping daily unwrapped… however, the aging process is definitely shortened. This might be a good thing, or terrible, depending on your situation.

    To combat this a little…

    When I make a batch of brie, I make a few differing sizes, a couple of small 10cm wheels, they’ll be ready pretty quickly, especially if their height is only a 25-30mm high. Similarly, I used a 200mm mould with my “leftover curd” so that it ended up being only 10-12mm high… The brie “pancake” actually aged first because of the thinness. It was effectively cream cheese with a brie coat by the fourth week. We had it this Easter, and it was delicious.

    I hope this helps!

    in reply to: Camembert never matured #8243

    Hi Tina,

    To get a fluffy coat (as you say) after 3 days is very fast. Are you innoculating, or spraying your mould on? Another potential cause of a lack of centre softening could be high fat content in the milk. I had a brie that was still paste in the middle, after an extended aging process. Triple cream Bries don’t soften as you might expect.

    Without seeing what you’re doing (make log) we can only speculate.

    Good luck!

    in reply to: Adding herbs etc #8242

    Hi Liv,

    6 years on, I’d like to add my two (hopefully helpful) cents after the fact.

    I agree with Punkin, all additives must be sterilized before being added to cheese. As Punkin said, fresh herbs can be added to fresh cheeses if you expect to eat it all very quickly, and refrigerate it properly in the meantime. Aged cheeses are a different story.

    Sanitizing needs to be done in ways that considers the ingredient. Fresh leaves are problematic as they will often wilt and lose flavour. However, dried herb leaves boiled in a little bit of water won’t have this problem. Add the cooled flavoured water you sanitized the leaves in to the milk prior to the rennet, and add the sanitized leaves to the curds as they’re being put in the moulds. You’ll probably find that this should work, and impart flavour effectively. This is also how some cheese makers incorporate peppercorns into Pepato.

    That said, and extending it a bit, adding garlic does not necessarily mean fresh garlic.
    For example, you could extensively caramelize garlic/onion by pan frying it in a little oil. This should sanitize the ingredient, while actually enhancing the flavour. I’ve put caramelized garlic into a Gouda styled cheese as I’m moulding the curds, aged it for 6-10 months in a vacuum sealed bag, and it goes amazingly well on any sort of pasta, salad, hamburger, or even on bread/crackers. The sweet caramelized garlic is nothing like the pungent fresh stuff, but offsets the bite of heavily aged cheeses.

    You can always add grated (finished) cheese to fresh garlic if you want that particular combination. The risk is greatly reduced and the flavours of both ingredients are there.

    I hope this helps!

    in reply to: Soft cheese 2 ply wrap #8238

    Hi Jeffery,
    Sorry, I just signed up to this forum, and so I am sorry you haven’t had a response yet. I hope you found something to work for your cheeses. However, I haven’t been able to find the bloomy rind wraps on the Curd Nerd supplies section.

    Other words for the wrap you need are “microperferated” or just “brie wrap”.

    The one thing I find is that the size of your brie wheels will determine the size of the brie wrap. I notice a larger wheel in the middle there. I’ve found that the 420mm x 420mm sheets from Green Living Australia are a cheaper source of larger sheets. But I don’t know where you are. For more info:


    There’s a company that supplies commercial cheese makers here in Canberra, Cheese Kettle that also sell sheets in huge quantities. I’ve found talking to them has helped me to buy more hobbyist levels of supplies.

    Not all paper is two ply, but instead has both layers fused, or just has one micro-perforated layer. They all seem to work though.

    Did you get your sheets in the end?

    in reply to: Questions about humidity in a small wine fridge #8236

    There’s a lot of good information here, but not everything was answered.

    I get that putting humidifiers, dehumidifiers and a controller on the wine fridge is a good idea, but a 9 bottle fridge doesn’t have that kind of real estate to waste.

    A ripening box would work, and as you probably know, it is just a container, sometimes with a draining mat inside. I often use the round red Decor tupperware with plastic draining mat included for my smaller wheels. For larger wheels I’ll use larger Sistema tupperware containers with larger mats. It has worked pretty well for me, particularly with the mould covering stages with Brie and Camembert, where humidity is quite important.

    Whether you have enough room, I don’t know, but if you buy a container just bigger than your wheel, and manage to keep the cheese from touching the sides of the box for proper airing you should be fine.

    Some people put their cheeses on bamboo (sushi rolling) mats, just to get their cheeses off the bottom of the container… however I find that I get a bit more clearance with the plastic/metal draining mats. This gives me more time before drained fluids becomes an issue.

    Basically you want the box to keep the moisture in (high humidity) but you do NOT want the cheese to be sitting in liquid (whey).

    If you’re having a lot of trouble with humidity, I recommend putting a teaspoon of water inside a ripening box (with tray) and seal it up. I then open cheeses up daily to drain excess moisture, replace trays (when they get mouldy), vent any gases building up, and flip the cheeses over.

    Other options include waxing (which will work AFTER the cheese has been sufficiently dried first, to prevent the mould from growing under the wax). Some people vacuum seal their cheeses, once a suitable level of moisture has been attained.

    I often vacuum seal my larger paremesan/romano/pecorino wheels in salt, a tiny amount of vinegar and olive oil for up to 2 years. That has greatly reduced cracking, surface mould, and .. although you don’t get the hardened rind from repeated salt rubbings, the flavour of the olive oil adds a pleasant undertone.

    So I hope that helps, and that I’ve explained things, and more importantly, answered your questions.

    Good luck!


    I’ll second the recommendation of Cheese Kettle. They actually sold me a Hanna Instruments pH meter at a price below the Hanna Instruments Australia web site. Also, they have a good range of Brie wrapping papers at a reasonable price.

    in reply to: How accurate is this cheese map? #8233

    Hi S,

    Long time with no answer. So I thought I’d try to help.

    Whether this image is accurate is a tough question. Is it accurate enough… well that depends on what you are aiming for.

    I think as an introduction, it’s great. However, do be aware that there’s a lot of cheeses of similar types (possibly with differing names) that may be found across national borders, while different approaches of the same cheese can be very different from one side of a valley to the next. So there’s a lot of grey area in assigning a cheese to a location. A lot of places try to claim ownership of certain cheeses, but they may be contested.

    If I recall correctly, there’s a term called “terroir”, which is a french word that describes the various environmental factors that may give food from a particular area a specific flavour that’s notably different to food produced the same way in another location. This is the key to AOC (and similar) restrictions about calling certain foods by familiar names.

    For example, to be make “true” parmesan, you need to make the cheese using milk from a particular breed of cow, that eats particular pastures found in a particular location, using approved methods. Each aspect there suggests that there’s hard and fast rules about where all the cheeses come from, but the sad fact is that’s not necessarily true.

    That said, if you go to Europe, you’ll find that local cheese mongers will have both local and imported stuff, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be disappointed by the cheeses in the location. However, some local cheeses cannot be bought in the local area because the vast majority of it is exported for higher profits.

    I wouldn’t worry about the accuracy too much, but if you’d like to look into it a little further…. try the book:

    A Field Guide to Cheese, How To Select, Enjoy & Pair The World’s Best Cheeses by Tristan Sicard.

    In the back of the book is a pretty detailed atlas. It does not cover all cheeses and countries, but you’ll find it more than a match for the image you have posted here.

    I hope this helps!

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)