I have to say that I think Camembert is one of my favourite cheeses to make.
I thoroughly enjoy the ‘nurturing’ process that is required in the first few weeks of a Camembert make and I love playing with and testing the ripening process to see if I can capture that perfect point where the cheese has matured to soft and creamy, but not too runny and over ripe.
There is only really one way to know when a Camembert has hit it’s point. I test my Camembert by cutting into it at differing times along the aging process so I can check where they are at in their maturation process.
This lovely little guy was cut into 3 weeks from the make day and you can see in the picture that the paste is starting to look nice and creamy on the outer edge but is still firm and a little dry looking in the centre.
Camembert is normally at it’s best at four to five weeks old and ripens from the outside in towards the middle. As the final weeks of aging pass, the un-ripened layer through the middle should eventually soften too and leave you with a nice creamy cheese.
Testing If Your Camembert Is Ripe
To make sure this happens it is really important to keep your temperatures under control during the aging process so that you don’t rush the ripening, ending up with a very runny outer and a centre that’s still too firm.
Think of it like cooking a tasty cut of meat at too high a temperature in the oven. You will burn the surface and then cut into it to find the middle is still raw.
It is pretty difficult, without cutting your Camembert open, to know what point it is at but generally your cheese should be soft to press in the middle and have a little ‘bounce back’.
If it feels very soft and doesn’t spring back, but pushes in, you may have an over ripe and runny cheese.
When you come to test (or eat) your Camembert, make sure you take it out of the fridge and unwrap it a good 20 minutes beforehand. This gives the cheese a chance to warm to room temperature and relax a little and it will improve in taste and texture.
You will get a better idea of where your cheese it at in it’s maturation process this way. Cutting and assessing a cold cheese, straight from the fridge is misleading.
All of this talk about the aging and maturation of Camembert might make this cheese seem a little complex to make, but the results when you take the time are so worth it and once you get used to recognising the different stages of ripening, you will feel more confident about the process of aging this delicious cheese to your version of perfection.
Camembert Related Articles
- Camembert Cheese Recipe
- Camembert – The Ripening Process
- Why Your Camembert Isn’t Growing White Mold
- Slip Skin – Camembert Rind Nemesis
- Homemade Camembert Adventures In Home Cheese Making
And if you have any tips or tricks for getting this cheese ‘just right’, let me and the readers know and we all might just learn something new. Join the discussion over at the Curd Nerd Forum. We would love to hear from you!