Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How I got my Camembert groove back

It's been a while since I had any decent home made cheese. My last two batches of Camembert were uninspired to bad. In both cases I was fighting an outbreak of poile de chat, a black surface mold nicknamed "cat's hair." My last batch was a complete failure- I only got the barest of growth of the desirable white Penicillium mold. The rest of the cheese spoiled and I had to throw it out (painful!). Then there was a problem with my milk supply, and I feared that I might have to return to using Pasteurized store-bought milk. Yuk!

What to do? When I discovered that my milk supply was going to return, I immediately ditched all of my mold cultures (which were about a year and a half old) and purchased fresh ones. What a difference it made! I made four rounds of Camembert with beautiful snow-white rinds and the rich creamy yellow interiors that the raw Guernsey milk provides. I've got my groove back!



At 22:16, Blogger Steve Borichevsky said...

It looks great! I'm glad you had success with the raw milk. My wife is on a raw milk kick right now. She's experimenting making whey for lactofermentation.

At 22:49, Blogger jeannette said...

I'm impressed - I know nothing about making cheese (even though I come from a cheese making country (Holland) - so I only know about eating it! Gouda, Edam, Brie, Camembert, and Gruyere are my favorites.

At 23:44, Blogger wcs said...

Yay! Those cheeses look fantastic. Good go!

At 02:41, Blogger Adam Ussishkin said...

Doug, how beautiful! It looks amazing - congrats!

At 02:47, Blogger Ur-spo said...

well done !

At 22:11, Blogger Birdernaturalist said...

Wow, Doug – that's awesome. How long does it take from start to finish?

At 11:12, Blogger rodger said...

Nice cheese buddy but why not a photo of the "cat's hair"? Molds can be beautiful!

At 18:51, Blogger Floridacracker said...

Wow. That looks like a deli round. Good job.

At 05:41, Blogger Lemuel said...

That looks very professional - and delicious.

At 08:40, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Steve- Very cool. I was not aware that whey was sometimes used in this process. We will have to keep that in mind as we are considering experimenting with making our own sauerkraut this summer.

Hi Jeanette- Welcome to the Tapestry. Thanks for stopping by.

Walt- Thanks. I'm still jealous of all the wonderful French cheeses that you can get locally.

Adam- Thanks. I'll have to share some with you guys some time. I think this comes out better than the blue that you and Andy tried at Thanksgiving.

Spo- Thank you.

Rich- The hands-on stuff takes most of a day, but that includes a lot of time with the cheese just incubating or draining. There's a five hour period that requires abut 3 minutes of attention every hour. The aging process takes about 4 weeks.

Rodger- You are right, I should have photographed that. I hope never to have the opportunity again, but if I do I will take pictures.

FC and Lem- It's amazing how the uniform shape that the plastic mold produces makes the cheese look very 'official."

At 14:30, Anonymous Mark H said...

Beautiful....and frustrating. WE STILL HAVE NOT even BEGUN to acquire the Raw MIlk so we can begin our first cheese batch, although ALL the "stuff" to make it has been here too long. Maybe it will take YOUR being here...... We talked about you while Homer was here....you should have been here with Leon.

At 22:05, Blogger Randy Emmitt said...


Oh my so do you take internet orders for these? Wow that looks great!

Have you heard we have been getting reports of Palamedes Swallowtails in the mountians of NC and VA? I had one in Durham a few weeks ago.


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