A Bloomy Rind for Spring!
This is the first of a five part series about Camembert: In the next article, we will go over all the ingredients and supplies you will need (click here). In the third, we will make two Cams (click here). In the fourth, we will go through possible variations in the recipe and in the fifth, we will troubleshoot issues that might come up. By the end of this month, you will be making Camembert easily in your home, even if you have never made cheese before!
What is Camembert?
Whether you knew it or not, you probably tasted Camembert as an hors d’ouvre at a party where you spread it on crackers. If you loved it, you probably know why it is called “The King of French Cheeses.”
If you were very lucky, you tasted it in France where it originated. The laws there allow it to be made with raw milk and sold within 60 days of it’s make, so the Camembert there is quite different from the product sold here in the US. (Fortunately, for you, you can make your own, any whey you want!)
Like Brie, Camembert is a mold ripened cheese, soft in the center with a white rind. A mold called penicillium candidum is added to the milk along with the starter culture.
It has a deeper aroma than Brie and it is sold in little round boxes. Some of the most beautiful labels in the world have been made for these Camembert boxes:
There are a million ways to prepare it, including baking it. In 2013, we posted Three Camembert Appetizers (we included another one below, just because it looked so good!).
Why is it easy to make?
There are at least 4 good reasons why we know you can make this cheese:
- You do not need a press.
- You do not need a cave – you can ripen this cheese in your refrigerator if you have to.
- You can use any milk to make this cheese – cow’s, goat’s, sheep’s or any combo. You can even use store-bought, as long as it isn’t ultra-pasteurized.
- It only takes a couple of months of waiting until you can eat your cheese.
- There are all kinds of recipes and videos online to help and almost every book like our Home Cheese Making has a recipe.
Yes, you can do this!
Camembert Almond Balls
1 wheel (8 ounces) Wisconsin Camembert cheese
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup finely chopped salted almonds
Soak cheese wheel in wine for at least eight hours or overnight, turning cheese occasionally. Drain wine and discard. Press cheese through coarse sieve or food mill; blend with softened butter. Chill cheese mixture until slightly firm. Shape into small balls about 3/4 inch in diameter; roll in almonds. Serve with crackers.