Sara Hunt works for an artisan creamery in northern Utah. She also has her own hobby sheep dairy (Three Point Farm in Logan, Utah). She told us she dedicates a fair amount of energy to creating and consuming dairy products.
About her cheese: “This cheese is a winter favorite at Three Point Farm. Our sheep are seasonal milkers, so during the busy summer months we fill our freezer with milk for winter cheese making. I move the milk from the freezer to the refrigerator one day before making cheese, heat the milk to pasteurize it, and then add kefir along with the cheese culture for a more complex flavor. There’s nothing more satisfying than watching the soft, white bloom form on this cheese – except maybe taking the first buttery bite one month later!”
Note: This is the first recipe we have posted which uses fresh kefir grains. You can purchase these grains on Etsy (click here). We haven’t tried this recipe yet, so let us know in the comments how you like it.
Sheep’s Milk Camembert
15-16 lbs (about 2 gallons) sheep milk
30 minutes at 145F. Then cool to 90F.
1/32 tsp Penicillium candidum
1/32 tsp Geotrichum candidum
1/16 tsp mesophilic culture for soft-ripened and fresh cheeses (MM 100; contains: Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis, cremoris; lactis biovar. Diacetylactis)
1/4 cup active kefir, grains removed
Add culture when pasteurized milk reaches 90F. Allow 3-5 minutes for culture to re-hydrate before stirring thoroughly. Hold at 90F for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
1/8 tsp liquid veal rennet in shot glass of distilled water. Mix in well and let sit for 1 hour.
Slowly cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Let heal for 5 minutes.
Fill forms and flip:
Fill 6 ricotta molds by gently scooping the curd out with a slotted spoon. Place the filled molds on a tray where the whey can drain, and flip as soon as possible. Keep warm (70F). Continue flipping approximately every 5 hours until they stop releasing whey, approximately 24 hours.
Reserve 1 quart of whey mixed with 1 tbsp salt for washing the young wheels prior to bloom.
Salt and Dry:
Remove wheels from forms. Apply ½ tsp salt to each side of each wheel. Move to a well-ventilated space with a temperature of 58-65F and allow at least another 24 hours drying time. (I place my wheels on an uncovered cutting board in the basement.) Flip at least once during drying.
Move the wheels to a space which can be held at 52-56F and 80% humidity. (I use a mini fridge connected to an external thermostat as an aging cave.) Flip the wheels every other day and wash at least three times with the whey-salt solution. Stop washing once more than half bloomed. Keep flipping until fully bloomed, about two weeks.
Wrap in cheese paper and store at 42-45F (refrigerator temperature) until soft in the center, usually about 30 days.
Camembert. Artisan Cheesemaking at Home by Mary Karlin. p 139
Brie and Camembert. The Art of Natural Cheesemaking by David Asher. p 189
Camembert Cheese. New England CheeseMaking Supply Co. http://www.cheesemaking.com/Camembert.html
These are my notes from the very first time I made this cheese. They provide an example timeline for how long each step of the make process takes.
Day 1: I referenced three recipes to come up with a make plan, checked to make sure I had all the necessary equipment, and took the frozen milk out of the fridge to thaw.
Day 2: Started heating the milk for pasteurization at 2:15 pm and finished loading the baskets, cleaning up, and making the first flip at 7:00 pm and the third flip at 11:00 pm.
Day 3: Salted tops of wheels in the morning. Flipped and salted other side mid-day. Evening removed forms and moved wheels to cool drying space.
Day 4: Flipped wheels twice during the day, and moved them to the aging cave when they looked dry in the evening.
Day 5: Flipped wheels.
Day 6: Flipped and washed.
Day 7: Flipped.
Day 8: Flipped and washed.
Day 9: Flipped.
Day 10: Flipped and washed. Blooming on sides.
Day 11: Flipped. More bloom.
Day 13: Flipped.
Day 16: Flipped. Took photos.
Day 18: Flipped. Only one side of one wheel has not bloomed.
Day 22: Flipped and patted down sides. One side still needs time.
Day 23: Flipped. Washed one unbloomed side.
Day 25: Flipped. Slightly more bloom on one slow side.
Day 26-33: Flipped every 1-3 days.
Day 34: Wrapped wheels in cheese paper and put in large Tupperware in refrigerator. Weights of 6 wheels in ounces: 6.75, 10.75 (slow to bloom one side), 10.05, 9.85, 10.1, 10.7 for a total of 3.6 lb of cheese.
Day 45: Christmas! Cut into smallest wheel. It was soft, good, and strongly salty. Larger wheels were less salty. Next time will reduce salt to ½ tsp on each side. Cut into last wheel at approximately Day 55. It was creamy and quickly devoured.