When The Beverage People undertook teaching cheesemaking back in 2007-2008, one of the biggest challenges was the soft-ripening category of cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert, Valençay, St. Marcellin and others. These are the creamy full-flavored cheeses that we love so much. They are made in various shaped molds to create specific whey drainage as well as classic appearance.
Soft ripened cheeses require more temperature and humidity control than quick cheeses. A spare refrigerator can be a big help to allow you to control temperature, but a cool cellar or wine refrigerator will also work. You will be given instructions in the recipe to help you keep the cheese at the right humidity and temperature at each stage through ripening.
So how do you make this cheese? Well, begin by relaxing about the curd making steps, because they are quite standard and easy to follow – and almost always successful. Follow the recipe like any cheese.
Where you can really help the outcome happens during the blooming stage when the secondary cultures promote the growth of the rind formed from geotrichum candidum and penicillium candidum.
Start by preparing a humidity controllable environment with a ripening box. Control the temperature with a thermostat controller for a second fridge or freezer. (You could also check on the temperatures in winter where you live to see if the garage is at the appropriate 50-55°F. ).
Create the appropriate humidity in the ripening box by adding moist paper towels tucked into two or more corners. I have gone so far as to drape each side of the box with a paper towel, draping it inside to touch the bottom of the container where a thin layer of water and whey will keep the towel moist. This should be sufficient with the lid left askew a few degrees from closed to allow for good air circulation. If you have a small fridge with a controller, you could even put the cheese on the shelf with only a pan of water below. I have found I can get the humidity higher inside the ripening box with a lid.
Also you can check how humid it is with a hygrometer.
Temperatures should follow each recipe's recommendation, but in general during the blooming phase – 50-55°F is pretty good. It takes about 10 days to develop the rind of white and grey mold before you can wrap the cheese with cheese wrapping paper.
After wrapping, the cheese can be kept in the same temperature or moved to a regular refrigerator to continue ripening. The warmer the temperature the faster the cheese paste will break down and become soft and eventually too runny to eat. I allow three weeks at 50 degrees and five or six weeks at 45°F.
USE THE FOLLOWING LINK TO VIEW AND PRINT THE RECIPE.
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