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Cheesepalooza #9 Mould Ripened Cheese

There are definitely highs and lows when it comes to cheese making.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: cheese making is an art not a science. You can repeat a cheese making process over and over again and the results are always slightly different.

We are getting to the pointy end of the year of cheese making.  This is the 9th Cheesepalooza challenge and we have made it to the final, advanced chapter of the book.  This months challenge was mould ripened cheese, the common or well known varieties being Brie and Camembert.

I have had some great success making a Camembert style cheese.  Although the first attempts weren’t perfect, they were more than worthy of eating. Then I tried to make some more last month and it failed miserably.  I followed exactly the same recipe that I’ve successfully used before.  It was a last minute make for a dinner party. I had just enough time to ripen the cheese, but not enough time to try it before serving it to my guests.  I broke my golden rule of cheese making: always try the cheese before sharing it with friends.  We cut into the slightly gooey Camembert, my friend took the first bite, and spat it straight back out again.  Somehow it had gone rancid.

Disheartened by last months disaster, I thought I would try something completely different for this challenge.  After perusing the recipes I settled on the Bloomy Robiola. This cheese has a completely different process to any other I’ve made and the part goat’s milk part cow’s milk appealed to me.

This cheese has very little rennet compared to others, this means it takes much longer to form the curd.  The recipe calls for the milk to be kept above room temperature for up to 18 hours, which meant a little clever thinking.  I picked up a great tip from The Cheese Making Workshop.  During their workshop we used a plastic tub paddling in a styrofoam box of warm water.

This method works a treat.  I managed to maintain the correct temperature for 18 hours.  It was difficult to time the making of this cheese so that the curd was ready to be cut at a sociable time of day.  The recipe did say the curd might be ready after 12 hours, but I was asleep at that point so had to let it go for 18 hours.  If I make this again I would ensure I time the making so that I can check it from 12 hours. I think my curd was a little too firm.

I cut the curds into large chunks to make it easier to scoop into the Camembert moulds. The curds then drain, and are flipped, to form a large mass under their own weight.  This was another part of the process that didn’t quite feel right to me.  As the curd was quite firm, it didn’t settle into the moulds as it does when making Camembert.  The curds did however taste delicious.

This is the cheese after it had drained and been flipped.  As you can see it was rather lumpy and had not shrunk as much as I expected it to, or as the book described.  Again I think it was due to the firm curds.

Into the fridge it went, ready to grow it’s layer of mould.  And it did.  I love watching the mould develop; each day as the cheese is flipped there is a little more skin preserving the stinky insides.

Then judgement day arrives. After ten days of ripening it was time to crack open the unknown cheese that is Robiola.  I’ve never tried this cheese so I have nothing to compare it to.  I could guess what it was meant to taste like from the description in the book and sadly I don’t think I achieved it.  It looked great, and the curd tasted fantastic when it was fresh, but yet again this cheese was on the verge of rancid.  I could tell it has potential. It had the acidic hint of a goats cheese; with the earthy tones of a stinky mould ripened cheese; followed by an after taste that left me running to the bathroom.  It also had an interesting, firm but chalky texture.

I think this is another cheese I will have to bin.  I’m not deterred though, as I can see great potential with this one.  I have two things to try to improve on next time.  I will be a little more vigilant with the cutting of the curd and I think I will buy some new starter culture.  I’m wondering if my culture is past it’s best as the common link between the rancid Camembert and the dodgy Robiola is the same batch of starter culture.  Watch this space for the new, improved Robiola.






Comment from Claire @ Claire K Creations
Time April 30, 2013 at 9:28 am

I’m so impressed by your cheese making adventures Nic. I did a feta course a couple of weeks ago and am excited to try making it myself soon. Your cheese sure looks good! Pity it didn’t taste as good.

Comment from Miss Piggy
Time April 30, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Aw, what a shame on both accounts. So much effort – but it seems like you’ve identified the culprit of the rancid cheese.

Comment from Ian
Time May 2, 2013 at 1:31 am

Good try Nic, I had issues with a Camembert that tried to make this month. Keep at it, I want to try a Robiola for the creamery

Comment from Kyrstie @a Fresh Legacy
Time May 2, 2013 at 5:42 am

It looked amazing! What shame :-/ I love reading your cheese adventures :)

Comment from nic
Time May 2, 2013 at 6:09 am

Thanks Kyrstie, it is really heartbreaking having to bin 1.5kg of cheese that looks so good!

Comment from Kyrstie @a Fresh Legacy
Time May 2, 2013 at 5:43 am

Sorry Nic typo – *a* shame I meant to type.

Comment from A Canadian Foodie
Time May 3, 2013 at 8:20 am

This looks gorgeous! I haven’t read about doing it this way and am very eager to try! Please send me your photo so I can put it up in the “late” round up, Nic!

Pingback from Cheesepalooza Roundup Challenge Nine: Brie and Camembert
Time May 12, 2013 at 4:16 am

[…] at Nic Cooks from Australia made a different mold ripened cheese for the challenge. Though it looks like her rind […]

Comment from Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy
Time May 20, 2013 at 1:23 pm

As I said to you on Sunday, I am well impressed by your cheese skills. Even if this didn’t work out – it is still a winner to me!

Comment from nic
Time May 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Thanks Anna!

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