Camembert Cheese

Standards: 56% moisture; 22% fat

Procedure:

  1. Standardize milk to 0.86 P/F and pasteurize.
  2. Add 3% S. lactis and/or S. cremoris starter and spores of P. camemberti or P. candidum. according to the manufacturer's directions. Alternatively, mould spores may be sprayed on to the salted cheese after draining. Ripen 1 hr. at 32oC or until TA increases by 0.05%.
  3. Measure 250 ml rennet per 1,000 kg milk . Dilute rennet with 10 volumes of water before adding it to the milk. Agitate for 5 min. Setting will occur in about 15 min. but do not cut until 45 min. after renneting. The pH should be 6.2 - 6.3.
  4. Cut curd using Omega" (12.8 mm knives) knives. Allow the curd to settle for 1 hr.
  5. Drain the whey down to the level of the curd. Dip the curd and remaining whey into cylindrical Camembert moulds. The preferred mould dimensions are 11.5 cm in diameter and 11.5 cm high. Moulds available in the Food Science pilot plant are 8.5 cm in diameter and 10.5 cm high. Fill the moulds quickly to 1 - 2 cm from the top. Do not refill.
  6. Turn the hoops 4 to 6 times within 4 to 5 h. hrs. and then occasionally until pH is 4.6-4.9 (8 - 12 h after adding culture).
  7. Weigh sufficient salt to provide 8 g of salt per cheese. Dry salt the cheese (6 - 9 g salt/cheese) by rubbing the salt on all surfaces. Store the cheese at 85% RH and 12 - 14C for 24 h, or place the cheese on plastic mats in large plastic tubs with the lids partially open to allow some drying off of the cheese, and store at 12 - 13C for 24 h. 
  8. If culture is to be sprayed on the cheese, disperse culture in water and spray on all surfaces of the cheese. Store the cheese at 95% RH and 12 - 14C for 6-12 days, with daily turning, until a luxurious growth of white mould is evident. Alternatively, the cheese can be ripened on plastic mats in large plastic tubs with the lids slightly open to some oxygen entry for mould growth.
  9. Pack in waxed paper or foil and store at 4-8C. Camembert cheese is fully ripe when the entire cheese is soft and creamy. The pH will increase to near 7.0 or above, especially on the surface.

Process and Quality Control Notes

  • Camembert has some special safety concerns because the acidity decreases (pH increases) dramatically due to the proteolytic action of enzymes produced by the white moulds. This is a particular concern with respect to aciduric pathogens such as E. coli 0157: H7 and Listeria monocytogenes which survive the initial acidic conditions and then grow when the pH increases during ripening. Raw milk Camembert is, therefore, of particular concern relative to hard ripened cheeses.
  • To prevent accumulation of pathogens, Camembert curing rooms must be cleaned and sanitized regularly. It is no longer acceptable to cycle Camembert continuously through the same curing rooms.

Grading Schedule for Brie and Camembert (after Shaw, M.B., 1981, The manufacture of soft, surface mould ripened cheese in France with particular reference to Camembert. J. Society of Dairy Technol. 34(4):131).

  1. Cheese shape and exterior appearance
    1. Regular shape, thin rind, white with some red streaking due to red organisms (4 to 5 points).
    2. Irregular shape, malformed sides, irregular rind thickness, irregular white mould growth with spots of other moulds, 'toad skin effect', (3-3.5 points).
    3. Irregular shape, slimy rind, very moist, numerous spots (less than 2.5 points).
  2. Colour and consistency of body.
    1. Light creamy colour, very little or no openness in texture, supple body, smooth, not runny at consumption temperature (4 to 5 points).
    2. Some discolouration, some openness, slightly layered, body too firm or too runny, (3-3.5 points).
    3. Very discoloured, much openness, very firm or runny, granular, layered (less than 2.5 points.
  3. Flavour and aroma
    1. Pleasant, characteristic, rather mild with good aroma (8 to 10 points).
    2. Neutral, slightly acid, very slightly bitter, slightly salty, slightly ammoniacal (6 - 7.5 points).
    3. Over acid, bitter, very salty, metallic, pungent, very ammoniacal, soapy taste (less than 5.5 points).