I took a cheese making class the other night at the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op, we were making Camembert cheese. What an eye opener that was! It was not simply milk and a coagulant and aging though those are the basic steps. You have to be a chemist, micro-biologist and an alchemist to make fine cheese. Can you say Mesophillic Starter, Penicillum Candidum? Can you measure out 1/8,1/16 or 1/32nd of a teaspoon? Where would you even find such tiny spoons (I was told Nugget Market sometimes carries them) There are also many variables that affect the outcome of the finished product.
Our instructor was Sacha Laurin who learned to make cheeses in France then came over here and studied at Davis and now is the cheese maker for Turovich Wine and Cheese Tasting Room in Winters California. Sacha has extensive knowledge of the craft of cheese making which is very interesting. Sacha first gave us a quick basic lecture on cheese making before we got to try our hand at it. It is a long process that she has managed to condense into a 2 hour course.
Here Sacha is explaining about the enzymes, the Mesophillic Starter,Penicillum Candidum and Geortrichum Candidum and how they all work.
|adding the enzymes to the milk which has to be heated to 90 degree|
|talking about the rennet which is what coagulates the cheese|
|adding the rennet which has been mixed with water|
|gently stirring for 1 minute then it has to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes.|
|checking for a "clean break"|
|cutting the curds|
|lifting and separating the curds|
|removing the whey from the curds|
|straining the whey|
|curds spooned into molds over a wrack to drain|
|after turning the cheese for the first time, after about 30 minutes from filling mold cheese had to be flipped every 30 minutes for the next several hours then covered overnight|
|2nd day the cheese is removed from the mold and salted|
This is the stage we are now at. For the next 3 days I have to flip the cheese and change the paper towel if it has gotten wet from the whey. I will report back after a month of ripening the cheese in the fridge. We will see if it is ripe and ready to eat at that time. It usually takes a month to 2 months.