Cheesy goodness

Cheesy goodness

Robert Day and Gary Mitchell of Cheviot’s gourmet retreat, Ribbonwood Country House, guide us through dishing up a tasty addition to the cheeseboard

Operated by Robert Day and Gary Mitchell, Ribbonwood Country House is driven by the ethos of treading as lightly on the earth as possible, which has seen them embrace a ‘paddock to plate’ philosophy. With Ruby, an A2 Jersey milking cow, on site, they have turned their hands to making butter, cream, ice-cream and cheese – with delicious results! 

CAMEMBERT
Makes 4 rounds

Cheese
4L of pasteurised milk
¼ tsp of mesophilic starter culture
Pinch of penicillin candidum, or a dissolved thumb nail of white coating from another camembert
¼ tsp of liquid calcium chloride
0.7mL of rennet, dissolved in 20mL of boiled, cooled water
125g of plain salt

Brine
125g of plain salt to ½L of water

Equipment
As well as standard home cooking utensils you will also need a good thermometer, as temperature is important, a ladle to lift your curds out, camembert moulds to shape, rubber gloves and draining boards (sushi mats are very useful for this).

Heat milk to 36 degrees Celsius in a double boiler, and keep the mixture at this temperature. Add the mesophilic starter culture and penicillin candidum, stir to combine, and then wait 45 minutes, approximately, during which time the bacteria will grow. Add calcium chloride and stir for 30 seconds before adding rennet and mixing together. 
Maintain the desired temperature and wait 30 minutes for the curd to set. Once set, your knife should cut cleanly through your mixture. Cut the curd into 2cm cubes, stir carefully and wait 30 minutes. Leave on heat for an hour and a half, stirring every 30 minutes. You may have to turn the heat off to prevent going above 36 degrees. Keep the thermometer handy!
Drain off half the whey, allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes, and then drain off the remainder. Lift the curds carefully into your moulds. Leave for 10 minutes and invert. Leave for 1 hour and invert. Leave for 5 hours and invert. Leave for 8 hours and invert. Finally, leave to drain overnight. The purpose of all this inverting is to encourage moderate whey drainage, producing a smoother, softer, more consistent result. 
Remove curds from moulds and place in brine for 20 minutes, before placing on a draining mat for 24 hours at room temperature. 
You then need to ripen your cheese to encourage a lovely white soft coating, or mould, to grow. Place cheese in a room, at 11-15 degrees Celsius with 95% humidity, for 8-10 days, turning daily. When your cheese is covered with an even white mould, wrap in cheese paper and store until you are ready to enjoy.  
Serve with your favourite homemade crackers, a dollop of chutney and a glass of vino! 

TIP: To avoid contamination, take care not to handle the cheese with bare hands. Also, check the strength of your rennet as they vary widely. This recipe is for 750 IMCU (international strength measurement) hannilase.

03 319 8823  |  ribbonwoodcountryhouse.co.nz

Interested in learning how to make cheese? 
Email info@ribbonwoodcountryhouse.co.nz to keep up-to-date with cheesemaking classes.

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