What is Camembert Cheese?
Camembert (pronounced cam-ehn-ber-tee) is a creamy, soft cheese from Normandy, France. One of the first “bloomy rind” cheeses to be created back in 1791, it is now one of the most popular soft, white rind cheeses available worldwide. The small, round cheese can range in size from 8 - 12 cm in diameter, depending on its age.
The milk used to make Camembert has a fat content ranging between 35% - 45%. It is made with unpasteurized cow’s milk and has a slightly salty and tangy taste. Camembert is usually ripened for three to four weeks, though there are some made up to five months. During this time, the cheese develops a thick, white rind full of creamy, gooey goodness underneath the surface.
By definition, a Camembert cheese is classified as a soft white rind cheese that is made from raw cow's milk. Camembert is considered a triple-cream cheese, meaning more than 75 percent of its fat comes from milkfat, which can make the cheese sold in the U.S. only with a less than 40 percent fat content rather than the standard of 75 percent fat due to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance. Camembert is also made with a bacterial culture known as Penicillium Camemberti, giving the cheese its soft exterior and creamy center.
Unfortunately, the original Camembert cheese made in Normandy is no longer made, as the cheese was apparently banned in the late 18th century. However, the Camembert cheese produced in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States today is very similar in flavor and texture to the original.
The rind of the Camembert cheese generally has a dusty, chalky white appearance, though some varieties may be yellowish or even tan. The bloomy rind is made using different strains of Penicillium Camemberti and the surface of the cheese is rubbed with a specific type of bacteria or yeast to develop the fuzzy white rind. The rind of the Camembert plays an important role – not only in flavor, but also in the ripening process. This external ripening creates the distinctive center of creamy, gooey cheese we have all come to love.
Camembert cheese can be served in many different ways. It can be served hot or cold, crumbled over salads or melted onto baguettes. It can be used in cheese plates, omelets and quiches, or it can simply be enjoyed on its own with a crusty French bread and a glass of Burgundy wine.
No matter how you choose to enjoy Camembert cheese, you will love its creamy, gooey center, and its rich and nutty flavor. Camembert is a classic cheese that has been enjoyed for centuries. With its unique flavor and texture, it’s easy to understand why this delightful French cheese has become a favorite around the world.
The Allure of Camembert Cheese: From Cow to Dinner Plate
Cheese is an old, lasting food item that has been enjoyed since ancient times. Its history and process of aging is both complex and fascinating, with countless different varieties all having their own unique flavors and characteristics. One of the most well-known of these cheeses is Camembert – a creamy, aromatic, soft-ripened cheese hailing from Normandy, France. Its creamy texture and distinctive flavor are often found in a variety of meals, from simple snacks to decadent dinners, and its lusciousness is unparalleled.
In order to fully understand the journey of Camembert from cow to dinner plate, we must examine the origins of the unique cheese, its process of aging, and the impact its ripening has on its flavor. To start, let’s explore the beginnings of Camembert.
Origin of Camembert Cheese
The glory of Camembert cheese dates back to 1791 in Normandy, France. According to myth, a monk from the local monastery suggested to a rural farmer named Marie Harel that he create a cheese similar to Brie, a different soft-ripened cheese originating in the nearby regions of Ile-de-France. Though the exact details are lost in time and the specific technique has been perfected over the years, Marie set forth creating the cheese and what ensued was the delicious and beloved Camembert.
Originally, producers used local unpasteurized cow milk for the cheese, however, current production is primarily made from pasteurized milk. After milk is gathered and brought to the creamery, the following processes begins:
Process of Aging Camembert
1. Coagulation: The milk is heated to a temperature of around 88°F (31°C). Next, fresh liquid rennet or bacterial culture is added to the milk, which causes the milk proteins to coagulate and form solid curds.
2. Milling and Cooking: The curd is cut into small pieces and heated up to between 104°F (40°C) and 109°F (43°C).
3. Molding and Pressing: After being cut and heated, the curd is collected and pressed into round molds. These molds are usually made of wood or plastic and contain flower-shaped holes on the bottom and are coated with a mixture of lukewarm water and wheat flour to prevent the cheese from sticking. This process is what gives Camembert its signature flower pattern on the bottom.
4. Brining: The cheese molds are then soaked in a salty brine for several days. This helps to draw the moisture out of the cheese and preserve it for aging.
5. Ripening: This is the final step in creating Camembert and is where the magic happens. Cheese is placed in aging cellars for at least 4 weeks which helps to create the unique soft and creamy texture. During this period, the right temperature and humidity must be maintained- this is done by frequently checking the humidity levels with a hygrometer.
During the ripening process, white-mold spores (Penicillium camemberti) are added to the aging cellars to help the Camembert reach the desired flavor and texture goals. The Camembert is ready to eat once these special spores develop a thick white-mold layer across the cheese. However, some producers choose to age the cheese for up to 6 weeks, developing a stronger flavor and deeper aroma.
The Impact of Aging on Flavor
It may come as no surprise that the ripening process of Camembert has a significant effect on its flavor. During this period, the cheese develops distinctive scents and aromas, as well as its creamy and buttery-like consistency. Ripening also affects the moisture content of the cheese – Camembert cheeses made with unpasteurized milk remain more moist during aging and, as a result, have a more intense aroma and flavor. On the other hand, Camemberts made from pasteurized milk lose more moisture during the ripening process and have a milder flavor.
At the end of the ripening period, Camembert cheeses should have a distinct taste and texture. The flavor should be sweet and earthy with a hint of mushroom and a slightly salty finish. The texture should be gooey and soft, with a slightly firm outer shell.
From Farm to Table
Once Camembert has been carefully ripened, the cheese is then cut and packaged in wax paper. This keeps the cheese in optimal condition and preserves the aroma until purchase. Camembert is typically shipped on wooden pallets to distribution centers and, in turn, delivered to retailers around the world.
From here, Camembert goes from store shelf to dinner plate. It can be eaten by itself as a snack, mixed into salads, melted into sauces, and even spread onto bread for a sandwich. Camembert’s unique flavor also pairs well with a variety of wines and beers, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Camembert cheese is a creamy and delectable treat that has been savored for centuries. Its lengthy and delicate ripening process highlights the complexity of crafting one of the most famous cheeses in the world. By understanding its origin, the process of aging, and its effect on flavor, we can further appreciate the journey Camembert takes from cow to dinner plate.
|Vitamin A||0.241 mg|
|Vitamin D||0.4 ug|
|Vitamin D3||0.4 ug|
|Vitamin E||0.21 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.002 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.03 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.49 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.63 mg|
|Vitamin B4||0.0154 grams|
|Vitamin B5||0.00136 grams|
|Vitamin B6||0.23 mg|
|Vitamin B9||0.062 mg|
|Vitamin B12||0.0013 mg|
Daily Value 1.3 g
Daily Value 0.018 g
Daily Value 0.4 g
Daily Value 1.25 g
Daily Value 4.7 g
Daily Value 2.3 g
Daily Value 0.011 g
Daily Value 0.9 mg
Daily Value 0.0023 g
Daily Value 0.055 mg
|Aspartic Acid||1.288 grams|
|Glutamic Acid||4.187 grams|
|Total Sugars||0.5 grams||
|Caproic acid (6:0)||0.28 grams||
|Caprylic acid (8:0)||0.26 grams||
|Capric acid (10:0)||0.59 grams||
|Lauric acid (12:0)||0.44 grams||
|Myristic acid (14:0)||2.69 grams||
|Palmitic acid (16:0)||7.23 grams||
|Stearic acid (18:0)||2.52 grams||
|Butyric acid (4:0)||0.49 grams||
|Total Saturated fatty acids:||14.5 g|
|Oleic acid (18:1)||5.75 grams||
|Palmitoleic acid (16:1)||0.88 grams||
|Total Monounsaturated fatty acids:||6.63 g|
|Linolenic acid (18:3)||0.27 grams||
|Linoleic acid (18:2)||0.45 grams||
|Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids:||0.72 g|
|Total Sterols:||0.07 g|