Camembert, a soft, surface-ripened cow's-milk cheese, was first made
in 1791 by Marie Fontaine (Madame Harelll) at Camembert, a hamlet in
the Department of Orne, France. It is said that Napoleon was served this
cheese, which was as yet unnamed, and he thereupon named it Camembert.
The industry soon extended from Orne to the Department of Calvados,
and these two Departments are still the principal centers of production.
However, Camembert-type cheese is made also in other parts of France
and in other countries, including the United States.
Each cheese is about 4 1/2 inches in diameter, 1 to 1 1/2 inches
weighs about 10 ounces. The interior is yellow and waxy, creamy, or
almost fluid in consistency, depending on the degree of ripening. The
rind is a thin, felt-like layer of gray mold and dry cheese interspersed
patches of reddish yellow. Camembert is made in much the same way as
Brie, but it is smaller and the characteristic flavor differs.
The method of making Camembert is in general as follows:
whole milk or milk standardized to a fat content of 3.5 percent is put
small vats or in flat-bottomed, conical metal cans that hold about 200
pounds. Lactic starter is added, and the milk is warmed to a temperature
of approximately 85 F. A little color may be added, and enough rennet
is added so the curd will be firm enough to dip in 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The
may be cut before it is put into the hoops to hasten drainage of the
but usually it is hooped without cutting.
The curd is ladled carefully, a slice at a time and with as little
as possible, into perforated, circular hoops that rest on rush mats on
boards on a draining table. The hoops are about 4 1/2 inches in diameter
and 5 inches deep and are open at both ends. In some factories half
just large enough to slip over the deeper hoops easily (4 5/8 inches in
eter and 2 1/2 inches deep) are used, and in some factories heavy metal
are placed on the curd to aid in settling it evenly. The temperature of
the room should be about 70 F.
The hoops are turned and the mats are changed after a few hours, and
this procedure is repeated frequently for about 2 days. At the end of
first day, the cheeses will have settled to a thickness of 1 1/2 to 1
3/4 inches, and
the deeper hoops may be removed. At the end of the second day, the
cheeses are removed from the hoops, salted with fine dry salt, and may
innoculated with a culture of mold and bacteria. The culture either is
mixed with the salt and rubbed on the surface of the cheeses, or it is
solved in water and sparyed on. Then the cheeses are moved to the
Curing the cheese is the most diffucult part of the manufacturing
for there must be a uniform and progressive development of the ripening
agents and at the same time the curd must dry gradually but not too
rapidly. The cheeses are cured on open board frames or shelves at a tem-
perature of about 55 F. and a relative humidity of 85 to 90 percent for
about 3 weeks; then at a temperature of 48 to 50. In the United States,
if the cheese is made from raw milk it is cured for at least 60 days.
are turned frequently. A primary surface growth of a grayish-white
layer of mold is followed by a secondary fermentation that produces a
of sliminess and changes the surface to show spots of yellow and finally
reddish or russet color; at the same time the interior of the curd
creamy and somewhat yellow.
The cheeses are wrapped in paper, parchment, or cellophane and may
be covered with metal foil; they usually are packed in round, flat,
plastic boxes. Sometimes they are cut in pie-shaped segments for market-
ing, but they are said to cure more normally if they are not cut. From
to 15 pounds of Camembert cheese is obtained per 100 pounds of whole
Analysis: Moisture, 52.3 percent in domestic Camembert, and 43 to
percent in imported; fat: 24 to 28 percent (at least 50 percent in the
protein, 17 to 21 percent; and salt, 2.6 percent.
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