Camembert is a buttery, soft, and creamy cheese with a strong, rich flavor that’s popular in France. It’s a relatively easy cheese to make at home and requires no special equipment or specialized curing chamber.
How to Make Camembert
Traditionally, Camembert is made from cow’s milk that has been pasteurized. However, it’s also possible to make this cheese from unpasteurized milk. It is a relatively simple process that involves heating milk, mixing in rennet, and then shaping the cheese into a wheel.
The flavor of this cheese is similar to that of Brie, with earthy, mushroom, and fruit notes that complement its creaminess. You can enjoy it alone or add it to other foods for a more complex, but still soft and buttery, texture.
In addition to its buttery and rich flavor, this cheese is a good choice for baking and can be used as a topping in many recipes. It’s a great ingredient to use in cookies, brownies, and cakes, especially when combined with other ingredients like nuts, fruit, or herbs.
This cheese is best served at room temperature to bring out its buttery taste, but can be eaten cold as well. It’s a versatile cheese that pairs well with a variety of flavors, including sweet and savory.
How to Ripe a Camembert Cheese
The most important step in ripening this cheese is to properly maintain it at the right temperature and humidity during the ripening process. This can be difficult to do with some quick cheeses, so it’s helpful to have a spare refrigerator or cool cellar to store it in.
Once the cheese has been wrapped and positioned within its box, it is time to start a two-month ripening cycle. Place it in a corner of your refrigerator that is about 45oF (14oC) and check the temperature regularly. If it’s too cold, turn the box a few times to warm the back and front corners.
After 2 months, the cheese should be completely ripe. It should have a firm rind with a soft interior that will give when you gently press it. It will also sway slightly, indicating that it is ripe enough to be cut into.
If you’re not ready to eat your cheese, store it in the refrigerator for another 2 weeks and then wrap it in wax paper or plastic wrap before placing it in an airtight container. This can keep the cheese fresh for up to two weeks in the fridge, but it’s recommended that you eat the cheese within three days of opening to ensure it’s at its best.
How to Serve Camembert Cheesy Crackers with Caramelized Shallots
The oozing, creamy texture of this cheese is perfectly complemented by the caramelized sweetness of the salty shallots that are melted in sesame oil and roasted in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Slice the cheese into rounds and place on a platter with crackers, baguette slices, and grapes to complete this snack.