Q. Should I wrap my Camembert in cheese paper when doing the final ripening?
A. You can, but if you have the right amount of moisture, there is no need to. If you are aging your Camembert in plastic boxes with lids, just make sure condensation doesn't drip onto your cheese.
Q. My Camembert is covered in perfect white mold after 5 days of aging. The first appearance was on the second day. I have a cooler holding at 54F and 95%+ humidity. Should this all happen so fast?
A. This is a little fast and may be due to residual moisture in your cheese. Full mold coverage usually takes 10 days to 2 weeks. Rapid growth usually makes for a sharply defined area between the paste transformations. It's better to have a more gradual transition from surface to center.
Q. I made this cheese once, without a humidifier, and it came out dry as a raisin! Now I got a programmable humidifier and went back to work. During the drying phase, I went to flip it and it cracked on the bottom. Should I start over?
A. These cheeses are very tender when first made. Extreme care needs to follow them through the aging process. I usually lay a fresh clean mat on top and then slide my hand under the bottom mat and turn all at once with the fresh mat underneath. I then clean the used mat with hot water and brush only and hang to dry to be the fresh mat when turned again.
Q. I have Camembert on day 9 of growing the white mold in the cave and they have a very nice white coating on the tops and bottom but only a thin layer of maybe the geotrichum coating the sides. Will this eventually fill in or should I do something? I did rub the salt around the sides as best I could when doing the salting stage.
A. Give it a few more days, the sides tend to dry faster since they are exposed to drying airflow more than the top and bottom surface, which spend half their time face down avoiding the dehydration. The sides should fill out by day 15.
Q. How do I know when the cheese is done aging? I've see "about" 6 weeks, but I also saw a note that sometimes the cheese is ready to eat in 4-5 weeks.
A. This is somewhat like asking for steak done rare, medium, or well done, it really depends on what you are looking for. Traditionally folks waited until it went soft, leaving about 1/2 of the ‘heart’ in the middle. If it goes much beyond that, a lot of ammonia is produced and the cheese collapses. However, in France today I see the young people going for it as early as 10 days from production. My recommendation is going to be in the 4-6 week range. Once it reaches the ripeness you like, you can stabilize it for a bit longer by chilling it further. A lot depends also in the final moisture as the cheese goes to aging.