Flavoring Camembert can produce excellent results but always ensure any flavorings or infusions you add to your cheese have been boiled for 5 minutes then drained before adding to the cheese. White mold cheeses have a high moisture content which unwanted bacteria can thrive in if the cheese is not reated correctly.
If you are layering fresh flavors within the cheese, use a mature cheese and store it the refrigerator while the flavors infuse for no more than 1-2 days before serving.
Boil three or four saffron strands in a little water and add all to the milk before making the cheese to give a lovely subtle saffron flavor and color to the finished cheese.
Boil an ounce (30 g) of dried mushrooms in a little water and add the strained liquid to the milk prior to making the cheese. This imparts a lovely earthy flavor and mushroom aroma to the finished cheese. We used a mix of dried birch and larch boletes, but any mild flavored dried mushrooms would work well.
Authentic French Camembert is made with milk from the salty, marsh grazing land of coastal Normandy. These mineral flavors come through in the cheese and so we thought it would have an affinity with seaweed flavor of nori. Crush up dried nori seaweed sheets for making sushi, boil in a little water, drain and sprinkle it through the curd when you are hooping it.
A day before serving, cut a thick belt of nori sheet to wrap around the finished cheese to give a hint to its contents and make it look very “black tie” on the cheese board. Give it a try - you will be surprised how good it is.
There are many different combinations you can layer into a Camembert prior to serving. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve and use within a day of layering. These flavorings don’t need to be boiled.
Don’t make the layer too thick and don’t spread it right to the edges as you want to be able to close the sandwich by pressing the two layers lightly together around the outside. Thin slices of black truffle in a double cream cheese is one of our favorites. Toasted hazelnuts and wholegrain mustard is another.
Coeur de Camembert au Calvados
This traditional preparation from lower Normandy involves taking a three-week-old Camembert that is ripening, but still firm in the center, and gently removing the rind. Soak the skinned cheese in Calvados (apple brandy) for 2-3 hours then coat it in a mixture of finely crushed walnuts and breadcrumbs. Store in the refrigerator for up 3 days but serve at room temperature.
We have also used cider as the soaking liquid and soaked overnight to produce a lighter flavor. The combination of apple, walnut and cheese is delicious.
More from How to Make Brie and Camembert:
Reprinted with permission from How to Make Brie and Camembert by Heather Cole and published by Country Trading Co.