It is funny how all of a sudden you hear a cheese mentioned and then it seems you see it appearing all the time, a bit like when you buy a red car and then all you see is red cars.

A few weeks ago I was sent a recipe for Neufchatel cheese and I thought I would give it a try. I loved the flavour but the texture was not as it should be. Neufchatel is a French cheese from the Normandy region, same region as camembert, it is a little sour in flavour and a little salty with a closed texture. A bit of like a firm cream cheese.

In France it is made with raw milk and produces a slight mould growth, the cheese is eaten fresh, within 1 to 2 weeks of making. The recipe I tried included adding white mould spores which was fine if eaten straight away but when left to mature for 7 to 10 days as instructed, it turned the centre of the cheese back to liquid.

I thought I would share what went wrong and why. The slight mould growth that occurs on the cheese made in Normandy is a naturally occurring mould. It has a different effect to adding white mould spores to the milk.  As the white mould grows on the surface of the cheese it is also working on the inside of the cheese, sending microscopic roots through the cheese.

For example, if you under cook the camembert curd the white mould  has very little resistance and softens the inside of the cheese prematurely. If you over cook the camembert curd then the white mould has too much resistance and the cheese will never soften. So when I added the white mould as per the recipe to try and reproduce the naturally occurring mould I had my reservations as the Neufchatel recipe does not cook the curd. So what happened when I cut into the cheese it just ran out over the plate, perfect to mop up with a bit of nice crusty bread, but not great for putting on a cracker. The flavour was great, so back to the kitchen without the white mould spores.

We’ll keep you posted. Hopefully we’ll have the perfect Neufchatel Cheese Recipe very soon. We love experimenting with cheese recipes……..what a job!

If you have a cheese recipe you would like us to try for you please send it to Lyndall lyndall@thecheesemakingworkshop.com.au