melting camembert
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Still wondering how to melt this Camembert?

So, after searching the web you have found the most promising instructions about melting a Camembert. You have bought your Camembert, preheated the oven to 180º C (350º F), set your timer to 15 minutes and watched like a hawk as the minutes went by. You pulled it out, made an indication, but instead of fondant-like it was solid. Oh well, maybe bake for 5 more minutes. But as per the instructions, a minute more and your melted Camembert will re-solidify. You put it back in the oven, wait for 5 minutes, solid again. You desperately spent the next 30 minutes in a similar manner, when after and hour you give up hope and decide to serve it to your guests anyway. They welcome it in awe and dive in. But after a while the Camembert sits there with its insides split in a crumbled mess. When the night is over, on to the trash bin it goes, blaming yourself for not having bought the XX$ selection instead of the X$ one.

Now, let me make this clear. It is not a matter of nanoseconds of baking accuracy, nor a matter of mischievous oven and above all, not a matter of price.

After having my own share of disasters, I decided to attempt a Camembert bake off challenge.

I set off and bought five different wheels of Camembert, all of them pasteurised (I live in Greece, and like in many other countries, unpasteurised milk products are not allowed). I baked them altogether on the same sheet pan at 180º C (350º F) for 20 minutes. Of the five samples, the three melted perfectly, whereas the other two softened but were still solid. I put them all back in the oven for 40 minutes more, testing every 10 minutes. 

melty vs solid

The results were surprising. Here they are:

#1 – MELTED CAMEMBERT DOES NOT RE-SOLIDIFY

After baking for 20 minutes a meltable Camembert is fondant-like, gooey and cheesy. I prefer it at 30 minutes of baking, when it is a little bit thinner. After that is become runny, but IT DOES NOT RE-SOLIDIFY.

So do not get crazy about timing, for as long as it melts in the first 20 minutes, it will still be a melted camembert if you go past the suggested baking time.


#2 – IT IS NOT A MATTER OF PASTEURISATION

All five Camemberts I tested where pasteurised. The three of them melted perfectly. So forget about the myth saying that only unpasteurised Camemberts have the ability to melt.

Fact is, maybe all unpasteurised Camemberts do melt. But you may live in a country where unpasteurised milk products are banned and therefore impossible to find. This is not a reason to stop your self from making melted Camembert.


#3 – THERE IS NO RELATION BETWEEN THE PRICE OF THE CAMEMBERT AND IT’S MELTABILITY

It would be obvious to think that the more expensive the Camembert, the better the quality. And so, the more chances of it melting. But truth is that depending the part of the world you live in, you may be paying 3 times the price for the exact wheel of Camembert than your cousin who lives in France.

The reason is shipping fees, which depend on the buying quantities of your retailer. So, if your retailer buys a small quantity of an inexpensive Camembert, they will have to sell it in a much higher price than if they had bought in large quantities.

So, paying more does not guarantee a higher quality Camembert. 


#4 – THERE IS NO RELATION BETWEEN THE MATURITY OF THE CAMEMBERT AND IT’S RESISTANCE TO MELTING

All Camemberts that I tested where within 20 days of the date of expire. Which means they where “mature” cheeses.

So there is no evidence that the un-meltable where so because they were “young”.

We cannot exclude the reverse, so when choosing a Camembert, you may want to choose one that is mature, meaning within 20 days of expiring. Again, this is just an assumption.

 

So far, it seems it is a matter of the brand you choose. But it is unclear which are the criteria you have to look after when choosing one. So, if you have had a wheel of Camembert and it was melty, stick to it.

WHAT YOU COULD DO IN THE CASE OF BLIND-TESTING A CAMEMBERT

For you Camembert lovers, before refraining from making a melted Camembert at home, I have a solution for you. At your next gathering, buy what you need for you Camembert platter (or be inspired by this Camembert a la Different Beast ). Make sure you have crackers and bread, not just breadsticks.

Remove the Camembert from its original packaging and place on a piece of baking paper, on a tray. Tip, click to unfold

If there is any indication that the Camembert’s exterior has been damaged – which is very likely if it wasn’t sold in hard packaging- then you’d better fold it in parchment paper. This way you may prevent the melted cheese from escaping from the damaged  spot and spreading all over the tray.

Bake in well-preheated oven at 180º C for 20 – 30 minutes.

Remember 20 minutes allow for fondue-like melted camembert, 30 minutes allow for thinner, given of course that your Camembert actually melts.

When you pull it out, make an cut to check its consistency.

  • If it is has melted, make a cross on it and tell your guests you have made melted Camembert. Get them to dip in. 
  • If it is solid, carefully cut it with a serrated knife in 1 cm. / 0,5 in. slices and then in half (you need to wipe the knife after each slicing to make for clean cutting) and serve with crackers and toasted bread for your guests to spread them on.

And that’s it. Now enjoy the party. Because that is what gatherings are about.

DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE A PHOTO OF THE CAMEMBERT’S PACKAGING and take notes, to help you with your next purchase.

And should you wish to help fellow camembert lovers, please do share it in the comments bellow if this Camembert you have bought is melty. 

 

 

 

 Get Inspired:  
  • Camembert á la Different Beast, for recipe click here

baked camembert serving suggestion
Camembert à la different beast
  • or go wild and make a Camembert in Kadaifi nest ( no recipe )
    Camembert in Kadaifi nest
    Camembert in Kadaifi nest

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