Foods and Wines

Camerano

Camerano PDO

Goat’s milk cheese made from the Serrana, Murciana-Granadina, Malagueña, Alpina breeds and their cross-breeds, made with pasteurized or untreated milk and undergoing different periods of ageing depending on the type being made. A distinctive feature of Camerano cheese is its series of external marks, produced by the “cilla”, the molds used to shape the cheese; they are made from plaited cane and leave their imprints on the outside of the cheese.Camerano-do

Production area

The production area for the cheese covered by the Designation of Origin includes all the municipal areas in the Regions of Rioja Alta, Sierra de Rioja Alta, Sierra de Rioja Media and Sierra de Rioja Baja, plus the following municipal areas in the Rioja Media and Rioja Baja regions: Daroca, Lagunilla de Jubera, Logroño, Ocón, Santa Engracia and Villamediana de Iregua, Aguilar del Río Alhama, Arnedo, Autol, Bergasa, Bergasillas, Cervera del Río Alhama, Grávalos, Herce, Igea, Pradejón, Quel, Santa Eulalia Bajera, Tudelilla and Villarroya, all of which are in the region of La Rioja.

Production process

-Straining: The milk is strained in the reception area of the cheese-making plant.
-Pasteurization: The milk undergoes a heating process taking it to 71.7 ºC / 161º F for 15 seconds, or other combinations of temperature and time authorized by the Regulatory Council.
-Addition of calcium chloride: Added at a maximum of 250 mg/kg of milk used.
-Addition of lactic acid-producing bacterial cultures (LABs).
-Setting: the milk is made to set using kid goat rennet, lamb rennet or industrial rennet.

Fresh and soft Camerano cheese: setting takes place at a temperature of between 32ºC and 38ºC / 89.6 and 100.4º F during a period of between 15 and 45 minutes.

Semi-cured and cured Camerano cheese: setting takes place at a temperature of between 29ºC and 38ºC / 84.2 and 111.4º F during a period of between 25 and 60 minutes.
-Cutting. Once the curds have been obtained they are subjected to successive cuts until the grains are the desired size between 4-5 mm in diameter.
Washing the curds: this is optional.
-Reheating. This is optional, but if it is done, it is carried out on semi-cured and cured cheeses and consists of raising the temperature from 2ºC to 5ºC / 35.6º F to 41ºF higher than the setting temperature.
-Working the grains: The grains are stirred until they take on the required consistency.

Fresh and soft Camerano cheese: the grains are lightly worked, giving them a soft consistency.

Semi-cured and cured Camerano cheese: the grains are worked vigorously, giving them a hard consistency.
-Molding. After draining the serum, molding is done by placing the curds in cylindrical cake-shaped molds (if muslin is being used) or cylindrical molds with micro perforations (with or without muslin), of the correct size to ensure that the aged cheese acquires its distinctive shape, size and weight.

The term “cilla” refers to the plaited cane molds that were used in bygone times to make Camerano cheese. Nowadays they are made of plastic, but they retain their traditional shape.

-Pressing: once the curds have been placed in the molds, they are pressed using gravity or another process until the correct pH is obtained.
Fresh and soft Camerano cheese: if pressing is done at all, it is short and not very strong.

Semi-cured and cured Camerano cheese: pressing is carried out for between 1 and 4 hours until the correct pH is obtained.
-Salting: The cheese is salted by immersing the piece in fresh brine made with sodium chloride. The brine is kept at a concentration of between 15º Be and saturation. The cheese can remain in the brine for a maximum of 15 hours, depending on the concentration of the brine, the size of the cheese and the temperature, which must be below 20 ºC / 68º F.
-Ripening. During the ripening period the cheeses are turned and cleaned, plus the appropriate treatments are applied to the outside of the cheese. Throughout the entire process, the ripening chambers are kept at a relative humidity of over 80% and temperature that varies from between 9 and 15ºC.
-Storing-ageing: this is done from between 5 and 10 ºC / 41º and 50º F.
-Presentation for sale: soft, semi-cured and cured cheeses are presented for sale with their natural rind and placed in shrink film packaging, vacuum packed, placed in a paper bag or wrapped in cellophane.

Fresh cheeses are presented in tubs or thermoformed containers; this packaging may also be used for the soft cheeses. Cheese undergoing a prolonged ageing process may also be treated by wiping the rind with olive oil. The cheese is always sold as a single, complete piece.

Tasting notes

– Fresh Camerano cheese: the curd is white and glossy, with no holes, a smooth jellified texture, very soft and moist. It has a very well-rounded flavor, ranging from very sweet to quite acidic.
– Soft Camerano cheese: It has a clearly defined rind, with either no mold or some incipient mold growth. The curd varies from white to an ivory white color, a medium hard to soft texture and with no holes. It has an intense flavor with a hint of acidity.
– Semi-cured Camerano cheese. It has a clearly defined rind with greenish-brown mold growth on the outside. The curd varies from white to an ivory white color, a hard to medium hard texture. It has an intense, well-defined flavor with a hint of acidity.
– Cured Camerano cheese. The rind is clearly defined with mold growth on the outside, mainly a greenish-brown in color. The curd varies from white to ivory white in color, with a firm, hard texture, and either very few holes or none at all. It has an intense and well-defined flavor.

Other notes

– Fresh Camerano cheese:
Shape: flattened cylindrical, with marks from the “cillas” used as molds.
Size: varies.
Weight: between 200-800 g / 0.44-1.76 lb
Rind: practically none.
Dry extract: minimum 40%.
Fat in dry extract: minimum 35%.
Sodium chloride: maximum 1.5%.
pH: minimum 6.

– Soft Camerano cheese:
Shape: flattened cylindrical, with marks from the “cillas” used as molds.
Size: varies.
Weight: between 200-1200 g / 0.44-2.65 lb
Dry extract: minimum 40%.
Fat in dry extract: minimum 35%.
Sodium chloride: maximum 2%.
pH: 4.80-5.50.

– Semi-cured Camerano cheese:
Shape: flattened cylindrical, with marks from the “cillas” used as molds.
Size: varies.
Weight: between 200-1200 g / 0.44-2.65 lb
Dry extract: minimum 45%.
Fat in dry extract: minimum 50%.
Sodium chloride: maximum 3%.
pH: 4.90-5.60.

– Cured Camerano cheese:
Size: varies.
Weight: between 200-1200 g / 0.44-2.65 lb
Dry extract: minimum 55%.
Fat in dry extract: minimum 50%.
Sodium chloride: maximum 3%.
pH: 4.90-5.60.

Sources

– Spanish Ministry of Agriculture
– Regulatory Board, Queso Camerano PDO

Regulatory Council

Asociación Profesional para el Desarrollo del Queso Camerano
C/ Los Nogales, parc 55-56-57
Polígono Industrial Fuente Ciega
26200 Haro (La Rioja)
T: (+ 34) 941 304 721
info@quesocamerano.com
www.quesocamerano.com

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