Chr. Hansen and Kenyan firm Oleleshwa Enterprises have developed a number of camel cheese recipes for owners of the animal, including one for a soft, ripened cheese they call ‘Camelbert’.
Working hand-in-hand with Oleleshwa Enterprises, Chr. Hansen has concluded a corporate social responsibility (CSR) project to improve the living conditions of small-scale camel owners in Africa and the Middle East.
The project, which was launched in December 2012, focused on developing of basic knowledge about camel cheese production. One-year on, Chr. Hansen and Oleleshwa are preparing to distribute a document including several recipes and begin training of rural communities in Northern Kenya.
Alongside its recipe for Camelbert, the Camel Cheese Manual contains step-by-step instructions for the production of dried cheese and cheese sweets, feta-type cheese and fresh soft cheese, and camel cream cheese.
Initiating the project in December 2012, Chr. Hansen said that previous attempts to produce viable camel cheese had failed.
Camel milk, which has a different consistency to cow’s milk, is low in fat, high in calcium, and a rich source of protein. Chr. Hansen said when launching the project that developing these recipes was a means to preserving this nutritious product.
Commenting, Anne Bruntse, director of Oleleshwa Enterprises, said that the company learnt “many new facts about the processing opportunities of camel milk."
“For instance the fact that just like the camel prefers hot weather, so does its milk work best with heat tolerant (thermophilic) cultures and hot processing temperatures," said Bruntse in a statement.
“We also found ways to incorporate local traditional technology in the cheese making process in pastoral areas where cooling facilities are not available – something that put a big proud smile on the faces of the pastoralists so far trained. Thus the recipes are a tribute and further development to all the efforts of the good people who have worked generations to find out what works in camel milk processing – both pastoralists and Chr Hansen.”
The key to the project is FAR-M - a Chr. Hansen coagulant that allows camel owners to effectively turn their camel milk into stable cheese.
Due to the composition difference of camel milk and bovine milk, the use of traditional coagulants results in weak curd formation or in some cases the complete absence of clotting when producing camel cheese.
Meanwhile FAR-M, which is pure camel chymosin produced by fermentation, allows the industrial and artisanal production of camel cheese with the curd firmness and production yield experienced with cheese made from cow’s milk.
The Camel Cheese Manual is free to download from the Chr. Hansen website.