What is brie cheese?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “What is brie cheese?” and will discuss how brie cheese is made?

What is brie cheese?

Brie is a soft, buttery cheese that originated in France and is now made all over the world. It features a creamy interior and a white mold rind that is delicate, bloomy, and tasty. 

Brie is generally prepared from cow’s milk; however, goat’s milk can also be used. In this type of cheese, starter lactic acid bacteria (Lactococcus spp.) develop an acid and it creates a favorable environment for yeasts and molds (fungi). The fungi grow on the surface of the cheese (1). The cheese has a high-fat content, is high in calcium, and has a high sodium concentration. It’s also high in protein, as well as vitamins A and B-6. In a portion of 100 g, Brie cheese has 347 calories, 31 g fat, from which 22 g are saturated fat, 17 g protein and 1.2 g salt (4).

Fast Facts about brie cheese

• Origin: France

• Texture: Soft, creamy, runny

 • Rind: Edible, soft, bloomy

• Source: Traditionally cow’s milk; other kinds utilize goat’s milk

What is the source of brie cheese

Brie is a soft-ripened, off-white cheese made primarily from cow’s milk. It has a bloomy, white mold rind that is considered a delicacy. Brie is a soft farmhouse cheese that originated in Seine-et-Marne, France. Brie has a creamy, buttery, fruity flavor that becomes increasingly earthy as it ages. It has a runny, creamy texture and an earthy scent. 

Because authentic French brie is prepared with raw milk, it cannot be imported into the United States and must be matured for at least 60 days to qualify for importation. Unfortunately, after that amount of time, the brie would be too ripe to eat. 

However, France does export a stabilized brie that is sold in the United States. It’s a soft-ripened cheese with a creamy-white interior and a white rind that’s often prepared with cow’s milk and marketed in rounds. French brie that has been stabilized is chopped before it has aged, giving it longer shelf life.

The flavor is creamy, buttery, and rich, similar to traditional French raw-milk brie, and it gets somewhat more earthy and fruity with age. Pasteurized milk brie has a softer flavor profile than authentic French brie. 

They’re really popular, and they’ve been made all around the world, including in the United States. Brie is prepared from pasteurized whole and skim cow’s milk, as well as goat’s milk, and is commonly available and reasonably priced in both the United States and abroad.

Camembert vs. Brie

Brie and Camembert are two soft-ripened cow’s milk cheeses with edible white mold rinds. The main microflora of these cheese are consisting of yeasts (Kluyveromyces marxianus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Debaryomyces hansenii), mold Geotrichum candidum and Penicillium camemberti) and bacteria and coryneform bacteria (Arthrobacter, Micrococcus, Corynebacterium, etc.) (1). Despite their comparable flavors, brie is gentler, with creamy and buttery undertones, whilst Camembert is richer, with mushroom notes and a funkier fragrance. 

Brie wheels are 9 or 14 inches in diameter, while Camembert rounds are 5 inches in diameter, and brie has a greater milk fat percentage than Camembert.

How Is Brie Cheese made?

Brie is created from raw cow’s milk that has been pasteurized or unpasteurized. To help the milk thicken and curdle, enzymes and rennet are added. As starter cultures, mixtures of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis and L. lactis subsp. cremoris are used. Then, Penicillium camemberti and Geotrichum candidum are used as secondary microorganisms (1). The whey is drained off after the curd is sliced and ladled into spherical molds. To allow the rind to bloom, the cheese is salted and left to rest for a week. Brie ripens in four weeks on average. The final pH and of Brie is 7 and the final humidity is 50% (1).

What are the substitutes for brie?

Another creamy, soft-ripened cheese with a bloomy rind that can be replaced for Brie is Camembert, Saint-André, Brillat-Savarin, or Mt Tam. Like Brie, other mold cheeses are also Stilton, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola (1).

What are the uses of brie cheese?

Brie makes a great addition to any cheese board, and it’s best served at room temperature with fruit, nuts, baguette slices, and crackers. Brie bakes wonderfully on its own or wrapped in pastry, and goes great with bread and fruit. Slices or chunks of brie can be melted in gratins, casseroles, sauces, grilled cheese sandwiches, and panini, as well as on pizzas and flatbreads.

How to store Brie?

Brie should be kept refrigerated in its original packaging until ready to consume. For the greatest flavor and texture, allow the cheese to come to room temperature for about an hour. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil for up to two weeks after opening in the original wrapping or wax paper.

Examine the brie before eating it. The disc should feel plump in its container or carton, and the rind should be fresh and white. Look for patches that are moist, slimy, or brown. Brie cheese is made of raw milk and microbial risk assessment studies indicate that raw milk soft cheese has higher risk than low moisture cheese (2). In the refrigerator, Brie cheese can be stored for a week (3).

Brie can be frozen for up to sixthree months if desired (3). To freeze wedges, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or foil and place them in zip-close bags with all of the air squeezed out. Allow the cheese to defrost in the refrigerator overnight before using it for two days. The consistency of the brie may be modified slightly by freezing; thus, it’s best used in cooked recipes.

Is It Possible to Eat the Rind on the Brie cheese?

Yes, it’s a resounding yes. Brie has a white, velvety rind as a result of natural mold growth—a penicillin-like substance (usually Penicillium candidum). These microorganisms are responsible for some characteristics of the cheeses and contribute to appearance, color, texture, taste, aroma (1). On the outside of the rounds, this mold creates the bloomy rind  that distinguishes brie. The rind is edible, tasty, and regarded as a delicacy, and it is commonly consumed. 

It pairs beautifully with the cheese because it’s sweet and pillowy soft. Some people believe that discarding the peel is heresy. The rind is responsible for the cheese’s ooey-gooey texture. The cheese’s lipids and proteins are broken down by the living rind, resulting in a creamy to runny texture over time.

Pasteurized milk brie is injected with mold to grow. Depending on the size of the flat discs, the cheese might take anywhere from one to three months to ripen. The middle of the cheese is soft and oozes as if it has been warmed when properly ripened. Brie cheese and other soft cheese are related to antioxidant potential. These health properties are largely attributed to the bioactive compounds that are formed during the cheese ripening process and released during digestion and include bioactive peptides and phenolic compounds (4).

Other FAQs about brie cheese that you may be interested in.

Can you eat the rind on brie cheese?

Can brie cheese go bad?

Can you freeze brie?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “What is brie cheese?” and discussed how brie cheese is made?

References

  1. Hayaloglu, A. A. Cheese: Microbiology of cheese. Reference Module in Food Science, 2016,1, 1-11.
  2. Choi, Kyoung-Hee, et al. Cheese microbial risk assessments—A review. Asian-Australas. J. Anim. Sci., 2016, 29, 307.
  3. Boyer, Renee R., and Julie Michelle McKinney. Food storage guidelines for consumers. (2018).
  4. Plante, Aimee M., Aoife L. McCarthy, and Fiona O’Halloran. Cheese as a functional food for older adults: comparing the bioactive properties of different cheese matrices following simulated gastrointestinal in vitro digestion. Int J Food Sci Nutr, 2021, 72, 456-469

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.