Sep 18, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part Eight

As with many cheese products, Brie gets its name from the place it originated, in this case Reuil-en-Brie, situated about 60 miles south of Paris.

Approximately 6.6 gallons of unpasteurized cow's milk are needed to make one round of Brie. This soft cheese has a smooth sweet taste with hints of hazelnut and fruit. Brie comes in the form of a wheel and is off-white in color, with a smooth, creamy inside surrounded by a whitish rind that is typically eaten along with the inside.

Legend has it that during his reign in the 8th century, the French Emperor, Charlemagne, stopped at a monastery in Reuil-en-Brie where he tasted, and fell in love with, the soft creamy cheese he was served for dinner. He is said to have ordered large quantities to be shipped to him, causing an increase in production that lasted through the centuries. He apparently wasn't the only French aristocrat with a taste for Brie. It's also rumored that King Louis XVI's dying wish was to have one last taste of Brie.

The curd in Brie making is obtained by adding rennet to raw milk and heating it. Molds are filled with several thin layers of cheese and drained for about eighteen hours. The cheese is then taken out of the molds, salted, injected with a cheese mould, then aged in a cellar for at least four to five weeks. If left to mature longer, from several months to a year, it becomes stronger in flavour and taste. The cheese develops a white mould around it and the creamy part turns to a light straw color.

There are now many varieties of Brie made all over the world, including plain Brie, herbed varieties, double and triple Brie and versions of Brie made with other types of milk. But the only true Brie must come from France where there are only five or six real Brie producers left. It has a very fragile curd that is easily broken and requires a special room built only for the use of making Brie. It has to maintain just the right temperature or the maturation process will not work. This makes Brie hard to make and evidently requires quite an investment.

Serving Brie

Brie is usually purchased either in a full wheel or as a wheel segment no more than an inch thick. The white rind of the cheese is completely edible, and should be eaten along with the soft inside as a whole, although it's quite easy to trim off if you prefer not to eat it.

Care should be taken when purchasing Brie. Underripe Brie will feel hard when gently pressed with your finger, while overripe Brie will feel too soft and runny to the touch and have a distinct smell of ammonia. The exterior should be firm, while the center should be springy but not watery.

Ripened Brie should be refrigerated and eaten within a few days. It stops aging once it's sliced so if it's not ripe enough when you cut into it, it's not going to change. Ripe, uncut Brie can be frozen for up to six months.

It should be brought to room temperature or warmed before being eaten. It can be served alone with crackers or along with other cheeses and is a key ingredient to many appetizers.


Brie-stuffed Chicken Breasts Recipe
Sausage, Pepper, Brie & Pine Nuts in Puff Pastry Recipe
Spicy Roast Beef & Brie Panini Recipe
Upscale Cuban Panini Sandwiches Recipe
Brie Cranberry and Chicken Pizza
Baked Chicken and Brie
Salmon with Mango and Brie
Apple, Brie and Walnut Salad
Asparagus with Brie
Brie and Mandarin Salad
Linguine with Spinach and Brie
Pear and Brie Quesadillas
Salmon with Mango and Brie

Since Brie is traditionally made in France, and requires a large investment to start, it has not been recommended or advised, to make at home. Brie requires special rooms and cooking practices that only a mass producer, would go through the trouble for. You can, however, purchase Brie online at Springbank Cheese.

1 comment:

Angela Ackerman said...

I am in love with this post--love Brie! Can't wait to try some of these recipes!