Famed for its fluffy white rind and smooth interior, Brie is a genuine delicacy of opulent splendor. Made using milk from either cows or goats, the flavor is soothing, mellow and has a suggestion of nuttiness. Subtle tones of fresh mushrooms and sautéed butter cover its profile, extending into a creamy and smooth finish. A slice of tempered Brie has a soft texture, sometimes slightly runny.
Originally from Seine-et-Marne in northern France, Brie is cherished for its impressionable character, and even graced the tables of royalty in the Middle Ages. Enhancing its surroundings like color to a painting, Brie is thought of as a complement like few other cheeses.
Often compared to Camembert, Brie is milder and has lighter tones of cream and butter, whereas Camembert holds deeper tones of mushrooms and herbs. Both are covered in iconic white mold rinds - completely edible and full of flavor.
Complement Brie with walnuts, honey and plum chutney, or melt it in the oven for a rich snack best shared with friends over a glass of wine. Enjoy it at room temperature by removing it from the refrigerator at least half an hour before serving.
Achieving the right consistency and full complement of flavors is a matter of letting the cheese tend to itself. Allowing the rind to smooth and ripen the interior is crucial to the development of taste and texture.
The process begins with pasteurized or raw milk from cows, and enzymes and rennet are added to the milk, helping it coagulate and curdle. A yeast culture is also added to foster the white mold. Once the curd has formed, it is cut and ladled into molds, and excess whey is drained off. It is then carefully brined to prevent excess mold while also regulating acidity, as too much would impair the smooth flavor. The cheese then rests for a week, encouraging the rind to bloom and the nuances to enhance. Usually, Brie goes from firm to ripe in 4-5 weeks, with ripened variants displaying an almost runny consistency.
The use of raw or pasteurized milk varies depending on the type. Similarly, the use of either vegetarian or animal rennet is specific to each cheese. Organic Brie is normally pasteurized but checking the packaging or asking the cheesemonger is generally a good idea if you are unsure.
Whatever the recipe or occasion, if you are looking to replace Brie for something else, then soft-ripened cheeses with their cohesive and fluffy rinds give the best results.
Slightly firmer and with a stronger flavor, Camembert shares many of the same qualities found in Brie. With a taste of earthy mushrooms and a slight hint of caramelized butter, this white mold cheese could easily be mistaken for its counterpart.
A soft, delicate rind sprinkled like fine layers of powdered snow atop a creamy center makes our Castello Double Créme White worthy of self-indulgence and a great substitute for brie. Smooth, buttery and deliciously well-rounded, this white mold cheese boasts all the qualities of a creamy delight.
Curious about the world of cheese? Here's everything you need to know about how to store, serve and cut cheese!