Brie cheese is a soft cow's milk cheese named after Brie, the French province in which it originated.
To make brie, cow milk is treated with enzymes to separate out the curds. These are shaped into molds, after which they are brined. The brined rounds are then left to ripen, during which time the moldy rind will develop and cause the inside to mature.
Authentic French brie is made with raw milk and left unstabilized. These will mature in about four weeks. Brie intended for sale in the United States must be stabilized and made with pasteurized milk, after which it is inoculated with the mold necessary to ripen it.
Brie is pale in color with a slight grayish tinge under crusty white mold; it is very soft, buttery, creamy, and savory with a hint of ammonia. The interior should be soft, with a satin like sheen. It should have a slight yellow-brown color; white Brie is under-ripe. The white moldy rind is edible and mild in flavor. Brie made with pasteurized milk has a milder flavor than that made with raw milk.
There are now many varieties of Brie made all over the world, including plain Brie, herbed varieties, and versions of Brie made with other types of milk. Brie is perhaps the most well-known French cheese, and is popular throughout the world. Despite the variety of Bries, the French government officially certifies only two types of Brie to be sold under that name: Brie de Meaux (right) and Brie de Melun.
Use and consumptionEdit
Brie is often served as part of a cheese board, often with fruits, bread, crackers, nuts, and preserves. It is best served at or above room temperature, and it can be baked. The rind is edible.
Brie should be stored in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for a few months, although this may affect the texture.