Bring On The Brie

By: Bill Wagner, National Sales Manager

Brie happens to be my favorite Cheese probably because it brings back so many fond family memories. Brie was the cheese of choice at our family gatherings (mostly around this time of the year, Thanksgiving & Christmas).

Brie is most likely one of the best known French cheeses and is also known as "The Queen of Cheeses". Brie is a soft, creamy cheese named after the French Region Brie, where it was originally created. Several hundred years ago, Brie was one of the tributes which had to be paid to the French kings.

Brie is a soft cows' milk cheese made by adding rennet to raw milk, heating it to 98.6 degrees and then casting into molds, where it is drained for about 20 hours. After this process is complete, it is removed from the mold, salted and injected with cheese mold. Brie is then aged for five or six weeks.

Brie which is either consumed in the USA or made in the USA is much different from French Brie. USA made or consumed Brie must be pasteurized unlike French Brie which is made from unpasteurized milk.

Brie cheese is mild and slightly sweet in flavor. If aged for several months to a year, the flavor becomes stronger. If over-ripened, the cheese takes on flavors of ammonia.

There are flavored versions of Brie cheese including herbed Brie and Brie made with different types of milk (i.e. Goats Milk). Any of these variations affect the flavor and character of the cheese.

Brie cheese has a soft, almost molten core and a harder outer rind that is made of the cheese molds. People wondering how to eat Brie cheese often wonder if the outer, grayish hard rind needs to be removed prior to eating. This rind is meant to be eaten, and adds to the flavor and character of the Brie.

The Basics of Brie Cheese:

  • Store Brie cheese tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.

  • Prior to eating, remove the Brie cheese from the refrigerator and allow it to warm to room temperature.

  • Slice the Brie into bite sized pieces.

  • Serve the brie with a crusty bread or a plainly-flavored cracker.

  • Brie pairs well with light colored fruits, such as pears or grapes.

  • Classic wine pairings with Brie include acidic, herbaceous, dry whites like Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio) or Sauvignon Blanc.

When considering how to eat Brie cheese, you might want to try something more than just the basic preparations of Brie. Baked Brie cheeses are soft, warm, gooey and delicious. You can bake Brie alone, or wrapped in puff pastry (Brie en Croute).

Baked Brie

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • Place the Brie on a glass pie plate or some other decorative oven-proof plate.

  • Bake the Brie for 10 to 12 minutes, until the center is soft.

  • Serve sliced with fruit or on a warm, crusty bread or top with fruit(s) or fruit preserves of your choice.

Winona Foods now offers Winona Reserve Slicing Loaf Brie (Winona Foods Item #13578). The rectangular shape makes for easy slicing in uniform square/rectangular pieces.

Brie Cheese:

  • Made from cow's milk

  • Country of origin: France

  • Region: Seine-et-Marne

  • Type: soft, soft-ripened

  • Fat content: 8.4 g/100g

  • Texture: soft-ripened

  • Rind: bloomy

  • Color: white