Keep in mind that these tips are from my own experience. I’m not a party organizer, nor am I a sommelier or a turophile (a cheese connoisseur). I just love cheese, wine and spending time with my friends.
Thankfully, Brie is one of those cheeses that provide signs it is past its prime.
When buying Brie, don’t be shy. Pick it up and poke it a bit.
You’ll know the Brie is ripe enough when the sides “give a little” if you squeeze them carefully —it shouldn’t be firm—which indicates ripeness. The top and bottom will be firm. The rind should have a whitish colour.
Also, (if you can) give the wheel of Brie a sniff. If you detect a hint of ammonia, walk away. The odour is a sure sign the cheese has gone bad.
However, there is a longer aged variety known as Brie noir or black Brie that has a stronger flavour and smell.
Here are things to look for:
- Purchase Brie rounds that are no more than 1-inch thick. Thicker rounds will be overripe on the edges and underripe in the centre.
- It should appear that the cheese is slightly bulging within the rind.
- An overripe Brie has a brownish, gummy rind.
- If you are purchasing just a slice of Brie, look for a soft interior with a satiny sheen.
- The exterior should be firm, while the centre should be springy but not watery. Underripe Brie will feel rigid when gently pressed with your finger, while overripe Brie will feel too soft and runny to the touch.
- The cheese should have a sweet odour. Overripe Brie will smell like ammonia.
When in doubt, head to your local cheesemonger and let them make the selection for you.
What is the difference between double cream and triple cream Brie?
While shopping for Brie, you’ll notice different variations such as Double Crème, Triple Crème Brie, and even a Brie Log for a more snackable Brie option.
The main difference is the amount of cream used to make the cheese. Extra cream is added to these cheeses before the curd is formed. The difference is in fat content and texture.
Double cream Brie is the typical method, and the cheese must have between 60 to 75% milkfat.
Triple cream adds additional cream to the cheese for an even softer and richer texture. Triple-cream cheese (or Fromage triple-crème) contains more than 75% butterfat in dry matter.
Note: While the term “triple-cream” may sound ultra decadent, these rich, buttery cheeses are not as fattening as you might think. Fat content in cheese is measured in parts per dry matter, and since so much of soft cheese is actually water weight, the fat solids are significantly less than in hard cheese, like Parmesan. Triple-cream Brie is actually less fattening than the same weight of an aged Gruyère, due entirely to moisture content.
Which one should I use?
To spreading room-temperature products, I would use Triple-cream cheese. Triple Crème would have the most cream. This makes the Brie taste butterier and gives it a creamier texture.
If you are melting the cheese, remember that butterfat melts at a relatively low temperature (90 to 95°F/32 to 35°C). Even with the stabilizers present in almost all supermarket cheeses, a triple-cream will turn liquid and gooey when heated.
Look for wheels labelled “triple-cream” for the gooiest, meltiest baked Brie. Otherwise, be sure to avoid a selection that is triple cream. After it is baked, it will be too runny when cut open. Therefore, select double cream.
What’s the difference between Camembert and Brie?
They both are soft-ripened cheeses with similar creamy textures. Camembert has a more pungent, earthy and fermented mushroom-like taste and aroma. Brie is milder, with a buttery, nutty, and fruity palate. Brie is denser with about 65% milkfat, and Camembert is less dense with about 45% milkfat.
Brie is a classic cheese with a rich texture and history to match! It’s sure to add an indulgent and sophisticated touch to any meal, cheese board or snack without being too overpowering. Once you know how to eat Brie, there are endless options for using its creamy, desirable flavour. Go ahead and try Brie in new ways and be sure to share your creations with us by tagging @fast2eatca on Instagram.
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