How to Make Brie

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You can make your own Brie at home.
You can make your own Brie at home. (Image: brie image by rachid amrous-spleen from Fotolia.com)

Brie is a soft, smooth and almost gooey cheese that comes from the French province of Seine-et-Marne. According to legend, in the 8th century, Charlemagne had his first taste of Brie cheese and immediately fell in love with it. Brie is characterized by its furry, white edible mold. The main difference between Brie and Camembert (Camambert is what you would typically find in most grocery stores in the U.S.) is merely a matter of shape and size. Brie can be smeared on crackers, paired with meat in sandwiches, mixed in salads or wrapped in dough and baked for a number of delicious treats.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 gallon milk
  • 1/2 tsp. calcium chloride
  • 1/8 tsp. of Mmeso culture (Like EZAL)
  • 1/8 tsp. of P. Camembert
  • 1/8 tsp. of G. Camembert
  • One drop of B. linnens
  • 1/8 tsp. rennet
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • Foil
  • Large pot
  • Candy thermometer
  • Plates
  • Plastic draining map
  • Plastic shoebox
  • Perforated cheese molds (about 4-inch diameter and 8 inches high)
  • Cool box or refrigerator that can be kept at 55 degrees

Heat the milk and calcium chloride to 90 degrees.

Immediately add the meso, camembert cultures, and B. linnens once the milk is up to temperature. Cook for one hour at 90 degrees. Watch the cheese carefully and do not let the temperature go above 90.

Add the rennet after the cheese has been cooking (ripening) for one hour. Let the cheese rest for two hours.

Cut the curd and gently press into the cheese molds. This recipe will fill two molds as listed above. Let the molds sit on a plate for an hour.

Place a plate on the top of the mold and flip it after an hour, so that the cheese is face down on the plate. Repeat this step every few hours; placing another plate on top and flipping the moulds. In a few hours, the cheese should shrink down to less than 2 inches thick.

Place the cheeses in a cold box or refrigerate the molds over night at no more that 55 degrees.

In the morning, remove the cheeses from their molds. The cheese should slide freely, while still retaining their shape.

Pour salt onto a plate so it is spread over the plate evenly. Place a cheese in the salt and then turn it over, so that both sides are now sealed with salt. Finish by rolling the edges in the salt and wiping off any excess.

Place the your prepared cheeses on a plastic draining matt that has been cut to fit into a plastic shoebox. Put the lid on the box, but do not seal it, leaving a 1/2-inch opening. Keep the box in a cool place. The ideal temperature for brie to ripen is 55 degrees at 85 percent humidity. The shoebox will maintain the humidity, but you may need a cool box or refrigerator, which you can set to the above described temperature.

After 10 days, remove the cheeses from the shoe box. The cheeses will have the skin, a furry surface mold, which is the signature skin of brie. At this point, wrap them in foil and place in the refrigerator for another 20 days.

Tips & Warnings

  • Brie is a delicate cheese, so make sure you handle with care while making it, so that the cheese doesn't fall apart in your hands.
  • Brie goes quickly. It will be ripe in 30 days and soup in 60 days, so be sure to watch it carefully.
  • This 1 gallon batch will make two 4-inch cheeses, which are about 1 1/2 inches thick when ripe.
  • If this isn't your first time making cheese and you prefer using different cultures, you may substitute for a different mesophylic starter. Remember that you'll need at least one Camembert culture.
  • If you'd like to be extra cautious in your sterilization process, ask your local piercing/tattoo parlor if they will autoclave your equipment for a small fee.
  • Sterilize with boiling water, not alcohol. Additionally, you can sterilize cloth by ironing it on a very hot setting.

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