Brie cheese is the term used in context of soft cows' cheese, made in France. The cheese has been named after 'Brie', the French province in which it originated. Pale in color, it usually has a slight grayish tinge, under crusty white mold. This white mold is perfectly fit for consumption and is not to be separated from the cheese, before you eat it. Brie cheese is extremely soft in texture and has a hint of ammonia. A legend in France goes that Charlemagne, Charles the Great - King of the Franks, had his first taste of Brie cheese in the 8th century and instantly fell in love with it.
Making Brie Cheese
Brie cheese is produced from whole or semi-skimmed milk. Rennet is added to raw milk, after which it is heated to a maximum temperature of 37 °C. This results in the formation of curd. Thereafter, the cheese is cast into 20cm molds, possibly with a traditional perforated ladle called "pelle à brie". The mold is filled with several thin layers of cheese and then drained for approximately 18 hours. After the cheese is taken out of the molds, it is salted and inoculated with cheese mold (Penicillium candidum, Penicillium camemberti and/or Brevibacterium linens). Finally, it is left to age in a cellar, for at least four weeks.
Types of Brie Cheese
Brie cheese is produced across the world, in many varieties and that includes plain Brie, herbed varieties, double and triple Brie and Brie made with other types of milk. However, the French Atlantic government officially certifies only two types of cheese to be sold under the name 'Brie' - Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun.
Brie de Meaux
Brie de Meaux is the cheese manufactured outside Paris, primarily in the eastern part of the Parisian basin. It was initially known as "King's Cheese" and enjoyed by the peasantry as well as nobility. It was in 1980 that the cheese was granted the protection of AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) status.
Brie de Melun
Brie de Melun is produced by a different method than Brie de Meaux, only its aroma is stronger, more robust and more salty than the latter. Though traditionally made in the village of Melun, near Paris, it is now being produced in the region of Seine-et-Marne as well.