Question: What is Brie cheese?
True Brie cheese is unpasteurized and illegal to import to the US
Answer: True French Brie is a soft farmhouse cheese made of unpasteurized cow's milk and is illegal to import to the United States. Cheeses made with raw milk must be aged at least sixty days in order to qualify for US importation which would render the Brie too overripe for consumption. However, there are versions of Brie made of pasteurized whole and skim milk that are readily available.
Brie made of unpasteurized milk develops a natural, off-white mold on the exterior of the rounds. The white moldy rind is quite edible and is usually eaten. Those Bries made of pasteurized milk must be sprayed with artificial spores to grow the mold. The cheese takes anywhere from 1 to 3 months to ripen, depending on the size of the flat discs. When properly ripened, the center of the cheese is soft and will ooze as if warmed.
The flavor of French Brie is rich and fruity and has a creamy texture. Bries made of pasteurized milk are somewhat milder in flavor. Ripening usually takes 1 to 2 months and progresses from outside in.
More About Brie and Brie Recipes:• Brie Cooking Tips and Preparation
• What is Brie? FAQ
• Brie History and Varieties
Brie Photo © 2007 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.