Sometimes brie is known as the queen of cheese. Brie is one of the classic French cheeses, white mold-ripened and lovely.
I had always been told that brie was one of the most difficult cheeses to make. I suppose after hearing that, the challenge was set to master this cheese. I love to make brie. It is beautiful and challenging, a true cheesemaker’s cheese. This recipe works well with either cow or goat milk.
Open-bottom round molds
1 gallon pasteurized cow or goat milk
1/4 teaspoon Mesophilic DVI MA culture
1/8 teaspoon Penicillum candidum
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup nonchlorinated water
noniodized salt for brine
In a large cooking pot, heat the milk to 86ºF (30ºC). Add the culture and Penicillum candidum. Mix in well, stirring top to bottom. Add the rennet solution and stir again, top to bottom. Let sit for 20 to 30 minutes or until a clean break is achieved.
After clean break is achieved, cut the curd into 1/2-inch (13-mm) pieces. Allow the curd to rest for 10 minutes.
Prepare the molds. The classic format is an open-bottom round mold. If you are using these types of molds, a mat will be required. I use two cookie sheets; I drilled four holes in each cookie sheet, one in each corner. These holes allow the whey to escape. Line the cookie sheet with plastic canvas (used for needlework) or regular cheese mats. Place the mold on top of the mat.
Ladle the curds into the mold, keeping your hand on the mold, until the curd is “seated.” If you let go, chances are the curd will seep out, and you will lose the curd. Keeping your hand on the mold for a minute or two will prevent this. Fill each mold half full with curd and go onto the next mold. After you are sure the molds are not going to slide, fill the first mold all the way to the top with curd. Proceed with the next mold. When all the molds are full, place another piece of matting and then another cookie sheet on top of them.
After about 20 minutes, you will flip everything at once. To do this, make sure the cookie sheets are lined up, put your hands on opposite ends, gather your thoughts and quickly flip the whole thing. The cheese will resituate itself in the molds. Flip the whole thing again in another 20 minutes. And then flip it one more time, 20 minutes later. I recommend flipping it over the sink as the first couple of times. You may have trouble—flipping this apparatus is an acquired skill!
Allow the cheese to sit in the molds on the mat overnight.
The next morning, unmold the cheese and let it air dry a few hours. When the cheese is firm, place it in a fully saturated brine for 20 minutes, then air dry again.
Place in a 50ºF to 55ºF (10 to 12.7ºC) environment and allow the mold to develop. You will see it starting in 3 to 5 days. Let the mold develop for 7 to 12 days until it entirely covers the cheese. Then wrap the cheese in wax or cheese paper and continue to age it for about 10 more days. It is ready to eat at any point, but will be well developed at 21 days. Serve this cheese at room temperature.
Excerpted from Homemade Cheese: Recipes for 50 Cheeses from Artisan Cheesemakers by Janet Hurst
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