Can You Eat the Rind on Brie? (Explained!)

It’s a question that confuses many people, can you eat the rind on brie?

It seems to be a different answer depending on which cheese you particularly enjoy.

So, what about Brie? Is the rind safe to eat?

How does the cheese get its rind?

Does the rind mean that the Brie has gone moldy?

Does it add any flavor to the cheese?

How would you remove it if you didn’t like it?

Well, so many questions; let’s get to the answers!

Brie has a white rind which is safe to eat and enhances the flavor of the cheese. The rind is formed by the addition of Penicillium candidum during the cheesemaking process. It forms a white mold on the outside of the Brie and is completely edible. It is known as a blooming rind, as the mold “blooms” on the outside of the Brie. It also protects the Brie from bacteria and microorganisms. The rind has an earthy flavor, similar to brown butter or mushrooms. Brie should have a fresh, white rind and should be discarded if it has brown spots.

Is It Okay to Eat the Rind of Brie?

Brie is undoubtedly a delicious, creamy French cheese, but it does divide opinions when it comes to eating the rind.

I personally enjoy it, but I know there are others who remove it, perhaps without having tried it!

Let’s find out what the rind is actually made from, and see if that sways your opinion one way or the other!

You will have noticed that the rind is white in color and is quite firm to the touch.

Thus, it may surprise you to learn that the rind is actually mold.

We typically associate mold with being green or blue or wet and slimy.

The mold is actually induced deliberately during the cheesemaking process.

The Brie is injected with Penicillium candidum, which reacts with the surface of the cheese to form the characteristic white rind.

But do be aware that this is not the same Penicillium that we associate with antibiotics.

Unfortunately, you can’t cure infections by eating the rind of Brie!

This method of purposely injecting mold produces what is known as a “blooming” rind.

The mold continually “blooms” and has to be patted down by the cheesemaker until it firms up.

Did you know that if a cheese has a rind, then the interior is known as the “paste”?

Does the Rind on Brie Affect the Flavor?

Having established that it’s fine to actually eat the rind on Brie, what difference does it make to the taste?

It is actually supposed to enhance the flavor of the cheese, and I have to say I definitely agree with this.

It’s quite subtle, not overpowering, and is best described as earthy, perhaps reminiscent of mushrooms.

Which makes sense, as you are eating mold!

Some people compare it to the taste of brown butter, with almost a bitter flavor.

If it has a very strong taste or odor, there is a possibility that the cheese could have gone off.

The rind should be firm to the touch, with quite a velvety texture, and it should be a uniform white color.

If there are any evident brown spots or the rind is wet or slimy, it needs to be discarded. 

The cheese underneath the rind may still be edible, so examine it carefully for spoilage.

How to Remove the Rind on Brie?

If you really can’t face eating the rind on Brie, is there a special way to remove it?

Let’s assume you are eating your Brie at home, as, believe it or not, there is a certain etiquette if you are in company!

I find the easiest way is to stand the Brie on its edge and then use a sharp, serrated knife to remove both ends. 

If the cheese is very soft and difficult to cut, try placing the Brie in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes.

Next, you need to tackle the sides of the Brie, and you can use the same knife and keep turning the cheese to cut off the edges.

Now, if you are at a dinner party or in a restaurant, you may be presented with a large wheel of Brie.

It is not acceptable to just scoop out the cheese and leave the rind on the board!

This is seen to be very bad manners!  

You will need to take a piece of the Brie, including the rind, and transfer it to your own plate.

And then remove the rind on your own plate, thus not upsetting other guests who don’t want to see the empty rind on the board! 

Should You Eat Cheese Rinds?

Final Thoughts

It is perfectly safe to eat the rind on Brie, and it will actually improve the flavor of the cheese.

The rind is a form of mold that is deliberately cultivated with the addition of Penicillium candidum.

It should have a subtle earthy flavor, similar to mushrooms, and be white in color.

If not liked, the rind can be removed with a sharp knife.

If you are wondering about the difference between a natural rind, and a man-made one, read my article about why Babybel is coated in wax.

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