The Fuzzy Debate: A Closer Look at Brie Cheese

Can consuming the fuzzy mold that appears on brie cheese over time be considered safe? Absolutely. The likelihood is high that it’s penicillium candidum, the white mold responsible for giving brie cheese its identity. This is the identical mold that you might find on your pumpkin or various vegetables that have lingered in the crisper of your refrigerator for an extended period.

What Does Brie Look Like?

If you are not too familiar with brie, you may have seen it and wondered if it was supposed to look furry.

Its appearance can be a bit off-putting and weird.

But don’t be alarmed, this is completely normal, and brie is created to be fuzzy!

Speaking personally, it’s one of my favorite cheeses, but it did take a while before I was persuaded to eat the rind.

Especially when you find out that the fuzzy texture on the brie is mold!

Typically, you will buy a whole brie, small or large, and the exterior should be bright white.

It should have that delightful fuzzy appearance, which some people describe as being like a cat.

In fact, in France, Brie is known as poil de chat, which translates as cat fur!

The mold is likely to be penicillium candidum, and it is completely harmless. 

It genuinely enhances the flavor of the brie!

There are other cheeses too that are classed as part of the same family, such as Camembert, that have a fuzzy rind.

The development of the mold is known as blooming, and it’s the spores that are soft and fluffy.

Should You Remove the Fuzzy Rind on Brie?

Now that we have established that brie is supposed to look fuzzy, what do you do with the moldy rind?

After all, it doesn’t look that appealing!

But surprisingly, you are certainly recommended to eat it, and it is said to enhance the flavor of the cheese.

I can vouch for that; it makes a difference.

But admittedly, it’s not a pleasant sensation when you first put it in your mouth.

Once you have gotten over that, you can begin to appreciate the subtle earthy taste it adds to the brie. 

Some describe it as being like brown or burnt butter, but to me, it’s more like a mushroom flavor.

However, I appreciate that some of you will not be persuaded to eat the fuzzy rind under any circumstances!

This is a subject that needs more information, so head over to my article on removing the rind on brie

The development of the mold is encouraged by a professional, an expert in how to age cheese, known as an affineur. 

Everyone’s Buying French Brie After Seeing This Genius Idea

My Final Thoughts

Brie is supposed to look fuzzy; this appearance is caused by the presence of mold. 

It does not affect the cheese; it is safe to eat.

It is recommended to consume the rind, as it enhances the flavor of the brie.

The mold, which is called penicillium candidum, produces spores that bloom and then create a fluffy texture.

So, next time you treat yourself to brie, why not try eating the rind too?

How has your experience with different types of Brie (or similar cheeses) influenced your preference for cheese textures and flavors, especially considering the role of mold in their development?

Let us know in the comments below!

FAQ Section

1. Is the white mold on Brie cheese safe to eat?

  • Yes, the white mold on Brie is not only safe to eat but is a crucial part of its flavor and texture development. It is penicillium candidum, a beneficial mold.
  • Some people may prefer to remove the rind due to personal taste preferences, but it is entirely edible and contributes to the cheese’s character.

2. Can eating the rind of Brie affect its taste?

  • Eating the rind of Brie can significantly enhance the cheese’s overall flavor profile, adding complexity and depth.
  • The rind’s texture and taste may not appeal to everyone, so it’s a matter of personal preference. Experimenting with both can help determine your taste.

3. How should Brie cheese be stored?

  • Brie should be kept in the refrigerator, wrapped in its original packaging or wax paper, and placed inside a loose-fitting bag to maintain humidity while allowing it to breathe.
  • If properly stored, Brie can last for several weeks. However, its flavor and texture will continue to evolve, so it’s often best enjoyed sooner.

4. What does it mean if Brie has a strong ammonia smell?

  • A strong ammonia smell can indicate that the Brie is overripe and past its optimal consumption period. While it might still be safe to eat, the flavor may be too intense for some.
  • If the ammonia smell is slight and dissipates upon airing, the cheese is likely still enjoyable. However, a persistent strong odor suggests it’s best to discard the cheese.

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