Brie may taste like blue cheese due to contamination with bacteria, storage near blue cheese, or mislabeling. Contamination can introduce blue cheese cultures or odors. While it’s still safe to eat, the taste changes. Identifying contamination includes checking for blue mold on the white rind or ammonia smell.
What Causes Brie to Taste Like Blue Cheese?
Brie and blue cheese are made in different ways, with different cultures and different periods of aging.
So, if one tastes like the other, then you know something has gone wrong somewhere in the process!
And, if brie tastes like blue cheese, and it’s not one of your favorite flavors, then it could come as a shock.
So, let’s look for the possible culprits.
Most likely, it will have been contaminated with bacteria.
This could simply be an error by the manufacturer, in which case, it’s safe to eat.
Or it could be an indication that the brie has gone off and needs to be discarded.
Quite honestly, it can be difficult to know what has happened.
Generally, there will be a recognizable smell of ammonia if the brie has gone bad.
And, of course, we recognize brie by its pure white rind, so if there are any obvious mold spots, that’s a bad sign.
Having said that, if the entire rind has gone brown, that’s fine!
Brie and blue cheese are both made from cow’s milk, but that’s pretty much where the similarity ends.
They have different flavor profiles due to the culture or bacteria used in the cheese-making process.
Each cheese does have an element of mold, but in brie, it is more subtle, just in the rind, and it is due to the addition of Penicillium candidum.
With blue cheese, the mold flavor is more pronounced and visible, thanks to Penicillium roqueforti.
How Can I Tell If My Brie Has Been Contaminated?
As mentioned above, it is difficult to tell if your brie has been contaminated, or if it is due to bacteria.
However, there are other factors you can consider.
All cheeses are capable of absorbing other flavors and odors.
So, if the brie has been stored near blue cheese, perhaps unwrapped in a delicatessen, it could take on a strong taste.
It’s the same in your fridge if you don’t wrap the brie tightly after use or, preferably, keep it in a sealed container.
Even using the same knife or chopping board for both kinds of cheese can cause contamination.
As unlikely as it seems, perhaps the brie is not contaminated but has simply been labeled incorrectly and is blue cheese.
It may have been misidentified if sold loose in a smaller shop or delicatessen.
The manufacturer may also have added the wrong ingredients or additives if both brie and blue cheese are made in the same factory.
Providing the contamination is not due to the brie being off, it will still be fine to cook with, but you will have to make allowances for changes in taste.
What is the Difference Between Brie and Blue Cheese?
If you are somewhat puzzled as to whether you are eating brie or blue cheese, there are certain characteristics to look out for.
Starting with their appearance, brie should have a bright white rind with a soft, almost fluffy feel and a pale yellow interior.
The rind itself is formed from mold, but there should be no evidence of blue or green discoloration.
Blue cheese has distinctive veins of mold running through it, induced deliberately to enhance the flavor.
Brie is soft and almost spreadable, whereas blue cheese is more crumbly.
The difference in taste is very noticeable, and if, like me, you don’t like blue cheese, then just the smell alone will put you off!
Brie should have a mild, buttery flavor and, if aged for longer, will develop earthy mushroom elements.
Just for interest, in terms of nutrition, brie is lower in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat.
Expert’s Guide to Blue Cheese
Brie that tastes of blue cheese may have been contaminated with bacteria
If the white rind of the brie has any blue or green spots, it should be discarded
The brie may have been stored near blue cheese and absorbed its flavor
At the point of sale, blue cheese may have been labeled incorrectly as brie
The wrong additives or cultures could have been added during the cheesemaking process
Earlier, I mentioned Brie having a brown rind, and you may wish to read about this topic.
How would you address the unexpected flavor of blue cheese in brie?
Let us know in the comments below!