Brie is a famous French dairy product that came into existence in the 8th century as one of the earliest cheese variants. People in various European countries make Brie cheese, but the people in the Brie region in Northern France are the largest producers and consumers. It’s a creamy, tangy, fresh cow’s milk cheese with a white mould rind. Some common foods you can use Brie cheese in are toast, cookies, or fruit salads. Although various cheese products in the market use the ‘Brie’, there are only two known varieties- Brie de Meaux and Brie de Melun, both from Meaux.
Brie has a short maturation period of 4-6 weeks before being released. Brie cheese provides health benefits due to its dairy composition and ripening procedure. This article covers everything you need to know about Brie cheese, from its nutritional content to its health benefits.
Brie Cheese: An Introduction
Brie is a real delicacy of sumptuous magnificence, known for its fluffy white exterior and soft inside. The flavour is calming, mellow, and somewhat nutty; people make it with cow or goat milk. Its profile has subtle nuances like fresh mushrooms and cooked butter, with a creamy and silky finish. A slice of softened Brie has a delicate, slightly runny feel.
Since the Middle Ages, people have been using Brie cheese as a delicious addition to their meals. It hails from the Seine-et-Marne region of northern France and is known for its mild flavour. Brie is taught as a compliment like a few other kinds of cheese, enhancing its environment like colour to a picture. Brie is gentler and has lighter tones of milk and butter than Camembert, whereas Camembert has more profound overtones of mushrooms & herbs. Both are encrusted with the trademark white mould rinds, edible and flavorful.
You can combine Brie with walnuts, honey, and plum chutney or melt it in the microwave to use it with a delicious snack. However, ensure that you remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving it at room temperature.
Process of Making Brie Cheese
The key to achieving the cheese’s desired consistency and flavour profile is to give it time to prepare. In addition, it is critical to allow the skin to smooth and ripen from the inside. That will ensure that the cheese gets its flavour and texture.
- The process starts with heating the milk to a temperature of 90°F and then adding bacterial starter cultures.
- Then, add some enzymes and rennet to help this processed or raw cow milk solidify and curdle.
- Manufacturers apply a fungal culture to help the white mould grow.
- When formed, the cheese curds are put into moulds, and then the manufacturers clean the leftover whey.
- After that, the cheese goes to a climate-controlled ageing facility, where it grows in a cold, dark environment with high humidity (90%).
- Brie usually takes 4-5 weeks to mature from firm to ripe, with ripened varieties having a runny consistency.
The milk type (unprocessed or pasteurised) for preparing Brie cheese depends on the kind of cheese. Similarly, each cheese’s usage of vegan or bovine rennet is distinct. Organic Brie is usually pasteurised, but check the box or ask the cheesemonger if you’re unsure. Brie forms a rind of edible, white mould during the ripening process. Although you can eat Brie raw or cooked, people typically serve it with bread, crackers, jams, fruit, or nuts.
Varieties of Brie Cheese
The many forms of Brie created worldwide include Brie de Meaux, Brie de Melun, brie noir, normal Brie, herbed versions, double and triple Brie, and Brie prepared with various types of milk. They differ in taste, smell, and flavour intensity. However, low-fat brie cheese is available in most local grocers.
Brie de-Meaux (or Bree-du-Mohw) utilises rennet to form the curd. It is about 14-inches across and has a whitish-grey colour with a smooth, creamy texture and not a running consistency. Traditionally it is prepared around Meaux town in France using unpasteurised milk.
Brie-de-Melun is made mainly from milk lactose converted to lactic acid by microbes. In contrast, a fair amount of rennet is allowed to solidify over time. It’s slightly smaller and doesn’t fully ripen into a creamy pâte like Brie de Meaux. Manufacturers pour the curd into moulds during the manufacturing process without slicing it. The rind’s edges soften first, but the interior stays chalky. As a result, it has a more substantial, saltier flavour. The traditional manufacturing process in Melun, France, involves using unpasteurised milk in Melun, France.
Nutritional Properties of Brie Cheese
The USDA provides nutritional data for one hundred grams of Brie cheese. It offers the following nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- Energy: 334 kCal
- Carbohydrates: 0.45 g
- Fats: 27.7 g
- Protein: 20.8 g
- Calcium: 184 mg
- Sodium: 629 mg
- Zinc: 2.38 mg
- Selenium: 14.9 µg
- Vitamin A: 592 IU
Like all forms of cheese, Brie cheese has a rich nutritional profile. The most significant mineral it offers is calcium, which helps bone growth and repair. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin K, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. However, the nutritional values of non-fat and low-fat brie cheese may vary a bit.
The HealthifyMe Note
Brie cheese is a good energy source that cells can use to perform day-to-day activities. This cheese is a high-energy food, with 334 calories per 100g. Brie cheese has a high-fat content, with protein contributing to the rest of the calories. Brie cheese has about 75% fat calories and 25% protein calories. Brie’s carbohydrate content accounts for only a tiny portion of its energy. As a result, people on low-carbohydrate diets can consume Brie. It also has a low lactose content, making it suitable for people with minor lactose intolerance as they may not experience any adverse effects from eating it.
Brie’s protein and fat composition provide the most calories. It contains 20.8 g of protein per 100 g. Casein, a complete protein, is found in Brie, and it delivers all of the amino acids your body needs to stay healthy. It’s also effortless to digest and absorb. Since casein digests slowly, it can make you feel full.
Brie cheese has a high-fat content of 27.7 grams per 100 grams, with 17.4 grams of saturated fat. Brie contains primarily saturated fat from cow’s milk, which can be healthy. Although this fat has been historically associated with heart disease, a recent study reveals it isn’t as hazardous.
Brie is a nutrient-dense cheese high in vitamins A, K, and B-12. These vitamins work together to assist your body break down protein, carbs, and fats into energy. It also contains vitamin A (17.4 grams per 100 grams), necessary for immunological function and healthy skin and hair. In addition, Brie is high in vitamin K (2.3 grams per 100 grams), which is crucial for bone health.
Brie also contains various vital minerals in 100g, including 184mg calcium, 629mg sodium, 152g potassium, 188 mg phosphorus, and 14.5g selenium. All of these minerals aid in the formation of bone tissue. It also contains zinc, an essential vitamin for cell enzyme function, and selenium, an antioxidant.
The cheese contains several vital nutrients and provides specific health benefits when combined with healthy ingredients. Brie is a versatile kitchen component that goes well with sweet and savoury dishes, and you can also use it as a simple appetiser.
Health Benefits of Brie Cheese
Brie cheese is a nutritious cheese that is light and creamy with a great flavour. It is a great energy source for the human body to utilise in daily tasks. There are several reasons to include this product in your diet, and here are some of the top brie cheese health benefits:
According to some research, dairy consumption can assist in weight loss under a calorie-restricted diet. It is primarily due to dairy’s high protein content, which promotes a feeling of fullness and satisfaction while also promoting muscle growth and maintenance.
Most of Brie’s calories come from protein and fat content. In addition, it contains casein, a complete protein popular among bodybuilders and fitness lovers due to its long-lasting protein-fueling properties. It includes all amino acids the body requires to remain healthy. Since casein protein digests slowly, you will feel fuller for more extended periods without eating and consuming fewer calories. According to studies, a casein-rich diet can aid weight loss, especially when combined with exercise.
Boosts Energy and Enhances Mood
Vitamin B12 is a vital component for DNA synthesis and metabolism. Furthermore, it improves brain function. Since the body cannot produce B12 on its own, it must obtain it from the diet. Animal products such as meat and dairy are excellent sources of vitamin B12. Dairy products, such as brie cheese, provide vitamin B12 or cobalamin, beneficial for those who eat little or no meat.
A deficiency of vitamin B12 can also cause depression. In contrast, higher vitamin B12 intake leads to better depression recovery results, implying a mood boost. Furthermore, dairy products include bioavailable B12, which can boost B12 levels more effectively than medications.
You risk developing megaloblastic anaemia if you don’t get enough vitamin B12 in your diet. Fatigue and weariness result from this syndrome. Hence, it is essential to provide enough vitamin B12 to your body.
Improves Bone Health
Brie cheese and other dairy products include calcium and protein, which help keep bones healthy. Calcium is essential for developing, strengthening, and steady growth of healthy bones, preventing fractures and osteoporosis and reducing bone mass loss as people age.
According to studies, women aged 19 to 50 who don’t eat dairy products get only 44% of the calcium, magnesium, and potassium they need. Another research suggests that taking calcium supplements and eating more calcium-rich foods can help to strengthen bones and boost bone mineral density. Aim for 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium daily to ensure you do not have a calcium deficiency.
Brie cheese contains vitamin A, vital for human vision and the immune system. In addition, vitamin A is necessary for energy production, cell proliferation, the health of the body’s cells and tissues, and healthy skin and hair.
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that aids immune system growth and function. Moreover, it possesses anti-inflammatory properties that boost the immune system’s response and treat infectious disorders, including the cold or flu and gastric flu.
A lack of vitamin A-rich foods in your diet can cause a vitamin A deficiency, making you more susceptible to illness and making fighting infection more difficult.
Healthy for the Heart
Although Brie cheese has a high-fat content (particularly saturated fat), it also provides a variety of other nutrients that may help maintain cardiovascular health. These nutrients include protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Early studies show that full-fat dairy foods like brie cheese might benefit the heart. Researchers also found a link between eating dairy fat and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the researchers warn that more research is needed to understand fully how full-fat dairy foods improve your heart.
Ways to Use Brie Cheese
You can use brie cheese in various ways. The most acceptable usage for this cheese is in desserts and pastries. It pairs well with sugar, condiment spices, and berry fruits, and you can also use it with various pasta. Here are some tasty and nutritious ways to use brie cheese.
Garlic Mushroom and Brie Toast
Yield: 2 servings
Preparation Time: 5 mins
- Bread (cut in half): 2 large slices
- Fat-Free Butter: 1 tbsp
- Vegetable oil: 1 tbsp
- Mushrooms sliced: 8 (regular size)
- Salt and pepper: according to taste
- Garlic-peeled and minced: 1 clove
- Brie, sliced: 170 g
- Fresh thyme: 6 springs
- Under a grill, lightly roast the bread on both sides.
- In a small frying pan, melt the butter and oil. Then, place the mushrooms in the pan.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat or until brown and crisp around the edges.
- Now, reduce the heat to low and add garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes more, then reduce to very low heat.
- To melt the slice of brie cheese, place it on the toast and heat it back under the grill. Divide the melted mixture across two plates.
- Toss the leaves from two thyme sprigs into the garlic mushrooms.
- Top each toast slice with a sprig of thyme and a grind of black pepper, then spoon the Brie on top.
- Calories: 520 kcal
- Carbohydrate: 23 g
- Protein: 24 g
- Fat: 37 g
- Cholesterol: 100 g
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 797 mg
- Calcium: 212 mg
Cranberry, Brussels Sprouts, and Brie Skillet Nachos
Yield: 6 servings
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Ingredients for Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
- Red onion, diced: 125 grams
- Large sweet potato, peeled and diced: 175 grams
- Extra-virgin olive oil: 2 tbsp
- Chopped fresh rosemary: 2 tbsp
- Garlic powder: 1 tsp
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper: A pinch
- Shredded brussels sprouts: 300 grams
Ingredients for Nachos
- Tortilla chips: As required
- Prepared cranberry sauce: ¾ cup
- Shredded white cheddar cheese: 125 grams
- Brie cheese, thinly sliced: 8 ounces
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Fresh parsley for serving
Preparation (Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Drizzle the olive oil equally over the sweet potatoes and onions on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss with the rosemary and garlic powder.
- Roast for 12 to 15 minutes, or until soft and golden. Toss the shredded Brussels sprouts into the baking sheet mixture. Return the baking pan to the oven for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until all veggies are golden brown.
- In a large frying pan, spread the tortilla chips uniformly. ¾ cup cranberry sauce on the chips, and then place three-quarters of the vegetables on top.
- Place an even layer of white Cheddar and Brie on top, then top with the leftover cranberry sauce and veggie mixture.
- Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cheese melts completely.
- Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle freshly ground black pepper and parsley before serving.
Overall, Brie is a nutritious and healthful meal that can be a part of a balanced diet. However, in particular cases, some possible disadvantages may occur.
- Lactose intolerance and sensitivity are both frequent. Brie cheese falls into the ‘low lactose’ dairy food category, making it easier to digest for lactose-intolerant people. However, if you are lactose-intolerant, you should eat it in moderation. Studies suggest that most people with lactose sensitivity may tolerate up to 12 grams of lactose in a single serving. If you eat anything more, it might lead to adverse effects. Symptoms of lactose intolerance include abdominal pain, bloating, cramps, and diarrhoea. Brie is suitable for lactose intolerant people, but this amount of lactose is likely too high for those with severe lactose allergies. Avoid brie cheese if you have a severe dairy allergy or consult a doctor.
- In scarce situations, brie prepared with unpasteurised milk can also cause a foodborne infection known as Listeria. However, a severe foodborne disease caused by Brie eating is relatively low.
- Brie cheese has a lot of sodium. If you have high blood pressure or are on a low-sodium diet, search for low-sodium alternatives or talk to your doctor before adding it to your diet.
Precautions and Storage Tips
- Pregnant women should avoid cheese made from unpasteurised milk.
- You should always consume it in moderation.
- People with allergies should avoid it.
- Anyone who has a strong lactose sensitivity should avoid consumption.
Storage and Food Safety
- You should refrigerate Brie in an airtight container or plastic wrap lasting six months. Since it’s a soft cheese, it’s especially vulnerable to deterioration and bacterial infection if left out of the fridge.
- You should eat or freeze Brie within 1–3 weeks after opening the container since it continues to ripen in the fridge. However, it may be crumbly and more suited for cooking than presenting as an appetiser once thawed.
- Most manufacturers advise that you consume the entire package before it expires.
- Regardless of age, children, pregnant people, and individuals with weakened immune systems should avoid eating expired Brie, even if it seems and smells OK, because hazardous bacteria may be present.
- You should discard any brie that’s been at ambient temperature for more than 4 hours.
How to Know if Brie is Rotten or Gone Bad
- Brie’s exterior surface is covered in a harmless film of white mould. On the other hand, blue or green mould indicates that now the cheese is rotten and should be discarded.
- You may trim off mouldy parts of tougher cheeses like Parmesan and eat the rest of the product.
- Visible mould on soft cheeses like Brie, on the other hand, usually means that mould spores have infected the whole cheese.
- Furthermore, a fully ripe Brie or Brie aged too long may be very runny and have a strong ammonia odour caused by the bacteria utilised during the production process.
- While safe to eat, Overripe Brie may have unpleasant flavours and smells.
Brie is a high-fat cheese with a high protein content equivalent to a medium egg (28 grams). It also contains significant quantities of B12 and riboflavin. During the ripening phase, Brie develops an appetising white mould rind. Typically, people eat this delectable cheese with toast, wafers, fruit, or jam. Brie is nutrient-dense and helps you feel satiated for a long. As a result, it may help with weight loss and appetite management. Some researchers believe it may also kill cancer cells, but further research is needed.
Unless you are lactose intolerant, you can eat Brie in small amounts even if you are sensitive to milk protein. Furthermore, pregnant women should avoid unpasteurised variants. Besides that, moderate consumption has no adverse consequences. You should keep Brie in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1–3 weeks after unpacking. However, you should immediately discard any cheese that has developed blue or green mould.
The HealthifyMe Note
Overall, moderate consumption of Brie cheese provides various health benefits and does not have many adverse effects. So, enjoy this delicious cheese variant in your healthy recipes to reap maximum benefits.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What is special about brie cheese?
A. Brie is a smooth, buttery cheese that originated in France and is now famous worldwide. It features a creamy inside and a white mould rind that is delicate, bloomy, and tasty. Manufacturers usually use cow’s milk to prepare Brie cheese. However, you can also prepare it using goat’s milk. The high nutritional profile of Brie cheese makes it special. It is calcium-rich, which helps in bone growth and repair. It also contains vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin K, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc. However, the nutritional values of non-fat and low-fat brie cheese may vary a bit.
Q. Is Brie healthier than Cheddar? Is Brie a probiotic?
A. Brie contains up to 50% water and has fewer calories and fat than Cheddar or other hard cheese variants. Brie is a nutritious food choice since it is low in saturated fat, unlike many kinds of cheese, and has a naturally low carbohydrate content. Bifidobacteria (Bb-12) is a natural probiotic found in Brie cheese.
Q. Is Brie cheese unhealthy?
A. Moderate consumption of brie cheese is not unhealthy as it does not significantly harm your health. However, excess consumption can be harmful. Since Brie cheese contains high sodium, excess consumption can spike your blood pressure and affect the kidneys. Furthermore, if you are lactose intolerant, you can only eat a minimal amount of brie cheese. So, avoid brie cheese if you have a severe dairy allergy or consult a doctor. Some people can also experience a foodborne infection known as Listeria in scarce situations because of unpasteurised milk used for making Brie cheese (in some cases). However, the chances of a severe foodborne disease caused by Brie eating is relatively low.
Q. Is Brie’s heart healthy?
A. Despite its high saturated fat content, brie cheese provides a variety of other elements that may benefit heart health. These nutrients include proteins, calcium, and vitamin D. Preliminary evidence suggests that full-fat dairy meals such as brie cheese may help the heart.
Q. Is Brie high in sodium?
A. Brie cheese has a lot of sodium, 629 mg in 100g. If you have high blood pressure or are on a low-sodium diet, search for low-sodium alternatives or talk to your doctor before adding it to your diet.
Q. Is Brie cheese good for diabetics?
A. Moderate consumption of Brie cheese does not affect your blood sugar to a great extent. So, even if you have diabetes, it imparts the same health benefits. Since Brie cheese is low in calories and has a high protein content, you can consume it in moderation to reap its benefits. Furthermore, studies link dairy foods to decreased rates of obesity, heart disease, and metabolic diseases. As a result, it can be beneficial to people with diabetes.
Q. Which cheese has the lowest cholesterol?
A. Cheddar and processed American cheese are perhaps the most preferred cheese variants, containing more than 5 grams of saturated fat every ounce. By choosing a low-fat or fat-free variant, you may lower the amount of saturated fat in each serving to half.
Q. Is Brie cheese good for cholesterol?
A. According to the USDA, a 100g serving of whole milk brie cheese contains 334 calories and 2.7 grams of fat. Most of that fat comes from saturated fat– 17.4 grams, which causes chaos with your blood cholesterol levels and increases your risk of heart disease.
Q. Is Brie a keto?
A. Brie is a keto-friendly cheese. This cheese is an exception that tougher cheeses have fewer carbohydrates. Brie Cheese is low in carbs (0.45g net carbs per 100g serving), so it’s best to include it in your diet. Keep your net carb intake between 20 and 30 grams daily to remain in ketosis. Because it is low in carbs, Brie Cheese is an excellent fat source for keto.
Q. Can Brie cause diarrhoea?
A. Brie is a keto-friendly cheese. This cheese is the exception to the rule that tougher cheeses have fewer carbohydrates. Brie is a soft, cow’s milk-based cheese with just 0.1 grams of net carbohydrates, making it keto-friendly. Excessive consumption of dairy components can cause considerable pain if you are lactose intolerant.
Q. Is Brie cheese high in protein?
A. Yes, Brie cheese contains 20.8 g of protein per 100 g. In addition, it contains casein, a complete protein. It offers all the amino acids your body needs to stay healthy and promote muscle growth and maintenance. It’s also effortless to digest and absorb.
Q. Can Brie cheese upset your stomach?
A. One of the most common reasons for stomach distress after eating cheese is lactose intolerance. Your body can’t digest cheese effectively if you don’t have enough lactase, a digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose, a natural sugar in milk and milk products. Lactose intolerance could also result from inadequate lactose absorption, which causes lactose to pass through your colon undigested, resulting in gas, bloating, and stomach discomfort.
Q. Can Brie rind make you sick?
A. In terms of pathogens, the cheese is safe to eat at this time (the natural mould on the rind blocks the growth of many other microorganisms), but the flavour may be too intense, causing intestinal discomfort. Again, you should rely on your intuition.