Our Homemade Brie’s Final Form

The final form of the homemade brie :)
Gaze upon the gooey goodness!

GUISE. Our homemade brie turned out absolutely, deliciously amazing. I was so concerned after the earlier mishap and also because I had heard that you can get “totally adequate brie” by aging it in your fridge. But this tasted like amazing, high-end brie and was so ooey-gooey runny soft. Mmmmmmm. Add the fact that it was much easier than cheddar and doesn’t need to age as long, I will definitely be making brie again!

Here are the previous two forms of the brie, by-the-way.

I don’t know if I mentioned earlier, but one of the rounds of curds had a lot more moisture and was softer, whilst the other was much firmer. The instructions were kind of vague as to how firm they should be, so one I barely handled at all and the other I handled a lot when first flipping them in the forms.

The soft runny one (somewhat visible in the foreground here) was extravagantly soft and very pungent and flavorful as a cheese, because the cheese ripens faster with higher moisture. It also had a lot more mottling on the rind because moisture kept seeping out throughout the ripening process. The firmer (the main focus in the photo) one was much milder in flavor, more like brie that you have probably tried before, but was still luxuriantly soft and gooey compared to most other bries I’ve had. Both were amazing, but it was good to see how the moisture content affected the final product.

Enjoying the Tangy Fruits of our Pickling Labors

We’ve already started enjoying the pickles that we started back in January. Thus far our favorite pickles came from the “spicy pickle grab bag” that had all the leftover vegetables that didn’t fit into the other jars, plus some habanero peppers that Doc bought for guacamole but I didn’t allow in the guacamole because I thought it’d be too spicy (and we put a jalapeƱo in the guac instead).

Enjoying the Tangy Fruits of our Pickle Labors
From left to right: sauerkraut, spicy pickled cucumbers, spicy pickled green beans

Thus far I have been too scared to eat the pickled habaneros. I’m sure they’ve mellowed, but heck even those green beans which were pickling next to the habaneros turned out pretty darn spicy!

Since it has only been about a month, I’m going to let these keep chugging along. I’m excited to see how they change as time goes on. As you might recall, my favorite sauerkraut was the “ancient sauerkraut” that we forgot about and ended up fermenting for over 6 months before consumption.

Furry Little Coat of Mold

Our homemade brie is successfully growing its furry little coat of mold! And just look at how different they look compared to when I first took the curds out of the forms!

Our homemade brie is successfully growing its furry little coat of mold
Furry Cheese

They’ve really flattened out. I didn’t even notice this until I looked back at that old post!

Trying our hand at brie now
When I first turned the curds out of the forms… they were so much taller and fatter back then!

However, I did hit a bit of a snag, which I think I should warn everybody about. I was following instructions from a zine that said, “when you see mold, wrap it in cheese paper” so I did just that. The zine then went on to describe all the terrible horrors that await the person who waits too long to wrap their cheese (and showed photos of drying mats tearing the mold off of the surface of the cheese, thereby ruining it). Nowhere did it mention it would be a problem to wrap the cheese too early.

Turns out this was slightly misleading. I interpreted this to mean, “wrap the cheese as soon as you see even a microscopic hint of mold,” when actually what they meant was “once the cheese is completely covered with a thick blanket of mold.” The problem with covering the cheese with cheese paper as early as I did is that the moisture sitting on the cheese where the paper is touching it will actually inhibit the mold growth (which is ironic, as mold will also fail to form if there’s not enough moisture).

Luckily, I was so excited to see how the mold was coming along that I unwrapped it to take a peek and noticed that the sides were covered with a luxurious coat, whilst the tops and bottoms were patchy-to-completely-bare. Concerned, I looked up a second opinion on brie making, and saw that the consensus was to wait until your brie is completely covered before wrapping it. Whoops! So I unwrapped them and returned them to the casserole dish that had previously been their mold-making home. There, I hoped they would still form the mold all over, as if I hadn’t ever wrapped them in paper.

Luckily, it would appear that they have quickly recovered from this error, as you can see in the photo above (taken about a week after discovering my error). I don’t know what this means for the aging time, to be honest. I suppose I’ll have to feel it out. By the original estimates, they should be ready next week at the earliest, but they are supposed to age for ~4 weeks after getting wrapped so I think this moves things back a bit.

So let this be a warning to all you would-be cheesemongers out there: wait until your brie is completely covered in mold before you wrap it in cheese paper, or meet the same fate! No matter what your zines say.