Brie cheese: properties, nutritional value and uses

Brie cheese, according to Codex Stand 283-1978, is a "Soft cheese matured on the surface mainly by white molds in the shape of a flat cylinder or sections thereof". It is produced in the French region of the same name and is classified as a cheese gourmet.

It is characterized by the fact that the bark is covered by a white layer that corresponds to the growth of mold Penicillium camemberti or Penicillium candida. It is the fungus that develops the characteristic appearance, aroma and flavor which conquered King Charlemagne in 774. The succulence and creaminess of its center allowed it to be recognized in 1814 by the Vienna Congress as the "king of French cheeses."

It can be eaten alone or with biscuits or bread, as a snack and in a wide variety of salads. In addition, its health benefits and nutritional richness make it the favorite among mushroom-ripened cheeses.

Nutritional value of brie cheese

The maturation to which brie cheese is subjected influences its nutritional value. The proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in milk break down to very small molecules that are best absorbed in the intestine. For this reason it is a very digestible cheese.

The protein content of brie cheese is high, almost 23%. Among its essential amino acids, lysine predominates, while methionine and cysteine ​​are very low. Therefore, it is best to combine it with bread or another cereal.

Half of the total fat in this cheese is saturated (14%) and 8% is monounsaturated, with cardiac benefits. Its short chain fatty acids, such as butyric, capric, caprylic and caproic, will always be ready to be digested.

Brie cheese increases the caloric intake to the diet. A 100 gram piece contains 342 calories and 100 milligrams of cholesterol. Vitamins B2, B9, B12 and vitamin A are the most relevant. Calcium and phosphorus are released into the cheese during ripening. The amount of sodium is very high, so its intake must be controlled in certain pathologies.

Nutritional value of brie cheese (per 100 grams)

Nutrient Quantity
Protein 22.61 grams
Grease 27.9 grams
Carbohydrate 0.1 grams
Cholesterol 100 milligrams
Vitamin A 157 retinol equivalents
Vitamin B2 0.34 milligrams
Vitamin B9 65 micrograms
B12 vitamin 1.70 micrograms
Calcium 400 milligrams
Match 372 milligrams
Sodium 630 milligrams
AGS 12.87 grams
AGM 8.27 grams
PUFA 0.61 grams
Calories 341.90

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Properties of brie cheese

Brie cheese is a dairy that can be indicated as part of a diet to prevent osteoporosis.

Brie cheese is a well balanced food with excellent absorption for the minerals calcium and phosphorus. Therefore, it can be recommended in the prevention of osteoporosis. Calcium promotes the mineralization of bones and teeth, like phosphorus.

Another of its properties is that it can promote protein synthesis at the muscle level, not only due to the quality of its amino acids, but also due to the contribution of vitamin B12. It participates in the division of cell growth, in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, and helps to form red blood cells.

The "king of cheeses" also contains an important antioxidant, such as vitamin A, which blocks free radicals and prevents cellular oxidation. In addition, it promotes good vision and maintains healthy skin.

Despite these properties, we must control the consumption of saturated fat that predominates in brie cheese, as it is related to heart disease and other health problems, as revealed by the United States National Library of Medicine (NIH).

How is brie cheese made?

To taste this creamy and appetizing European cheese, you must wait at least 4 weeks for the fungus to do its job. The first step is to heat whole raw cow's milk to 37ºC. Once warm, add the rennet and the fungus P. camemberti or P. candida, letting it rest. Within a few minutes the milk will turn into a gel or curd.

The curd is separated from the whey and left to rest in molds for 18 hours. Salt is added and it matures at temperatures between 10 and 13 ºC for 1 month.. Although the ripening time may vary.

That's when the Penicillium breaks down proteins and transforms fats into odor and flavor compounds that give the bouquet to cheese. Other lactic bacteria convert lactose to lactic acid to give it the proper acidity.

At the end of ripening outer layer becomes smooth, white, and corrugated by the growth of other microorganisms that grow together with him Penicillium. Under the crust it is very creamy and the heart is intense white. The taste can be somewhat bitter, depending on the time of ripening. The aroma is characteristic of milk.

Some experts clarify that other molds and additional bacteria are used to make different varieties of brie cheese. You can use skim milk, add spices or herbs to increase the range of flavors and textures. So we find the petit brie, stuffed brie, farmer brie, and black brie, among others.

How to use it?

The amazing thing about brie cheese is that you can enjoy it and combine it in different ways. Let's see which are the most common:

  • With or without bark: Brie cheese can be eaten with its white rind that has a smooth and creamy texture. Its flavor is very light with a fruity touch. But if you prefer, you can remove the crust and eat only the creamy part.
  • Combined with fruits: brie cheese is very good to combine with quince, raspberries, black or white grapes, apricots or strawberries. A few cold appetizers alternating on toothpicks with cheese and strawberries will allow you to shine at the table.
  • Baked with fruitsIf you want a warm contrast to this cheese, nothing better than baking it with apples or pears.
  • Accompanied with bread: A cheese as creamy as brie is perfectly paired with crisp crust bread and mild flavor. However, it is not recommended with soft crumbs, as they break when spread.
  • No companions: Brie cheese is so exquisite that it can be eaten alone. You can eat it at room temperature between 20 and 25 ºC. When it is very cold it loses the intensity of its flavor.

Brie cheese is versatile in gastronomy, with the possibility of tasting it alone or accompanied.

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Contraindications of brie cheese

For people who decide to lead a lifestyle fitness or want to lose weight, brie cheese is not the most suitable, since caloric intake is very high. Furthermore, the cholesterol content you eat should also be watched.

If you suffer from high blood pressure or cardiovascular problems, it is not a good idea to include it in your menu. Saturated fat and a high sodium content are contraindicated in these pathologies.

On the other hand, if you are allergic you should avoid brie cheese or any other ripened cheese. It has been reported that biogenic amines are formed during maturation; When combined with antidepressants, wine or other alcoholic beverages, they can cause food poisoning.

A group of experts from the University of Zulia detected high levels of amines in brie cheese, although they did not exceed the tolerable levels established by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, as a preventive measure, it is recommended that people sensitive to amines do not consume them.

It is not always the ideal

If you want to select a European cheese gourmet To nourish yourself, favor some aspects of your health and excite the palate, the best decision will be with brie cheese. But if you want to lose weight, control a cardiovascular problem or allergy, consult a trusted doctor or nutritionist before including it.