About this blog...

Food has been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Food and the festivities surrounding its arrival to the table has always been a focal point in our family. For many years I have been amassing the cookbooks, recipe cards, cooking journals, diaries, manuscripts and clipping files of our once extensive family.

Personally, I’ve been professionally involved with food for over 40 years in numerous and varied culinary capacities across the country so I also have the collected stories, as well as current and on-going food-related experiences from my own life I’d like to share.

My idea has long been that someday I would bring all of this marvelous raw material together into a culinary journey through our family’s heritage. This journal is the beginnings of that journey.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Personal Cheese Update - 2011 Brie #1

The three Bries I made just before Christmas were scheduled to be ready to try today and since Kathryn just returned this morning from a week-long trip across the country visiting family and friends, I thought it would make a nice lunch with some fresh bread.

All three cheeses have been ripening in a 50 degree F aging box, wrapped in parchment paper, then aluminum foil, getting turned and flipped about twice a week for the last few weeks They felt like they were all softening so I pulled one out to come to room temperature about an hour before lunch, loosening the wrappings so it could breathe a little.

As I started to cut into the cheese the skin broken slightly and some lovely, white proteolyzed* cheese goo leaked out.  I was surprised upon continuing the cut that the proteolysis had not penetrated further and more evenly.  While definitely ripening throughout, the softest pate was segregated to the outside layer, just under the white mold (penicillium Candidum) skin.  Just to be clear, and as gross as it may sound, proteolysis is a good thing!  We like our Brie soft and gooey and "protein degradation" is how that happens.

Regardless, we each took a wedge and some sliced bolillo bread. The cheese was very good with a rich mushroomy flavor all the way through and while still a little too firm in parts, completely spreadable.

A good experiment.  I think I'll keep the two unopened Bries in their 50 degree F environment for another week while I research possible causes for the uneven ripening. The cut cheese will go to the regular fridge, re-wrapped in parchment and foil.

*Proteolysis is the directed degradation (digestion) of proteins by cellular enzymes called proteases or by intramolecular digestion. In this case the molds acting on the proteins in the cheeses.

1/22/2011: Took some of the Brie, spread it on thick slices of homemade bread, topped it with some sundried tomatoes and slivers o fresh garlic and toasted it in a hot oven for about 10 minutes.  Result... Fantastic!

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