One of the most popular cheeses worldwide, brie is a beautifully soft cheese with an edible white rind that makes any dish extra delectable.
While always tasty I sometimes slice into one of those delicious rounds wondering if we'll get through it all before it's starting to spoil. I don't like to see good food go to waste, and always want to make the most of the offers in store when I'm doing the food shop, so a natural question to ask is can you freeze brie? Short answer: yes! So let's find out how to do it to maximise flavour, minimise hassle and in a way that's safe and easy.
While brie is a French cheese, I was surprised to find it is also made all over the UK from Cornwall to Wales. European brie is usually made in the traditional methods using whole or semi skimmed milk and a cheese culture which helps form the rind.
In the United States it is more common to find so-called “stabilised brie,” which means its pH is stabilised giving it a longer shelf-life and making it less susceptible to bacteriological infections.
If you love brie and would enjoy having it on-hand for last-minute cravings, future meals, or if you've just stocked up a little too thoroughly then follow along with these step-by-step instructions for freezing and thawing brie.
Make sure your brie is safe to freeze
As with all cheese brie should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge to reduce the risk of bacteria spread. This is particularly important with soft cheese as they are more susceptible to bacteria spreading through the cheese and spoiling it.
If you intend to freeze your brie put it in the fridge as soon as you get home and try and get it into the freezer within a day of purchase to ensure you're freezing it at its best.
This isn't always possible, but do always make sure you get it into the freezer before the 'use by date'. If any mould has developed on the rind the brie is no longer safe to eat, unlike harder cheeses where you can potentially cut off the mould (and a few centimetres), extra soft cheese spores have a tendency to vein and spread throughout the cheese.
Preparing your brie for the freezer
Before putting your brie in the freezer think about what you might be using it for, is it best kept whole for a baked brie or sliced into wedges so you can easily get out what you need? Bare in mind, once thawed you can't refreeze the brie.
Brie has quite a high water content so the freezing process will change the texture a little and make it a little more crumbly.
If your freezer has a 'quick freeze' or 'flash freeze' mode, use that. It won't be as cold as an industrial flash freezer, but it will help to retain texture and taste. That's because as food cools ice crystals form, but many smaller crystals are better than fewer, larger ones which will negatively impact the texture. The faster it cools, the more numerous and smaller the crystals.
I prefer to use frozen brie for recipes where you're cooking the brie, rather than sliced in a sandwich or on a cheese board. Though the texture will changed the distinctive taste remains.
The best container to freeze brie
However you've decided to freeze your brie, as a whole or in slices it needs to be kept airtight, and the best way to do this is with plastic food wrap.
You can keep it in its original packaging and add a layer of cling film, or carefully wrap your slices. Make sure you've got a good seal around the brie, it is important to limit the amount of air and moisture to help reduce the risk of freezer burn.
Once wrapped, I like to put them in a freezer safe container to stop the brie getting squashed or lost at the back of the freezer.
Make sure to label your container with the date you put the brie in the freezer and the date it will go off.
How long can I freeze brie for?
As long as your brie was of good quality and you got it into the freezer well wrapped as soon as you could, it will keep in the freezer in an airtight container for 3 months.
How to defrost frozen brie
When you are ready to enjoy your brie again, thaw the portion you need for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
This slower defrosting tends to be the best method for minimising the effects of freezing on the texture and shape of the brie. Once it’s thawed, be sure to use it within two days. Don't refreeze the thawed brie.
Dishes to cook with your frozen brie
While it may not be as pretty and the texture may be slightly different, the taste should be just as delicious so cooking with frozen brie is an especially great way to make the most of what else you have in the freezer and the cupboard with that extra element brie can bring so many dishes.
Here are a few recommendations for using your frozen brie:
- My very own brie and blackberry pizza would work very well with frozen brie.
- Baked Brie with your favourite toppings - crushed nuts and fruit are always a winner.
- Try it instead of your normal nacho cheese for a totally new taste.
- Add the rind to a soup to impart flavour or use a thin slice on top to finish - mint pea is especially good.
- A toasted brie baguette with cranberries make a delicious and quick snack
- Brie is a fantastic pizza topping, just be careful not to overdo it, especially with stronger tasting brie.
- Place a little brie and jam in a puff pastry square, wrap and bake for a tasty finger snack.
Now you should be armed with all the knowledge required to freeze brie successfully, thaw it out properly and use it effectively. Let me know win the comments how you get on or if you have any questions.