Dairy by definition includes the harvest of animal milk from not only cows, but also goats, sheep, buffalo, camels and horses for consumption by humans. So, you don’t need to have cows to have a dairy, but you do need some sort of animal stock producing milk for human consumption. Is a dairy really a dairy if it doesn’t produce milk but still produces milk products? We’ll let you be the judge of that.
Butter, ice cream, yogurt, curd, whey, clabber and cheese are all milk products. We’ve already touched on butter and ice cream as part of National Dairy Month. Today our focus is cheese!
Just like sea salt, there is tremendous diversity when it comes to crafting cheese. There are about 500 different varieties of cheese recognized by the International Dairy Federation. The primary criteria for classifying them includes length of ageing, texture, method of crafting, fat content, which animal milk was used, country or region of origin, moisture content and curing or ripening methods. Three main categories of cheese even use the presence of mold as a significant feature. One of those ‘mold present’ cheeses is soft-ripened cheese typically referred to as Brie.
The name comes from the region of France in which it originated. The white rind is mold, it IS usually eaten and that mold does not grow naturally on the cheese. Once the raw cheese has been molded into it’s typically round shape, it is salted (with good quality French sea salt of course) and inoculated with a specific strain of mold.
When consuming Brie, (especially at a party) its important to remember that cutting off and eating the more desirable tip from a wedge of brie is known as “pointing the Brie” and is considered a faux pas (another French phrase).
Today we provide you a simple party preparation that utilizes our Himalayan Saltware™ salt blocks to help keep the Brie warm and spreadable for 20-30 minutes if you want to serve it that way. It also helps crisp the bread on the outside and keep it warm and moist on the inside.
This recipe makes a very simple appetizer course and if you can find truffled Brie it’s absolutely amazing! If you live in Phoenix or Philadelphia, Mediterra Bakehouse (previously mentioned here) offer two different round loaves that work great – try the sourdough or the Paesano, they are both incredible!
- 1 wedge or wheel of Brie
- 1 round loaf of bread (Italian, French or sourdough recommended – whole wheat is no good)
- 1 jar fruit preserves (your choice, try one of your favorites – we recommend fig or raspberry)
- 1 “Himalayan Saltware™ Salt Block”
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- ‘Cap’ loaf of bread by slicing the top off. (see photo below)
- Core loaf so that Brie wedge or wheel will fit inside loaf but top of Brie is not above top of loaf.
- Spread fruit preserves over top of Brie.
- Cut cap and core into bite size pieces and allow them to toast in the oven with the Brie loaf.
- Place Brie loaf on Saltware™ and place in oven for 20-25 minutes or until Brie has fully warmed and become melted and gooey.
- Remove Saltware™ from oven and make vertical slices down the side of the loaf approximately 1” apart all the way around the loaf. This allows bread to be easily torn off once the initial pieces are gone. (see photo top of page)
- Serve bite sized bread pieces that were toasted on the side.
- Bread pieces can either be dipped into the Brie and preserves or you can serve with a butter knife.