Brie, a soft cheese with an edible white mold rind, is best enjoyed with plain crackers or bread as well as grapes and walnuts. While you enjoy this smooth and savory delight, keep an eye on the clock and your brie ‘breezy’ to ensure the health of you and your guests.
If setting out this cheese for your next gathering, be careful of the temperature at your venue and dispose if left out after 2 hours. Keep in mind most cheese tastes best softened, so take into account the 20-30 minutes you leave it out prior to serving.
What do you need to know about food serving and storage?
Bacteria loves warm settings. From the time food is out of your refrigerator or freezer it begins to grow bacteria. The 2-hour rule is a standard guideline for all perishable foods according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The warmer the setting the more bacteria is multiplying. It is even recommended for warmer environments, at or above 90°F (e.g., an outside brunch or in your car), you store food within an hour.
Not all cheeses are created equal … to dangerous bacteria
Cheese culturing and production is an age-old craft, which includes factors such as moisture, acidity, pasteurization, and the use of bacteria cultures (i.e., monitored and specific to the cheese type). The chance for foodborne illness increases with softer cheeses, according to US Dairy.
Softer cheeses should be consumed quickly
Soft ripened cheeses like brie or fresh mozzarella have more moisture and are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses. According to Sarah Hill, Manager of Cheese Education and Training for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, “If the cheese tray is out for two hours, soft, fresh cheeses (such as Queso Fresco, Brie, Camembert) should be discarded.”
Harder cheeses are great to serve and store
Cheeses such as cheddar and gouda are aged anywhere from 12-18 months, some as much as 6 years or longer, are designed for preservation and can be stored at the 2-hour mark instead of discarded. Wrapping and sealing food tightly and separate from other foods prevents cross-contamination as well as the spread of odors or foreign bacteria.
Enjoy your cheeses along with friends and all the variety of flavors they bring, but keep a watch on the time to not end your party with a trip to the emergency room.