The soft and creamy brie cheese is irresistible served with bites of bread, crackers, honey, and jam. But you may often end up with leftover brie pieces or an entire wheel that you planned to bake but ran out of time.
Can you freeze brie? Yes, you can freeze brie cheese. As brie is a soft cheese, it does undergo texture changes. But these changes are brought to a minimum with the right freezing technique. You can freeze brie cheese both sliced and whole. In both cases, the cheese will last up to 3 months in cold storage.
From multiple freezing techniques to freezing brie in puff pastry, we’ll be covering it all.
What is the Shelf Life of Brie?
Brie, the soft French cheese we all love, has a very limited shelf life.
Being different from other cheese varieties in the sense that brie represents a soft interior under a rind of white mold, you may have a few questions regarding the storage conditions of this cheese.
Unopened brie will last 1 to 2 months in the fridge. As it is a dairy product, you should be more attentive to how you store brie cheese. Additionally, pay attention to the ‘best by’ date on the packaging.
Some manufacturers do state that it is safe to consume the cheese within 14 days past the printed date. But if you decide to eat brie cheese that is past its expiration date, make sure to inspect it closely to avoid any health risks.
But what if you want to extend the shelf life of brie cheese? What if you bought a wheel or two of brie to bake it for an evening gathering but it got postponed?
As we all know, freezing is the ultimate storage method for extending the shelf life of a range of products. And luckily, brie is not an exception. You can freeze brie to extend its shelf life. But in order to get satisfying results, you need to know how to do it properly.
How Does Freezing Affect Brie Cheese?
Freezing certainly affects the flavor and the texture of brie cheese. As brie is a soft cheese variety with high water content, freezing and thawing can make the cheese softer and slightly crumbly.
If you freeze sliced brie without any protection, the pieces will get freezer burn and dry out.
With this being said, you can bring all the texture changes to the minimum if you learn how to store brie cheese in the freezer properly.
It is best to use frozen and defrosted brie cheese in dishes where it will melt. And in these cases, the texture changes will no longer matter, as the cheese will melt anyway.
As for the flavor, the longer the cheese sits in the freezer, the more its flavor and texture deteriorate.
But if you freeze the cheese when it is still good and pick the right freeing technique, the flavor of this soft cheese should remain nearly unaffected, especially during the first few months of it being in the freezer.
What You Should Know Before Freezing Brie Cheese
If you have found a good deal on brie at your local market and have bought a few wheels, it would be wise to freeze them as soon as you bring them home.
In fact, the sooner you freeze the cheese, the better. Freezing brie as soon as you bring it home is the perfect scenario, but this is not always possible. You never know whether you will manage to eat the cheese before the printed date or not.
Thus, even if you are not freezing the cheese right after bringing it home, you still need to make sure that it is fresh and never past the printed date.
In addition to this, freeze brie cheese to extend its shelf life only if you have been storing it properly.
You should store a wheel of brie cheese in the fridge loosely wrapped in parchment paper. As for wedges of brie cheese, you should keep them wrapped in food wrap.
How to Freeze Brie Cheese
In order to freeze your Brie properly, you need to pay attention to how you package the cheese before storing it in the freezer to avoid major texture or flavor changes.
- Tightly wrap the brie wheel with a layer of food wrap. You can also use aluminum foil.
- If the cheese is in its original packaging, wrap the cheese with a layer of plastic wrap or foil to prevent air or moisture from getting to the cheese.
- Put the cheese in an airtight plastic container. You can also use a freezer bag. However, the former protects the cheese from getting squished.
- Label with the date to use the cheese while it is still good.
Freezing brie whole has its pros and cons. The good thing is, it doesn’t take much time or effort. But the negative part of freezing an entire brie wheel is that you will need to use it all at once.
If you later defrost the brie wheel and end up with leftovers, you should never refreeze them. Not only is refreezing food unsafe, but the texture and the flavor of the cheese will be so affected that it’s unlikely you will wind up using it later.
How to Freeze Brie Slices or Wedges
If you have leftover brie wedges or simply prefer freezing brie in slices so that you can use them later in soups, stews, and casseroles, there are two ways to do it.
If you put a little more effort into freezing brie slices or wedges, you may even be able to eat them fresh. The defrosted cheese may not be very presentable for an evening gathering, but it will certainly work for a family breakfast.
The best way to freeze brie slices or wedges is by wrapping them individually so that they don’t dry out. Here is how to do it:
- If you have a wheel of brie cheese or big wedges, cut it into pieces of your desired size. If you will be melting the cheese in dishes, the size of the pieces doesn’t really matter. However, cutting the cheese into smaller wedges will allow you to use as much of it as you need at the moment.
- Wrap each piece of brie cheese with food wrap. Make sure to cover the cheese from all sides to protect it from freezer burn. If you have smaller pieces, it may take you some time to get this job done. But doing this is absolutely essential if you want to prevent the cheese from drying out and the pieces from sticking to each other.
- Put the plastic-wrapped pieces of brie cheese in an airtight container. You can also use a zip-top freezer bag to save space in the cold storage.
- Label the bag or the container with the date.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time on preparation, then this method of freezing brie pieces is for you.
- Cut the brie into pieces of your desired size.
- Line a baking tray with a layer of parchment paper.
- Put the pieces of cheese on the tray, making sure they are not touching each other.
- Once the pieces of cheese are frozen and won’t stick to each other, transfer them into an airtight container or freezer bag.
- Label with the date.
Please keep in mind that this freezing method is only good when you know you will be using the cheese in hot dishes where it will melt and the dryness of the outer layer won’t matter.
Note: When using this method, make sure there are no products in the freezer that the unprotected pieces of cheese may absorb odors from.
How Long Can Brie Cheese Be Frozen?
Brie stored properly in the freezer will keep well for 3 months and maybe longer. If the constant temperature in your freezer is 0 degrees, the cheese, like many other products, may keep indefinitely.
However, you should always keep in mind that the longer the cheese sits in the freezer the more texture and flavor changes it will suffer.
So, it is safe and best to use frozen brie cheese within 3 months. Taking into account that the shelf life of opened brie stored in the fridge is around 14 days, extending its shelf life to a minimum of 90 days is still great progress.
How to Defrost Brie Cheese
When defrosting brie cheese, the key is to not expose it to drastic temperature changes. Otherwise, the texture of the cheese will be affected.
Here is what you should do.
- Take out the cheese from the freezer at least 12 hours before you intend to use it. Do this to make sure it is ready and thawed when you need it.
- Put the cheese on a plate to avoid water leaking in the fridge. If you have frozen the brie in wedges, defrost only as much as you need. Leave the cheese in the fridge until it has all softened. This may take you from a few hours to a day depending on the size of the cheese piece you are thawing. A brie wheel will obviously take longer to defrost compared to brie slices or wedges.
- Before eating the cheese, take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for half an hour.
If you don’t have time to wait for the cheese to defrost in the fridge, you can accelerate the thawing process with the help of the microwave.
Another method is putting the cheese wrapped in plastic wrap under cold (never warm) running water. While these methods certainly work, they significantly affect the texture of the cheese.
Use the defrosted brie cheese within 2-3 days. During this time, keep the brie refrigerated.
If you have defrosted the cheese in the microwave or under cold running water, use it immediately and don’t store it in the fridge for later use.
Tip: If you are going to add the brie into a soup or stew where it will melt anyway, don’t spend time defrosting it. The warmth of the hot dish will do the job.
Freezing Unbaked Brie in Puff Pastry
A wheel of brie cheese wrapped in puff pastry is one of the easiest and most delicious appetizers you can make. And the good thing is, you can make brie in puff pastry ahead of time and freeze it for later use.
You can freeze brie in puff pastry both baked and unbaked.
To freeze unbaked brie in puff pastry, simply wrap the cheese in the dough however you like. You can skip brushing the pastry with a beaten egg; you can do it before baking the brie.
Wrap the brie with cling wrap. Use a few layers to make sure that you have protected the pastry against freezer burn. You can put the brie wrapped in food wrap in a sealable plastic bag for an extra layer of protection.
When storing the cheese wrapped in dough in the freezer, make sure you don’t put anything heavy on it. Frozen puff pastry is very firm and cannot be easily damaged, but this is not the case with unfrozen dough.
So, when you first put the cheese wrapped in puff pastry in the freezer, make sure it doesn’t touch anything. Heavier items can easily tear or dent the dough. You can move it around once the pastry and the cheese are all frozen.
There is no need to thaw brie frozen in puff pastry. Whenever you need to serve the brie, transfer it from the freezer right into the oven. It will take you around 50 minutes to bake frozen brie in puff pastry at 350 °F.
Don’t forget to brush the pastry with a beaten egg before baking it.
Freezing Baked Brie in Puff Pastry
You can freeze brie in puff pastry baked, too. This is a good way to save some dinner preparation time.
To do so, bake the brie wrapped in puff pastry brushed with a beaten egg. Once the pastry is all puffy and golden, take the brie out of the oven and let it cool down.
Note: Never put brie in puff pastry in the freezer when it is still warm. Doing this will create condensation, affecting the texture of the pastry. It will also raise the temperature in the freezer. This, in its turn, will certainly affect the safety of the products that are already in the cold storage.
When the brie wrapped in puff pastry has cooled down, gently wrap it with food wrap. As baked puff pastry is very flaky and fragile, we recommend putting it in a plastic or glass container with a tight-sealing lid.
Don’t let baked brie wrapped in pastry thaw in the fridge or at room temperature. Doing this will only make the dough soft and mushy.
Instead, preheat your oven to 200 °F and bake the frozen brie in puff pastry for around half an hour. The pastry will be flaky and crispy as if it is freshly baked, and the cheese will be all melted.
We recommend freezing baked brie in puff pastry only a few days in advance. This way the appetizer will have the right taste and texture when reheated.
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