It starts with the slim rind that yields to your knife like a layer of snowy ice resting on silken water. Beneath, lies the beautiful cultured tang and smooth-as-whipped-cream texture, a velvet robe for your taste buds.
Such is the beauty of double and triple crème cheese.
The association with extravagance—in terms of both taste and concept—is a hallmark of double and triple crème cheeses. The name alone suggests richness, double or triple the pleasure, throwing caution to the wind.
What are double and triple crème cheeses?
Double and triple crème cheeses are simply the result of extra cream being added to milk when making soft-ripened cheeses, such as Brie. They are then classified as double or triple crème depending on their percentage of butterfat.
This style of fromage originated in 19th-century France, when lush rounds made from cow’s milk with added cream became a symbol of opulence and a literal taste of luxury.
In France, the use of the terms “double crème” and “triple crème” on labels is protected by law. Achieved with the addition of cream to the milk before coagulation, the former must contain 60% to 75% butterfat, while the latter is obliged to carry a minimum of 75% butterfat. But these figures can be misleading—they refer to fat in dry matter, the fat present in the solids that would remain if all of the moisture was removed from the cheese.
So don’t let the word “butterfat” scare you. Many soft, creamy cheeses actually have less total fat than their firmer cousins.
Fat content in cheese is measured in parts per dry matter. Since so much of a soft cheese is actually comprised of water weight, the fat solids are significantly less than a hard cheese. Ounce for ounce, Brie is actually less fattening than the same weight of an aged Gouda, which can pack in more fat per morsel because there’s virtually no moisture content.
American cheesemakers tend to abide by the French conventions, but they aren’t subject to the same legal regulations—and while the addition of cream to the milk is a constant, the quantity varies among producers.
Is Reny Picot Brie double or triple crème?
At Old Europe Cheese, we make two different types of award-winning Reny Picot Brie cheeses. The first is our Reny Picot Double Crème Brie containing 60% butterfat. The second is our Saint Rocco Triple Crème Brie containing 70% butterfat.
The enduring popularity and continuing evolution of triple crèmes have certainly benefited mongers, makers, and consumers alike. And from French classics to newer American interpretations, these versatile cheeses present a perfect opportunity to indulge, whether it be at breakfast, with a glass of bubbly, or cozied up on the couch.