Learn how to make Brie at home with Roland Schmidt-Bellach, Co-Owner of Changing Seasons Bed & Breakfast in Nanton, Alberta.

Roland teaches cheese-making classes out of his Changing Seasons Bed and Breakfast in Nanton, AB. While classes have been suspended during the pandemic, watch for new dates this spring as restrictions begin to ease: Learn to make cheese classes

Time requirements for making this recipe:

  • 1-4 hours to make and add curd
  • 6 hours to first turn
  • 12 hours to second turn
  • 1 hour to brine
  • 2 weeks to age

Black Pepper Brie

Servings 2 rounds


  • 1 large stock pot (6-8 l or 1½-2 gallon)
  • measuring spoons
  • thermometer (digital preferred)
  • wide slotted spoon or ladle
  • regular ladle
  • long knife (bread knife works)
  • Brie rounds (we used 10 cm/4 inch plastic pipe sawed to a 15 cm/6 inch height)
  • draining mat (bamboo)
  • wire draining rack
  • draining tray or pan (serving tray works)
  • large container for brining (need to submerge 2 brie rounds at 10 cm/4 in in diameter)
  • air-tight storage container for aging in the fridge
  • aging rack (slotted wooded rack)
  • aging mat (perforated rubber mat)


  • 1 gallon skim or 1% milk (4L)
  • 4 1/4 cup 32% whipping cream (1L)
  • 1/4 tsp calcium chloride* (1 1/4 ml)
  • 1/8 tsp mesophilic culture* (2/3 ml)
  • 1/16 tsp penicillium candidum* (1/3 ml)
  • 1/4 tsp rennet* (1 1/4ml)
  • black pepper from pepper mill
  • non-iodized salt
  • *Buy online or find a list of stores at makecheese.ca


  • Place large pot in your kitchen sink with the stopper in.
  • Bring milk and cream to room temperature then pour into your pot.
  • Mix calcium chloride with 60 ml (¼ cup) of non-chlorinated water, then add to milk mixture.
  • Stir for 3 minutes then heat milk gently/evenly to 29C (84F) by pouring boiling water into the sink around your pot and stirring to distribute heat evenly.
  • Once warmed, add mesophilic culture and penicillium candidum to the milk mixture – do not stir. Let the cultures hydrate on top of the milk for 5 minutes.
  • When hydrated, stir in cultures for 3-5 minutes.
  • Dilute rennet in 60 ml (¼ cup) non-chlorinated water.
  • Stir into milk for 1 minute.
  • Let sit for 40-50 minutes until curds have set.

Draining prep


  • While you’re waiting for your curds to set, assemble your draining station beside the sink.
  • Place draining tray next to the sink,
  • Place wire draining rack perpendicularly on top of the draining tray,
  • Place draining mats on top of the draining rack meeting in the middle, with the long ends hanging off the sides of the rack,
  • Place brie rounds beside each other in the centre, each on its own mat,
  • Practice folding the mat over the top of the round and flipping the round holding tightly to the top and the bottom. This will be a crucial and difficult step later, so you’ll want to be confident.

Curd cutting


  • When curds have set with a soft, jello-like consistency that can be cut cleanly with a knife, cut curds into approx. 2-cm (1 inch) cubes by cutting across in a grid pattern as close to the bottom of the pot as you can with your long knife (cubes don’t have to be perfect).
  • When you’re done cutting, let the curds “heal” for 5 minutes.
  • Ensuring your temperature is back up to 29C by adding more hot water to the sink (not the pot), gently stir with your ladle for another 5 minutes lifting contents from the bottom of the pot to the top to separate the whey from the curds.

Form filling/draining


  • With your slotted ladle, begin lifting the curds from the pot into the rounds you prepared, one after the other.
  • Between each layer, grind a thin sprinkle of pepper into the rounds, then add the next layer keeping the rounds even as you go.
  • Continue alternating layers of curd and pepper.
  • You can press a regular ladle down into the curds to help drain off whey as well, or you can manually drain rounds using the flipping technique in the next step and holding over the sink as whey drains. Be very careful to maintain pressure on both ends when using this technique.
  • Once you’ve filled and drained as much as you can in an hour, let sit on your draining mat for 6 hours.



  • After 6 hours, fold each draining mat over the top of its respective round and gently slide off the edge of the rack keeping one hand firmly on top and sliding on to the other hand maintaining downward pressure.
  • Flip the round and place topside down on the draining mat.
  • Note: If you take the pressure off the bottom, your curds will all fall out of the round.



  • After flipping, let it sit for 12 hours.
  • Gently pull the form off the cheese. If it slides on as easily as it slid off, it is ready for brining. If not, do your best to get it back on the cheese with as little damage as possible and wait another few hours before trying again.



  • When ready, submerse cheese rounds for 1 hour in an 18% salt solution by weight (225g salt per litre of water), flipping over at the halfway mark. Remember to use non-iodized salt. This can be done in a large bowl or plastic container as long as the cheese is completely submerged. You will need to use a sterile glass or another object to weigh the cheese down as it will float in the brining solution.
  • When complete, place the rounds back on your rack and let dry for 24-48 hours at room temperature until just tacky to the touch (time will vary depending on the humidity of your environment.)

Storage and aging


  • Place a rack and a draining mat in the bottom of your aging container and place rounds on top adding a tsp of water in the bottom before putting on the air-tight lid.
  • Store at 5-15C (we used our fridge) for at least 2 weeks, turning daily, or until the sides begin to feel a little spongy (softer). The white rind develops around 10 days.
  • Continue to age as per your taste (we like 4 weeks).
  • Enjoy with your favourite bread, wine or beer while you brag to your friends about having made this delicious brie yourself!