Here’s why you should be torching your cheese

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Brûlée cheese: Two words that immediately awake the taste buds and elicit an image of gooey, perfectly burnt discs. Increasingly trendy on social media, the recipes and techniques are easy, making for a low-effort-big-impact party dish. How do you make it at home? Our experts share their winning tips.

Image Credit: Cypress Grove /

1. Start with room temperature cheese

No matter what you do, says Lilith Spencer, Lifestyle Editor at Jasper Hill Farm, don’t start with cold cheese. “The amount of time it takes to brûlée the surface won’t be long enough to heat the entire paste through.” To ensure a scoopable, spreadable center, Spencer suggests that take your cheese out of the fridge at least one hour – and even better, two! – before you plan on preparing it. This will allow the paste to soften throughout.

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2. Choose the right cheese

Consider one wrapped in bark. “They are self-contained by their cambium belts, which makes them easy to serve and eliminates the need for a baking dish.” Spencer says. “As you brûlée the surface of the cheese, the bark around the edge gets singed, unleashing a beautiful woodsy, campfire-esque aroma.” Meg Quinn of Ain’t too Proud to Meg recommends any goat cheese, cream cheese or blue cheese in addition to Humboldt Fog.

Image Credit: Ain’t too proud to Meg /

3. Torch or broil

The broiler method works just fine, but everybody’s oven is a little different, so if you’re doing this for the first time, you’ll definitely need to pay close attention to your cheese under the flame,” Spencer says. “I’ve seen it take as little as one or two minutes and up to ten minutes for the cheese to caramelize, depending on oven size, broiler strength, and so on. Once you find that sweet spot, make sure to record details like how long you broiled the cheese, how high up you placed your oven rack, so that next time, you know what to expect.”

Alternatively, torching is a great option as well: “You have far more control, it takes less time, you’ll get a more evenly caramelized crust on top, and if you want to re-brûlée the cheese as you get halfway through, you can do so without having to relocate it,” Spencer says.

Pro tip: If your cheese is on the younger side, it may still be a little bit firm even after tempering for a couple of hours. If this is the case, Spencer suggests popping it into a low oven (200-250F) for a few minutes before you top and brûlée it. Sue Moran of the blog The View from Great Island strongly recommends using a torch, not the broiler, and recommends baking the cheese before burnishing it in this recipe.

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4. Add to cheeseboards

“Brûlée cheese is great on a cheese board, with small brie-style cheese that can be cut in half to use both sides!” says Jen Mason, founder of Curds and Co and curdbox. She suggests using white sugar or sugar in the raw, not brown sugar, for a crispier topping.

“A light drizzle of hot honey can make it extra special,” Mason adds.

Image Credit: The View from Great Island /

5. Brûlée a wedge

For additional presentation appeal, with brûlée cheese, Mason suggests cutting two-ounce wedges from a brie-style cheese and setting each wedge on a baking sheet covered in foil. Then, top with sugar and brûlée!

“Or find a very small style brie and cut in half or even thirds horizontally and brûlée one side of each and serve one slice to each person with a selection of fresh berries and Effie’s oatcakes,” Mason says.

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6. Consider the sugar-cheese ratio

Humboldt Fog, one of Cypress Grove’s most popular cheeses, was born to be brûléed. “We first learned the magic of Humboldt Fog brûlée from Jessica Lawrenz, formerly of Venissimo Cheese,” says Haley Nessler, Senior Marketing Manager at Cypress Grove. “When burnishing a thicker piece of cheese, people tend to scoop out the crunchy goodness and cheese paste but leave a bit of the cheese behind,” says Nessler. “A one inch-ish thick piece of cheese will give you the perfect bite!”

“Two thin layers of sugar will give you the perfect crunchy layer. Do one thin layer of sugar, torch it, and then do one more. Then dig in and enjoy!” says Nessler.

Looking for more guidance? Cypress Grove also offers a detailed recipe.

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by

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