This may sound cheesy, but most of us have a close and loving relationship with cheese. However, we don’t always treat it with the respect it deserves. As cheese is not a cheap commodity, correct storage is very important.
There are many types of cheeses and no single way of storing the different types. General rules can be followed to ensure that you enjoy your cheese at its best. Correct storage is the difference between vibrant delicious living cheese and ammoniated and spoiled cheese.
The following are some pointers on how to treat your cheese:
1. The perfect environment for Cheese
Cheese needs to be stored in such a way that air can flow in and out, but the moisture loss is kept at a minimum. It requires high humidity but it must be able to breathe. The warmest part of the fridge is the best spot. Cheese needs enough time to come to room temperature before you eat it.
2. What to use for the storage of Cheese
Cheese domes are fantastic to store cheese. They can be washed and is durable. The cheese is stored under a dome in which it creates its own climate, ensuring proper humidity all the time.
Another method is to use breathable paper such as parchment paper, and then cover it in plastic wrap. Or place some rolled up paper towels in a plastic container and then place the cheese on top of the paper. The tightly sealed lid creates an environment that helps moisture stay in while the paper towel keeps it from getting too wet. Open the container once a day to let in some fresh air.
Store each different type of cheese individually as their flavors will mingle and this will affect the taste.
3. What you should not do
Do not wrap cheese in non-porous materials. The cheese will suffocate causing an unpleasant ammonia flavor (especially in soft cheeses). Non-porous materials trap the moisture within and accelerate the growth of surface molds.
Wax paper, tin foil and plastic wrap is not suitable for storing cheese. The cheese will dry out, grow surface molds and generally taste bad.
Try to buy cheese cut from a wheel. Plastic-wrapped, pre-cut pieces are simply not as tasty. If you have to buy pre-cut cheese, check the “cut and packaged date” and re-package when you get home.
4. How to freshen up cheese
Properly stored cheese can last for months in the back of the fridge. Remove the stored cheese regularly, unwrap and inspect it. If it has become damp or soaked with oil, rewrap it. When mold starts to form, wipe it off or rinse in tepid water. Dry, rub with fresh oil and store in a clean container. Mold will not make the cheese toxic but it will taste bad.
Cheeses left out at room temperature may sweat or release oil. This is normal. If you wish to rewrap it, clean it by scraping the surface with a knife removing any debris or oil. Cheese that has been left out for hours are actually delicious!
One last word – never freeze cheese!