However, storing cheese properly can be a bit of a mystery. If you’ve ever unwrapped a block of your favorite cheese only to find it’s morphed into a science experiment, you know the struggle is real.
But fear not, cheese lovers! This guide will slice through the confusion and provide you with the best methods to ensure your cheese stays fresh, delicious, and free from unwanted mold.
All cheeses are alive and they should be treated as such
The flavor of cheese has 3 critical stages and we want to keep them within the first 2 stages at all times.
- Stage 1: Ages from young unripe, and underdeveloped to
- Stage 2: Ripe, mature, and delicious to
- Stage 3: Overripe. Look and taste not appealing anymore
3 Best Ways to Store Cheese: Enhanced Guide on Cheese Preservation Methods
The optimal preservation of cheese involves mimicking its natural aging conditions as closely as possible.
Here’s how to properly store your cheese to maintain its quality, texture, and taste.
1. Utilize a Wooden Box:
One of the best ways to store cheese is in a wooden box. The porous nature of wood helps maintain a natural humidity balance, which is beneficial for the cheese’s longevity and flavor preservation. This method can also protect the cheese from absorbing other flavors in the refrigerator.
2. Refrigerate in Waxed Paper:
If a wooden box isn’t available, you can keep the cheese wrapped in its original waxed paper. This type of paper allows the cheese to breathe while maintaining the necessary moisture level. Place the wrapped cheese in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer, which provides a more stable temperature and humidity compared to other areas of the fridge.
3. Replicate Original Ripening Conditions:
Another effective method is to recreate the cheese’s initial ripening conditions. Ideally, this means maintaining a temperature of 50 to 54°F (10 to 12°C) and a humidity level of about 90%. These conditions can be challenging to achieve at home, but you can come close by using a dedicated cheese cave or a specialized cheese storage container.
Remember, each cheese variety has specific storage needs based on its age, texture, and type.
Always check for any particular storage recommendations for the cheese you’ve bought. By following these methods, you’ll ensure that your cheese retains its optimal flavor and texture for as long as possible.
Why You Should Never Store Your Cheese in Plastic
Storing cheese in plastic is a common mistake that many people make without realizing the negative impact it has. When cheese ripens, it naturally gives off ammonia, and when it’s wrapped in plastic wrap or film, the ammonia can’t escape and goes back into the cheese, altering its taste and quality.
Plastic is essentially considered as kryptonite for cheese. It can suffocate the cheese, preventing it from breathing, which is vital for preserving its flavor. Moreover, since cheese is mainly composed of oil and fat, it can absorb chemicals and flavors from the plastic, which are not edible and can be harmful.
It is recommended to store cheese wrapped in paper, not plastic, and placing it in another container for extra protection. This method ensures that the cheese gets ample oxygen and humidity, crucial for its preservation. Avoiding the use of plastic wrap not only prevents the cheese from becoming damp but also avoids the addition of off, plastic-y flavors to it.
Remember, proper storage can significantly prolong the life of your cheese and maintain its good taste. So the next time you’re about to wrap your cheese in plastic, think again!
In summary, here’s why:
- Plastic suffocates your cheese
- Plastic makes your cheese taste stale
- In terms of aroma, if stronger-smelling cheeses are around, it can permeate the flavor of those around it; especially those stored in plastic.
Cheese is alive and it needs to breathe.
3 Good Materials to Wrap Your Cheese
If you’re a cheese lover, knowing the best materials to wrap your cheese in is crucial for maintaining its quality, flavor, and lifespan. Here are 3 good materials each with its own merits:
- Cheese Paper: This is a specially designed paper that allows cheese to breathe while maintaining optimal humidity, preventing it from drying out.
- Parchment or Waxed Paper: If you don’t have cheese paper handy, parchment or waxed paper is a great alternative. It helps keep the cheese fresh and prevents it from absorbing unwanted flavors.
- Reusable, Compostable Food Wraps: These are an eco-friendly option for storing cheese. They’re typically made from beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin, creating a breathable, sustainable wrap.
Should I Store My Cheese in Ventilated or Static Refrigeration?
The older a cheese, the more it supports the cold. Whereas younger cheeses have to breathe more to develop.
Yogurts, fromage frais, goat’s cheeses, and small cheeses need static refrigeration to ensure preservation.
Voluminous cheeses are better stored using ventilated refrigeration.
|Static Refrigeration||Ventilated Refrigeration|
|Allows air to circulate freely. Warm air rises and cold air sinks. Recommended for cheeses sensitive to sudden changes in humidity.||Fans non-humid cold air evenly throughout the refrigerator.|
Avoid Setting your temperatures too low or too high
- Set to very low temperatures. This will hinder the development of the cheese and kill the flavor and odor. It will have a negative impact on color, look, and consistency too.
- Set to high temperatures. Doing so will stimulate a secondary fermentation. This will deteriorate the quality of the cheese.
Cold, circulating air is the enemy of cheese. You should always store your cheese in the vegetable or produce drawer of your refrigerator as much as you can. This will keep your cheese in a relatively more humid environment compared to anywhere else in the fridge.
How to Store Cheese the Right Way (Infographic)
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Should I keep my cheese in the fridge or freezer?
Cheese is best stored in the refrigerator, not the freezer. The cool, controlled environment of the fridge allows the cheese to age properly and helps to prevent the growth of unwanted mold.
When it comes to storing cheese in the freezer, it’s not typically recommended. Freezing can change the texture of the cheese, making it crumbly and hard. This is especially true for soft and semi-soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, or Mozzarella.
However, if you must freeze your cheese (for instance, if you have a large block you can’t eat quickly enough), hard and semi-hard cheeses like Cheddar and Swiss are more likely to survive freezing with less damage to their texture.
2. Can I store cheese in ziplock?
Yes, you can store cheese in a Ziploc bag, but it’s not the ideal method for all types of cheese.
Storing cheese in a resealable plastic bag like a Ziploc can work, particularly for hard cheeses. Some people suggest wrapping the cheese in foil and then placing it inside a Ziploc bag, as this can help mimic the conditions of a cave, which is beneficial for cheese preservation.
However, keep in mind that cheese needs to breathe, and plastic bags can sometimes create too much moisture, which can lead to mold growth. To mitigate this, you could first wrap your cheese in cheese paper, parchment paper, or wax paper before placing it in a Ziploc bag. This method allows the cheese to breathe while also offering extra protection.
For soft cheese, using a Tupperware container might be a better option and the vegetable drawer or cheese drawer of your refrigerator provides a stable temperature and humidity, which is ideal for storing wrapped cheeses.
Storing cheese properly is an art that can greatly enhance your culinary experience. By following the outlined methods—utilizing a wooden box, refrigerating in waxed paper, or replicating the original ripening conditions—you can significantly improve the shelf life and quality of your favorite cheeses.
Remember, each cheese variety has its unique storage needs, so always check for any specific recommendations for the cheese you’ve bought.
With these tips in hand, you’re now equipped to keep your cheese fresh, delicious, and ready for your next cheese-filled adventure.
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