Cheese is the result of the slow interaction between milk solids, micro-fauna that exist in raw milk, cultures that are introduced by the cheesemaker and the environment in which the cheese is matured and/or aged. Some types of cheese — in full, uncut wheels — can age for many years as their flavour, aroma and texture improve over time. However, not all cheeses improve with age.
Once a wheel is cut and the rind is broken, the cheese begins to deteriorate, and small pieces of cheese have an even shorter lifespan than large wheels. Unless properly handled and stored, the cheese can quickly lose its distinctive taste, texture and appearance.
There are many types of cheeses and no single way to store all types. However, there are general rules than can greatly reduce premature spoilage. We have compiled a few tips that should help keep your cheese alive and tasting scrumptious.
DON’T WRAP CHEESE IN CONVENTIONAL NON-POROUS MATERIALS
The delicate flavour balance achieved by the cheesemaker requires oxygen exchange and storage at the proper humidity. Non-porous materials suffocate cheese, causing the dreaded ammonia flavour (particularly in soft cheeses). Non-porous materials also trap too much moisture within, accelerating the growth of invasive surface moulds. All of our cheeses are wrapped and delivered in a special wax paper that allows the cheese to breathe. You can re-use this paper by simply cleaning it with a clean damp cloth and let it dry before use.
“FACE CLEAN” ROOM TEMPERATURE CHEESE BEFORE RE-WRAPPING
Cheeses left out at room temperature may sweat or release oil. This is perfectly normal. If you must re-refrigerate cheese that has been left out at room temperature - before rewrapping, “face clean” the cheese by scraping its surface with a non-serrated knife removing any debris or oil from the surface; then wrap securely in your cheese paper.
KEEP CHEESE IN THE REFRIGERATOR AND ONLY WARM WHAT YOU WILL CONSUME IN EACH SITTING
Cheese should ideally be enjoyed at room temperature, but it will last longer in your refrigerator. Drastic temperature changes are not good for your cheese. If you have leftover cheese that has been out for hours, leave this cheese stored under a cheese dome at room temperature and enjoy the next day. There is nothing better than a soft cheese that has been left out all night on your morning toast! Never freeze cheese.
CHECK AND REWRAP CHEESE PERIODICALLY
Do not forget about wrapped cheese in the back of your refrigerator. Regularly remove stored cheese from the refrigerator, unwrap and inspect it. Eat a bite of cheese every day! If the paper has become damp or soaked through with oil, rewrap with a new or cleaned piece of cheese paper.
Cutting soft cheese while is cold will be cleaner and will make it easier to move the cheese to the serving dish. Harder cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or aged Gouda are much easier to cut at room temperature. For hard cheese, a sharp cheese knife with an offset handle is the professional utensil of choice. For soft cheese a cheese harp, wire or Roquefort bow will ensure clean cuts without deforming shape. Always use clean tools to prevent the introduction of new molds or bacteria.