How to store cheese
How do you store your cheese – and what are the signs that the cheese has gone bad? Get the answers here!
Remove any plastic wrapping
Wrapping your cheese in any type of plastic, whether it be cellophane or bags, prevents it from breathing and builds up too much moisture. Sealing it in plastic alters the protective rind that preserves the cheese, and eventually removes any flavour and texture.
Use cheese paper or aluminium foil
Conserve your cheese by covering it in wax paper and aluminium foil. This keeps it from drying out, and allows it to breathe, ensuring that your cheese lasts as long as possible. Once wrapped you should place your cheese in an airtight container, to make sure it gets the right amount of moisture. A plastic container also stops strong cheeses from emitting extreme odour, and shields against pressure and bumps.
Soft cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert, will last several weeks if wrapped in wax paper under proper conditions, while firm cheeses, i.e. cheddar and parmesan, thrive inside aluminium foil.
Don’t wrap it too tightly
Some cheeses are cured for bacteria to develop ammonia. Ammonia is a natural by-product of cheese, but most cheeses develop unpleasant flavours if they never get to release it. Wrapping cheese too tightly prevents it from releasing moisture and breathing out odours that can cause ammonia. When wrapping your cheese in aluminium foil, you should make sure to leave room for it to breathe.
Replace the paper
While cutting or serving your cheese, you will unavoidably have to touch the wrapper. Avoid bacteria from your fingers or other foods staining your cheese by replacing the wrapping paper after each use. This maintains the natural balance of humidity in the wrapping and ensures that your cheese stays fresh and flavourful for as long as possible.
Keep it in the vegetable drawer
When storing your cheese, the temperature should be the same as which it was cured at. For most cheeses 5-7°C will keep them fresh for a few weeks, provided they have been properly wrapped. Leaving your cheese in the fridge will decelerate the maturing rate, while warmer conditions allows mould and flavour to develop much quicker. Keep in mind that storing cheese in the refrigerator eventually will dehydrate it, and make it dry out. A much better option would be to store it in the vegetable drawer.
Remember to bring out all the nuances in the flavour by removing your cheese from the refrigerator a few hours before serving.
USE YOUR SENSES
These tips will keep your cheese tasting good for longer, whether it’s a tangy cheddar, a heavenly brie or a zesty blue. If you’re in doubt as to whether it’s okay to enjoy that last piece, don’t be afraid to touch, smell or inspect your cheese for dryness or unwanted moisture. Look for any cracks that could indicate dry air and see if you can detect the smell of ammonia. If so, it could be a sign that, unfortunately, it’s time to throw your cheese away.
Now you have your cheese safely stored, find out what to do with your leftovers!
LEFTOVER CHEESE RECIPES
Cheese can play both starring and supporting roles in a surprising number of recipes. Explore our delicious leftover cheese recipes here so you can indulge your cheese cravings to the last ounce.