You just bought your favourite cheese or a new one to discover and wonder how to store cheese and preserve its quality by the time you consume it all. We will visit the appropriate steps on how to store a cheese and make the pleasure last because while it may be hard to believe, it’s better to enjoy and eat the whole cheese on the same day or shortly after you bought it.
Remember, as previously discussed in a earlier post on when buying cheese, it may be at its peak of maturity. This explains the importance of knowing your fromager, he should be able to advise you on his inventory. Cheeses are in constant changes like a living product due to the enzymes and bacterias used during the making. Therefore, beyond their peak, the cheese transformation continues and unfortunately, it start to lose its flavour.
If you must store it for more than a couple of days, you should be aware of the two primary factors for good cheese preservation: temperature and humidity.
The ideal temperature is between 7-15 degrees Celsius (or 45-60 degrees Fahrenheit) while the humidity should be as much as 80 percent. Outside of these conditions they cheese will either dry (if it’s too cold) or become too soft (if it’s too hot).
It may come as a surprise but the storing cheeses in your refrigerator might not be a good idea! The best place would be fairly moist, fresh, without direct sunlight and where air flows freely, as in a basement. However, we understand not everyone may have such a place in a house or apartment. But rest assured, you could use one of your fridge drawer since it provides a better moist environment for cheeses.
Packaging is also important to keep cheeses at their best. Cheeses should be able to breath! If your cheese is already wrapped in a double paper (a combination of waxed and parchment paper) or in its own box, no need to change the packaging. Fresh cheeses may also remain in their plastic container.
For the cheeses in the soft category (including soft-ripened and semi-soft cheeses) wrapped in plastic, remove their packaging once at home and replace it with waxed or parchment paper. For cheeses you plan on keeping for a long time, wrap loosely with a plastic film (it help the cheese to keep its flavour and aroma) and try to change the packaging once in a while, it allows the cheese to literally catch his breath.
Semi-hard and Hard Cheeses
For semi-hard cheeses, you can use the plastic film on the already cut surfaces, making sure not wrap the crust. For hard cheeses, aluminium foil paper should be fine.
Blue cheeses require a bit more attention. They should be repackaged in a plastic film or in a aluminium paper foil (unless they are already packed in two layers of paper) and they should be stored at temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius (42 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s important to keep them away from ambient air as they become increasingly blue. And finally, stored them away from other cheeses not to transfer their mold.
How to store cheese is an important step to fully enjoy its flavours. Make sure to pay attention on how to store a specific cheese since each category requires different storing techniques. Finally, the last reason to eat your cheese as fast as possible is the quality deterioration every time you take it out and put it back in the fridge!
How do you store your cheeses?