Cheese is a delicious component of many meals, but it can be tricky to know how to save cheese properly. The type of cheese you buy will determine how and where you should store it.
For example, Gouda needs to be stored at a temperature between 35 and 45° F. Therefore, it should be stored in your refrigerated walk-in units. Meanwhile, Parmesan should not be stored in an air-tight container, or it will lose its flavor.
It seems each kind of hard cheese has its own special instructions. Here are some tips for storing all types of cheeses so that they last as long as possible.
What You Need to Know About Cheese Storage
Wisconsin is known as the Cheese Capital of the United States. They produce on average 3.4 billion pounds of cheese each year. There is even a shop outside Milwaukee that will sell you chocolate cheese. It tastes like fudge.
Cheese can be served as an appetizer, an entrée, and even as a dessert. Many recipes call for specific cheeses. If you are not familiar with cheese storage, you could create substantial spoilage waste.
How to Store Hard Cheese
Are you thinking of adding a new cheese dish to your menu? Or are you considering revising current recipes with a new type of cheese? Cheese is delicious, but storing cheese can present a challenge to keep it tasting great. Before you purchase these cheesy ingredients, review some helpful information regarding hard cheese storage.
1. Remove Original Packaging
You don’t want to keep your cheese in the original vacuum-sealed packaging. It tends to suffocate the cheese. It is recommended that you gently unwrap the cheese to prepare it for storage.
Take this opportunity to taste the cheese. Since it’s wrapped in plastic, make sure that it doesn’t taste as though it was. If it does, you can cut around the edges of most cheeses to solve this distasteful problem.
2. Wrap in Kitchen Paper
There are three different types of kitchen paper you can wrap your cheese in. The most popular choice is cheese paper. However, wax and parchment paper also works to preserve the cheese in storage.
When cutting the paper, measure just over three lengths of the block. This will ensure that the cheese is completely covered before you tape it closed. This part of the process does not require an airtight seal. However, do not wrap the paper loosely.
3. Label with Date & Cheese Type
Labeling your cheese is the most critical step in the storage process. Include the date that you purchased the cheese. Also, mark the type of cheese you are storing. Since the paper prevents you from seeing what the cheese looks like, labeling it will ensure there is no mix-up later.
You can use sticker labels or write directly on the paper. However, it is recommended that you do write on it. You don’t want to accidentally mark the cheese.
4. Wrap in Plastic Wrap
The next step is to wrap the paper-covered cheese with clear plastic wrap for added protection. The refrigerator can be a harsh environment for cheese and other daily products. Taking this measure will ensure that your cheese doesn’t absorb any smells from the other food in your refrigeration unit.
An alternative to plastic wrap is a resealable clear plastic bag. However, it can be challenging to ensure that no air gets into the plastic bag. For that reason, plastic wrap is your best bet to keep your cheese fresh.
5. Store in Cheese Container
This step is not recommended for all types of cheese. As mentioned before, Parmesan loses its delicious flavor if stored in a container. However, this type of storage is appropriate for many semi-hard types of cheese. Nearly all soft cheeses should be kept in an airtight container. Here is a list of hard cheeses you can keep in containers:
How to Store Cheese in the Fridge
In a household kitchen, the best place to store cheese is on a crisper drawer. The same can be said for a restaurant setting. However, you probably don't have a crisper drawer if your restaurant uses coolers such as walk-ins with remote refrigeration systems. Keeping the temperature stable is what is most critical.
The ideal temperature for cheese that requires refrigeration is 40° F. Yet, every cheese is unique. Here is how to keep cheese fresh based on the type of cheese you are looking to store:
• Hard, Aged Cheeses: use steps 1 through 4 of the cheese storage steps, but do not place this cheese in a container.
• Bleu Cheeses: placing paper around these types of cheeses is not necessary, yet plastic wrap is always recommended. These can be placed in a container.
• Semi-Hard Cheeses: use steps 1 through 4 of the cheese storage steps, but do not place this cheese in a container.
• Soft, Semi-soft, and Stinky: each step of the storage process can be followed depending on the firmness of the cheese. Also, these cheeses do better in containers.
• Fresh Cheeses in Water: leave these types of cheeses in their original packaging.
What to do When Cheese is Past its Prime
What do you do if your cheese has begun to grow mold? For most cheeses, this isn't a problem. Cheese is essentially milk that was processed using a method of souring and cultivating mold. For this reason, you can cut off moldy parts, place them in new packaging and continue to use them.
If a hard cheese becomes rock hard or has formed a white film, you have to throw it out. It is too old to use and had lost any flavor it once had. You can attempt to scrape off the film to see if any cheese is still good. However, it's usually best to get rid of it in these cases.
Hard Cheese Storage Made Easy
Cheese storage is a challenge. However, the truth is, cheese is more resilient than you think. By taking a few extra steps to ensure that it remains fresh, your cheese should last a reasonably long time. These helpful storage tips will help you avoid spoilage and reduce costs.