Why A Piece of Cheese is a Ticking Timebomb

Posted by Aeolidia Collaborator on

Here at Formaticum, we are all about cheese storage. We know there are lots of other storage products out there, including plastic or silicon tubs and other fancy boxes, but there’s a reason why we stick with sheets and bags. The truth is we don’t recommend using these for storing your cheese. Why? Well, we’re glad you asked!

There’s a lot of confusion about how to properly store cheese. You may get swept up in romantic images of cheeses aging on wood shelves in caves, but that has nothing to do with preserving the 1/4 lb piece of cheese you just bought from the store. When cheese is maturing in a cave, the full wheel is intact and the rind has not been broken. That rind functions as the “packaging" protecting the interior paste of the cheese as it develops its flavor and texture. The rind allows the paste to breathe while regulating its humidity.

Once the cheese is ready for sale, it is removed from the aging cellar and stored in refrigeration. The cold temperature stops the maturation process and preserves the cheese for sale. The rind continues to act as the protective packaging. When the cheese is ready to be eaten, the wheel is cut and the rind is broken. At this point, the clock starts ticking. Different cheeses have different longevities, but once a wheel is cut open there is a limited time period when it will taste as the cheesemaker intended.

At this point, the goal of proper storage is to protect the paste of the cheese that has never before seen the light of day or taken a breath of fresh air. To protect the paste and keep it fresh, professional cheese packaging is required. Carefully wrapping cut wedges in cheese packaging can help prolong the life of the cheese better than any other storage option, because it tightly protects the delicate paste while regulating humidity and allowing the cheese to breathe. Placing an unwrapped wedge of cheese in a box might make for a beautiful presentation, but it will likely lead to poor tasting cheese with an off-texture.  Leaving cut wedges of cheese in a box exposed to the air might look good but it will not do you cheese any favors.

Think of professional cheese packaging as a synthetic rind. Use it to protect the paste so you taste what the cheesemaker intended.

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