The SOMM Journal

June / July 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 40 of 124

40 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } JUNE/JULY 2017 { wheying in } GOOD CHEESE COSTS A FORTUNE, so you don't want to waste a speck. One guaranteed way to lose money is to store it carelessly. Poor wrapping and temperature abuse will hasten its demise. But let's think positively. By storing cheese correctly, you can maximize its useful life so you or your cus - tomers can enjoy it down to the final ounce. Cheese hates plastic film. Moist cheeses especially suffer in that impermeable wrap. As they release whey, the moisture gets trapped so the rind deteriorates, the cut side gets slimy and an ammonia aroma builds. Even for a firm cheese like Comté, plastic wrap is not ideal. The cut face quickly picks up an unmistakable plastic-wrap taste. You can scrape the surface (mongers call it "facing") to refresh the cheese, but that's money down the drain. Plastic wrap is a necessary evil in cheese shops, where customers want to see the merchandise. But in your own home or restaurant, you have better options. The tips that follow reflect my own experience and the recommendations of the American Cheese Society: • Wrap semi-soft to semi-firm cheeses (Camembert, Red Hawk, Humboldt Fog) in dedicated "cheese paper" like the perforated two-ply paper sold by Formaticum ( Wax paper also works. These porous wraps allow the cheese to breathe. Then place the wrapped cheese in a lidded con - tainer or cardboard box to protect it from the drying air of the refrigerator. • Segregate cheeses by style. The surface molds and bacteria travel, so keep blue cheeses, bloomy-rind cheeses and washed-rind cheeses separate. • Hard aged cheeses like Parmigiano- Reggiano and Pecorino Romano don't have much moisture left, so breathing is less of an issue. Wrap in wax paper, then overwrap tightly with aluminum foil. • Change the wrap every time you unwrap and cut a cheese. • Minimize temperature fluctuations, just as you would for wine. Bring to room temperature only as much cheese as you expect to use. Flavor and texture will take a hit if the cheese has to return to the fridge. • Cut cheeses can develop oxidized or stale aromas, even a corky aroma, in storage. If you have had a cut piece under wraps for more than a day, refresh the surface as a conscientious monger would, by "facing" it. (We're talking semi-firm to firm cheeses here.) With a sharp knife, scrape the surface a few times to remove the outer layer and expose the fresh sur - face underneath. • Try not to buy more cheese than you will use in a few days. Cheese is never better than the moment it is cut. Even whole cheeses would rather be in a creamery's aging room; with rare exceptions, they won't improve in your chilly, low-humidity refrigera - tor. As the Formaticum folks like to say, the best place to store cheese is in your stomach. Janet Fletcher is the author of Cheese & Wine, Cheese & Beer and The Cheese Course. She publishes Planet Cheese, a weekly blog, and teaches cheese-appreciation classes around the country. www.ja It's a Wrap! Cheese paper by Formaticum is specially designed for optimal cheese storage. STORING CHEESE PROPERLY ELIMINATES WASTE AND IMPROVES YOUR BOTTOM LINE by Janet Fletcher PHOTO COURTESY OF FORMATICUM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The SOMM Journal - June / July 2017