Best way to store cheese?
What's the best way to store semi-soft cheeses like provolone, monterey jack, etc?
Since I dont use these cheeses all the time, I find it difficult to finish them off within two weeks -- even the smallest package that I buy lasts a few weeks.
Currently I put them in zip-loc bags and put them put them in the covered shelf of the refrigerator.
Even then they only seem to last 2-3 weeks at the max. After that, they start getting moldy patches.
Have also tried wrapping them in saran wrap, with the same effect.
Is there a better way to store them?
Thanks so much in advance.
Here's a link to your answer, by cheese authority Steve Jenkins, author of THE CHEESE PRIMER.
Under the "why do you think they call it cheese cloth" category, I use the following method for storing hard cheeses, such as parmesan. Cut a square of cheesecloth big enough to wrap your piece of cheese in. Rinse it under running water and then squeeze out most of the moisture. Wrap the parmesan in the damp cheesecloth, and then wrap in a piece of aluminum foil. Stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge, it will stay perfectly moist and "gratable" for months.
I saw a great episode of Cooking Live on FoodTV with Laura Werlin, food journalist/cookbook author. She had some great recommendations on not only storing, but selecting, cheeses. Don't quote me, but I think she said you can store hard cheeses in parchment paper, but you should never use plastic wrap. Anyway, a link to her book is below. It looks good - has anyone read it yet?
My husband, the professional cheesemonger, tells his customers to wash their hands before opening the package, then wrap in waxed paper and put in a ziploc baggie (you can leave the baggie open at the corner so the cheese can breathe). You should change the waxed paper each time you use the cheese or every couple of days.
This IS the way I store semi-soft cheeses at home, and they last a couple of weeks. Semi-soft cheeses aren't even meant to last longer than 2 weeks or so, so if you're keeping them that long, you're doing all right!
Ideally, you would get your cheese at a cheese counter where you can get it cut to order, and therefore not have to throw away the waste!
re: Val G
From the cheesemonger:
- Well, the word here is "fresh". Like all other fresh/soft cheeses, they are meant to be eaten shortly after production. I wouldn't keep or expect that the cheese would last longer than two weeks, and even then that's with special care. By this I mean rinsing the cheese before placing in an air tight container and covering it with a brine (water and salt solution) and changing the brine every three to four days. -
Tap water is okay, but if you don't want to use it, don't! We always use filtered water/bottled water.
Even storing it the way you are currently, it doesn't sound like you're doing too badly. I use plastic wrap (as we did at the cheese shop I worked in), and if a provolone or monterey jack starts to mold a bit, it's fine to just scrape or cut it off-the rest of the cheese is just fine. Cheesecloth or parchment paper and foil, changed regularly is more "expertly" appropriate, but I think plastic wrap is easier and I don't have many problems with my cheese.