Throughout the course of one full sales day, our cheesemongers wrap and unwrap one piece of cheese about 10-20 times. Multiply that with the number of cheeses for sale, and you’ll see why our entire team knows how to expertly (and quickly!) wrap any piece of cheese- no matter how funkily shaped.
Proper cheese care knowledge is a cornerstone of any good cheesemonger’s daily responsibilities. Learn how you can apply professional cheesemonger tips to your personal stash of bries, goudas, cheddars, and more.
1. Let your cheeses breathe!
Cheeses are living, breathing things, so make sure you store them in material that allows for some air to pass through. This is why wrapping your cheeses in plastic is a bad idea. Professional cheesemongers often wrap their cheeses in plastic because it allows them to be displayed clearly and the cheese is sold through quickly enough to prevent molding and deterioration. When keeping cheeses at home, think of using something porous, like beeswax paper, parchment paper, or even a tupperware container with holes cut into it. Especially for softer cheeses, like brie, placing it into a breathable solid container is the best bet.
2. Where to keep your cheese.
Keeping your cheese dry and cool is very important for its lifespan. Since not everyone has access to a cheese cave, keeping your cheese in your refrigerator salad drawer is a good option. It’s dry, separate from the rest of the odors of your fridge, and will keep the cheese cool and happy. When cheese receives too much moisture, it will ammoniate- rendering it completely inedible (you'll be able to immediately tell by its strong ammonia smell).
3. Storing your cheese.
When keeping cheese for a longer period of time, it’s always best to keep the cheese in its whole wheel form. This is why cheeses are best bought from professional cheesemongers who cut your piece of cheese straight from the whole wheel. The pre-sliced, plastic-wrapped, fridge-sitting cheeses often found at grocery stores are often lacking in flavor and dried out. When storing cheeses at home, make sure to leave them in the whole-ist possible form possible. This means: don't pre-slice, crumble, or grate the entire cheese- only as much as is needed at the moment.
4. Cleaning your cheese.
At BKLYN Larder, we “face” cheeses on a daily basis. This means we take a sharp knife and cut or scrape off the outermost layer of the cheese. Facing the cheeses gets rid of any potential plastic smell, mold, and other unpleasantness. Though, keep in mind- facing cheeses to get rid of mold works for harder cheeses; mold can’t penetrate these harder textures. If you see mold on softer cheeses, like ricotta and gorgonzola, you must toss the whole piece away. Mold can send threads throughout softer cheese, making it unsafe to eat.
5. Please, oh, please let your cheese temper before eating.
Storing your cheeses in a cooler temperature is ideal for storing, not for eating. The fat molecules in cheese contract when it’s colder. Letting the cheese come to room temperature (wrapped, of course! You don’t want the cheeses to dry out during this process) allows for the fat molecules to expand- which means deeper flavor throughout. Plus, the cheeses will have the best texture at room temperature. Again, you have the relaxed fat molecules to thank for that!