Storing cheese can be a tricky business, particularly when it has been cut into a relatively small portion. The two principal factors that need to be monitored, and where possible, controlled in cheese storage are humidity and temperature. The trouble with cut cheeses is that with two open faces, they lose moisture at an alarming rate; keeping them wrapped (see guidelines below) will create an artificial rind, slowing the rate of moisture loss without preventing the cheese from breathing. Ultimately, it is best to either purchase small amounts of cheese for near immediate consumption, or larger amounts that will be able to retain their moisture. Ideally, a cool cellar (with a temperature held between 8 and 10 degrees) with around 80% humidity will suit most cut hard cheeses. However, for those of us not blessed with a pest free, hygrometer monitored cool cellarspace, the next best thing will generally be the fridge.
In terms of storing cheeses, the following courses of action are suggested:
Keep sealed in waxed paper in the fridge.
Soft and Bloomies:
Are best wrapped in waxpaper or kitchen foil
Are surprisingly resilient if they are wrapped in foil.
Mild Goat’s cheeses:
Similarly, keep wrapped in waxpaper, however, it is also a good idea to keep them as separate as possible from other foods in the fridge as they have a habit of picking up unwanted food odours. The salad drawer or tupperware containers are methods of reducing the amount of flavour-exchange
Soft washed rinds:
If not eaten immediately, re-wrap in waxed paper, and then give it a foil wrap: this is the best method to ensure that they remain as sticky as possible. If they end up on the dry side, remove any oxidised exposed sides with a knife (these appear as slightly grey, pappy looking areas) to reveal the still moist interior. The cheeses can then be refreshed with dampening with water or a very mild water-white wine solution to perk it back up.
Finally, always ensure that cheese is given time to wake up after being left in the fridge. Goat’s cheeses in particular are notoriously uninspiring in terms of texture and flavour even if half a degree too cold. Depending on the sizes of the cuts, and the length of time spent in the fridge, it is generally best to give them at least 45 minutes at ambient temperature before eating.