How do you go about storing cheese after aging? Do you need to stop the maturation process? Can you?
There are some of the questions that I was asked today by a reader, Roger in NZ. Here is his email (with permission).
I hope you had a great Xmas and New Year.
I wonder if you could tell me about what to do once your cheese has matured. I have made
your Stilton and Wensleydale and they are maturing nicely so when they are ready do you cut them into wedges and wrap them?
Are they then kept in the refrigerator or are they left in the cheese maturing box?
Do you remove all the cheese wax when you first cut into the Wensleydale?
Sorry to bother you about this but I envy your extensive knowledge on these things.
Thanks and best regards,
Roger, Palmerston North, New Zealand”
Well Roger and dear readers, these are some issues that you will need to deal with as your cheese matures.
Personally, semi-hard cheese like Wensleydale can be treated in two ways. The first way is to leave it to mature in your cheese fridge/cave until you want to use it, as it will grow stronger in flavour as time passes. However there will come a time when you want to stop maturation and keep that certain special flavour until the cheese is totally consumed.
When I think a cheese has matured, I removed the wax, give the cheese a clean with a clean cloth and brine solution if it has any blemishes or mould, and then taste a little bit of it.
If the cheese has not reached the desired flavour, I re-wax it as quickly as I can and pop it back in the cheese fridge with a new date attached to it for when I am going to retry it again.
|Aged Pepperjack with a re-waxed quarter.|
However, if the cheese is just right, then I cut it into quarters, and either vac-pack each quarter separately, or re-wax each quarter, label them and put them in a cheese box that I have in the normal refrigerator. By dropping the temperature down to around 4C (39F), it slows down the aging process dramatically. Excluding air by waxing or vac-packing each quarter ensures that there should be no further mould development.
If it is a Stilton or Blue cheese, you could vac-pack, but I find that it is just as easy and safe to wrap in cheese micro-wrap, or wrapping in grease-proof baking paper. Then store it in the normal refrigerator as per a semi-hard cheese.
Same goes for a hard cheese like Parmesan or Romano. I simply wrap these cheeses in baking paper, store them at 4C, and they tend not to dry out any further.
Besides, my finished cheese tends not to be stored too long after maturation, because our family has either eaten it, or I have given it away to friends!
I hope this post has shed some light on what to do with your cheese after maturation.
Do any of you do it differently that may be worth mentioning? Please feel free to leave a comment.