This weekend, in search of a snack, our resident Cheesemonger slid open her refrigerator's dairy compartment, only to find (and taste) a flagrant reminder of what NOT to do with cheese. And the worst part? She had to face the fact that even she can be guilty of the offense. Don't store your cheese in plastic wrap!
There it sat, a portion of a portion of a wedge from a time long ago, that in a fit of haste and laze, I wrapped in plastic. As I peeled away its filmy layers, despite that the piece remained unscathed visually, the plasticky scent emerged with ease, like when you accidentally heat something up in a non-microwaveable container. Taste-wise, scathed it was, an evil twin in disguise, tasting of a bitter version of its former self, like the rubber sole of a gym shoe.
It's most definitely the quickest way to store leftover cheese pieces, but it's also the fastest way to ruin what you've brought home. In short, the ease of a sheath of plastic isn't worth the sacrifice you'll make in flavor.
You may see reputable retailers who wrap their portioned opened wheels of cheese in plastic, but they're also wrapping and unwrapping their cheeses many times during the day; a cheese must be privy to the suffocative masking of plastic for about two days before taking on those plastic flavors.
The best way to store cheese is with cheese paper. You can find a great one at Murray's Cheese, $5 for a roll of 15. The next best thing is to wrap first in parchment paper or wax paper, and then in plastic wrap, eliminating contact of cheese and plastic, but still preventing the piece from drying out. If you buy a piece of cheese that's pre-cut and wrapped in plastic, just rewrap it when you get it home.
For more of our tips on cheese storage, see The Cheesemonger's Top Ten Rules for Ultimate Cheese Sanity.
• Cheese is Alive! Formaticum Cheese Paper
(Image: Flickr member mike.negus licensed under Creative Commons)