The Cheese Owners Manual

Getting it home

Soft young cheeses like to be cool, but will tolerate some time at ambient temperatures. Our rule of thumb is, if you are comfortable, so is the cheese. So on any hot day, if your aren’t heading right home to store the cheese, carry it with you. At least don’t leave it in the car where temperatures rise like an oven.

Farm market customers have learned to bring a cooler and ice packs with them to the farm market during the heat of summer. This way they can shop at the market early to get the best quality and selection and still be able to stop for brunch with friends or run other errands without compromising the quality of their food purchases. One couple proudly showed Fleming a cooler they had bought just for carrying our cheese home, yet still allowing time for that important Saturday morning coffee stop at Weaver Street Market. It was an insulated wine bag with a frozen ice insert! Holds 3 logs of cheese, or one wine bottle. Cool idea.

How long will it keep in the fridge?

The quick answer is: weeks – if packaged properly. In its natural life cycle cheese gradually dries out as it ages. Small cheeses have shorter aging periods than larger ones. Ours, at about one pound, have a natural aging period of only 3-6 weeks.

Your challenge is to guide this process in your fridge, which is both colder and dryer than an ideal cheese aging room. The waxed parchment deli paper we use to wrap the cheese retards evaporation, thus compensating the low humidity level in your fridge but lets it breathe so it doesn’t get slimey. As it dries up into a small firm log we use it as a grating cheese for salads, pasta dishes, and roasted vegetables.

Will it Freeze?

Yes – definitely! If you are stocking up on cheese in the Fall to carry you over the winter when the goats are pregnant, and there’s no milk to make cheese from – pop your cheese into the freezer. The plastic deli cups used to package our soft Serendipity spreads are a perfect freezer container. However – the chèvre logs need to be put into freezer quality zip-lock bags. For best results – thaw the cheese slowly in your fridge overnight. After thawing, the cheese’s flavor is unchanged.

Hint: before freezing – use a length of dental floss to cut the cheese. This leaves a clean sharp surface that both looks neat, and minimizes exposure to the air. Cut the chèvre logs into smaller size pieces, and re-wrap in deli paper. This way you can remove and thaw an individual portion size of cheese.