The following are a list of best practices / Frequently Asked Questions for cheese:BUYING
- Cheese is usually made with pasteurized (heat treated) milk to kill harmful bacteria. Unfortunately, pasteurization also destroys friendly bacteria and enzymes, although some of these can be added back artificially after the milk is pasteurized. Many serious cheese lovers prefer non-pasteurized milk based cheese.
- Many cheeses can have widely varying age, however in general, under-ripe cheeses haven't fully developed their flavour and overripe cheeses become acidic and unpleasantly pungent, sometimes with a strong ammonia smell.
- Just as you'd ask your fishmonger "What's fresh today?" ask your cheesemonger "What's ripe today?"
- Younger cheeses tend to be mild, soft, and moist. As cheeses age, they become more pungent, hard, and crumbly.
- Many lactose-intolerant people find that they can tolerate low-lactose cheeses like cream cheese, cottage cheese, Mozzarella, and Provolone.
- It's usually best to keep cheese in its original packaging. If cut, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap to hold in the moisture. If uncut, wrap it first with waxed paper and then with plastic wrap to allow the cheese to breath.
- Store cheese near the bottom of the refrigerator, where temperature fluctuations are minimal.
- Harder cheeses have a longer shelf life than soft, moist ones.
- You can freeze cheese but often it ruins the flavour and makes the cheese more crumbly.
- Cheese is a living food, if a small amount of mould forms on the surface of the cheese, cut it off along with a ½ cm / ¼ inch of cheese. If there's a lot of mold, throw the cheese out.
CONSUMPTION (COOKING OR EATING)
- Always bring cheese to room temperature before serving it to bring out the scent and flavour.
- The inner portion of a cheese is normally encased in a rind. Natural rinds can be covered or mottled with mould and are edible, like brie and camembert, although some people find them bitter and salty. Wax coatings shouldn't be eaten.
- Many cheeses become rubbery when cooked too long or at too high a temperature. Some are more like Mozzarella or Emmental are more heat-tolerant.