Proper storage will preserve a cheese's original flavor, appearance and quality.
Upon receipt of cheese, place in refrigerator. The best place is in the door or drawer at temperatures between 34°F and 38°F.
Because cheese easily absorbs other flavors, store away from other aromatic foods.
Once opened, tightly wrap remaining cheese in plastic wrap. Soft or fresh cheeses, such as Mascarpone and Blue Cheese, are best stored in clean, airtight containers. Semi-hard cheeses, including Cheddar and Gouda, can be wrapped in plastic wrap as well as a lighter wrapping paper, such as parchment.
Use new wrap after each use.
Natural and pasteurized process cheese should last about four to eight weeks in the refrigerator, while fresh and grated hard cheese with higher moisture content should be used within two weeks.
If cheese develops surface mold, simply cut off about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from each affected side and use the remaining cheese within one week. Rewrap the fresh cheese with a NEW piece of wrap.
If the mold has penetrated the body of the cheese, discard the cheese.
Discard high-moisture cheeses with mold, such as Ricotta or Cottage cheese.
Cutting & Trimming Cheese
Most cheese is easiest to cut when chilled. However, some hard cheeses, such as Parmesan or Asiago, cut better when they are brought to room temperature.
A chef's knife works well for cutting most cheeses. If the cheese has a wax or rind, score it before you begin, ensuring a clean cut line.
Cheese can be frozen, but is not recommend it. A cheese that has been frozen is best used as an ingredient. The best candidates for freezing are firm cheeses, such as Swiss, and hard cheeses, such as Parmesan.
When freezing cheese, wrap pieces tightly in weights of 1 pound or less.
Label and date your cheese before storing it at temperatures of about 0°F.
It's best to thaw cheese in the refrigerator and use your cheese within a couple of days.
Freezing cheese will change the texture. Semi-soft and hard cheeses will be more crumbly while softer cheeses will separate slightly. The nutritional value will remain stable.
Cheese tastes best at room temperature because its flavor is at its peak. Take the cheese out of the refrigerator and let sit, covered, 30 minutes to an hour before serving.
Before serving, make sure to trim off any dry edges or surface mold.
With more than 600 varieties, types and styles of Wisconsin Cheese, don't be afraid to mix and match cheeses, play around with contrasting flavors and, of course, be sure your guests know exactly which Wisconsin Cheese they're enjoying. If appropriate, use a creative name card or sign to identify the cheeses.
Cutting cheese into manageable bites cubes, sticks and squares makes serving a breeze. Allowing family and friends to cut directly from the cheese wedge or chunk is another idea to engage your guests at the party.