27 Aug 10 Common mistakes that kill cheeses
Really quality cheese is a very good commodity. Because it is a product that needs intensive work and this fact justifies, at times, its stingy price. Like the great wines and beverages, the cheese owes its existence and heritage to dedicated, almost obsessive people who have been given to perfecting the art of cheese production.
So, before you think that the following “mistakes” are exaggerations, we challenge you to avoid them for a while and who knows you may taste the cheeses like never before.
Here are the 10 cheese common mistakes!
1. Do not serve the cheese directly from the refrigerator
All types of cheese should be served at room temperature. Firstly because we can better understand the flavors that are close to our body temperature. Second, when cheeses soften, their fat-soluble flavor ingredients have easier access to our flavor cups. And third, the aromas become more explosive at higher temperatures, which means we can smell and taste the cheese better. In other words, the colder our cheese, the less likely we are to distinguish its taste range and enjoy the texture created so persistently by its producer. If we try an icy cheese of 25 euros per kilo, it is very likely that it looks like its five-euro cousin.
All we have to do is leave our cheeses, covered, for 30΄ out of the fridge, when it comes to fresh cheeses, while for everything else we will need an hour. Yes, not 10 or 20 minutes, but as long as it takes to get to room temperature. Of course when we have huge pieces, like whole head, we may have to wait longer, but if we have thin slices it will definitely take less time.
2. Do not put cheese in the refrigerator without a wrapper or that has not been covered properly
So after we have enjoyed our cheese, at room temperature and we want to put it back in the fridge, we wrap it carefully without leaving any part of it exposed. A cheese without the right wrapper is very likely to dry out, become hard as a stone, a tasteless peel. It is also very likely to pick up odors from other foods we have in the fridge.
3. Do not wrap the cheese with plastic wrap
Yes, we can be very strict. But the cheese is alive, a food that breathes and without the necessary oxygen will suffocate. So the best thing to do is to wrap it in some porous material, such as wrapping paper, cheese paper or in a breathable plastic wrap designed specifically for cheese. Another way is to wrap it again in the paper that was put on us when we bought it and then wrap it loosely with plastic wrap so that it can breathe and retain its moisture.
4. Never put fresh mozzarella in the refrigerator
This “command” is somewhat exaggerated. If you have access to fresh mozzarella that has never been refrigerated and you plan to eat it in a day, then yes … do not put it in storage. If you put a fresh mozzarella in the maintenance of the refrigerator, you will find that within three hours, it will be much harder and less juicy than the one you would leave on your kitchen counter, for a similar period of time.
5. Do not freeze the fresh cheese
To be precise, we never freeze fresh, high-moisture cheeses. For example, if we freeze fresh mozzarella, it will lose its texture, it will become like a dry rubber. This is because moisture is converted into small crystals which destroy the structure of the cheese proteins. However, hard cheeses like Parmesan can be frozen without any problems. But before we get into this process, we must first wrap them in paper, then in foil and finally in a layer of foil.
6. We do not distort the pieces
There are specific rules for how we should cut our cheeses. For a start, we should not cut them into cubes or have them cut hours before – because that way we will have a larger exposed surface from where the moisture will escape.
As the cheese matures, crazy changes occur. These taste changes have to do with the environment (area, humidity, washes, sex or wax wrap, natural yeasts or bacteria, etc.), the raw materials (addition of ash or mold) that produced the cheese. One of the most beautiful things about cheese is that all of these factors create something that does not taste the same on the inside and on the edges.
The center, on a cheese head, has a more concentrated or slightly different flavor, while its edges are softer. So when we cut the corner, instead of cutting our piece lengthwise, we lose the flavor range that starts from the center of the head to the tip.
7. We do not “abuse” the brie
We never, ever remove the skin from the brie. This cheese owes the buttery, creamy texture of its interior, to this skin. Brie cheeses have a vibrant crust, which breaks down the cheese’s fats and proteins, creating this highly creamy texture. Also, many times, the peel is just delicious.
8. We do not buy grated or crushed cheese
Remember what we said about diced cheese? The same goes for ready-made grated or shredded cheese. If we ever leave grated Parmesan in the fridge we will find that it has turned into a waxy, tasteless mass. This is due to the fact that the larger the surface of the cheese remains exposed to the air, the faster it will lose in taste and texture. In any case, we do not save that much time. It would be good to invest in a good grater and a good piece of genuine cheese.
9. Do not mix the cheeses
If we serve a variety of cheeses, we must make sure that we have a different knife for each type of cheese. It is good not to mix the flavors by cutting all our cheeses with the same knife.
10. Do not let the cheese go to waste
This rule has to do with simple common sense. If we have pieces of cheese left, after a party, picnic or anything else, we use them either by making for example a quiche of cheese, or by rubbing them into dough etc.
Now that we have seen some basic mistakes in cheese management we will be able to enjoy them even more and taste this unique gastronomic phenomenon properly. Do not forget that in our country alone more than 70 types of cheese are produced, of which 20 are PDO.