Cheese is a dairy product produced by curdling milk and adding salt to preserve the milk curds. It was originally developed as a way to preserve excess milk. Cheese in its earliest form kept almost indefinitely. As cheese making moved north, however, the cooler climate allowed cheese makers to experiment with producing less durable cheeses that would have quickly spoiled in warmer climates. Because mold is an integral part of some cheeses, determining whether or not cheese is spoiled can be difficult and requires some knowledge of the cheese in question.
Determine what type of cheese you have. This information should be on the packaging.
Consume a soft cheese quickly. Fresh Mozzarella must be consumed within days. Other soft cheeses, such as Brie, may keep a little longer. Watch for undesired mold on your cheese. This requires a little knowledge of the cheese in question. Roquefort, for instance, is supposed to be threaded with blue mold, and some Bries can have a coppery mold on the rind.
Continue to store a hard cheese. Most hard cheeses will keep almost indefinitely. Cheeses like Cheddar or Gruyere may mold on the outside, and these portions can be cut off. Many hard cheeses will improve as they age.
- "On Food and Cooking: Food Science and the Lore of the Kitchen"; Harold McGee; 2004
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