How to freeze cheese? How do we answer the question posed by that age-old motto?
Well, luckily for you, there is no such motto. But the question remains.
Freezing is a method of food preservation that has actually been used on various foods such as meat, cheese and vegetables for thousands of years.
All you need is a room that exists below sub-zero temperatures, which will keep your food in frozen stasis for months on end.
This is an ideal method of preserving certain cheeses. Blue cheese is a popular inclusion on a cheese platter at your latest dinner party or soiree, but often you buy a little too much.
With a lot of leftover cheese and maybe not another dinner party for the next few months, how on earth are you going to keep your aged cheese fresh?
How can you freeze blue cheese? Is it possible? Is it recommended? How do freezing temperatures affect our cultivated dairy friends? What other types of cheese can you freeze and how long can you expect them to last in your freezer?
Well, don’t fret, cheese-lovers, we’ve got the answers to some of those questions, with our helpful guide to freezing blue cheese, as well as some of the best and worst cheeses to freeze, as well as how to thaw and prepare for cooking afterward.
What Is Blue Cheese?
We’ve all seen it at the cheese counter of our local deli, the blue, veiny sphere that looks like it should have been thrown out a few weeks ago.
But the mold that you find on blue cheese is actually Penicillium mold and is aged very carefully in a highly-controlled environment, which gives it a unique pungent taste that will not affect your health in any negative way.
Penicillium roqueforti is perfectly safe to consume and is also used in antibiotics, fragrances and flavors - such as blue cheese.
But what some people will be worried about is whether this mold will somehow be altered by the act of freezing and made toxic or inedible.
Should You Freeze Blue Cheese?
Firstly, to answer the title of this article, you can indeed freeze blue cheese. The freezing of cheese activates certain microbes in cheese that helps you extend its life, which really makes the difference between it lasting a few days and a few months.
Cheese with a higher water content will freeze at a higher temperature than cheeses with lower water content, simply because there is more moisture to freeze. For example, goat cheese contains more moisture, so it will freeze at around -1 degrees celsius, whereas the water-light cheddar cheese will freeze at -12.9 degrees celsius.
Although freezing a cheese will not remove it of its nutritional qualities, it will certainly affect the texture and quality of the cheese. This is because when the cheese is frozen, crystals form inside the cheese and distort its internal structure. When these crystals are then thawed, they dry out and become crumbly.
If you store cheese for longer, it’s melting properties will be radically reduced. If you freeze a melty cheese like mozzarella, then you can expect it to melt far less easily after it’s been frozen for 4 weeks as opposed to when it has only been frozen for 1 week.
The kind of good bacteria you find in blue cheese is not eliminated by freezing, but it is certainly damaged by freezing temperatures. Once the cheese has been taken out of the freezer and thawed, these bacteria will start to reproduce and flourish again.
Blue cheeses have these peculiar bacteria added to them to give them that distinctive taste and flavor, however, upon freezing, these little mold cultures will be damaged somewhat and lose some of their distinctive flavors, especially after multiple freezes and thawings.
Because blue cheese contains a lot of milk fat, the chances are that it will lose a lot of its creaminess when frozen and thawed out.
The Bests And Worst Cheeses To Freeze
Some cheeses are certainly better to chill than others, the best ones are generally those that are designed to be used in cooked dishes, as the other ingredients can usually disguise the loss of flavor.
Hard or semi-hard cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, brick cheese and blue cheese have an ideal texture that will not change radically upon freezing, although they may go a bit crumbly or mealy.
You can also freeze melty cheeses like mozzarella, although expect the melting properties to be negatively affected by the freezing temperatures. You can also freeze softer cheeses like Stilton, although these will also go a bit crumbly upon thawing.
Some cheeses do not react well to being frozen at all. Artisan cheeses with delicate aromas won’t stand up well to being frozen, and will lose a lot of the flavors and textures that make them so unique.
You can certainly freeze blue cheese, although expect a lot of the flavor and taste to be diminished, simply because the bacteria in the cheese is put into a kind of stasis and will not grow while in the freezer.
How To Freeze Blue Cheese
There are a few things to remember when freezing blue cheese to ensure that you preserve the maximum amount of flavor and avoid cross-contamination with other ingredients in your freezer.
Make sure your blue cheese is wrapped in two layers of plastic to prevent it from being exposed to other food items in your freezer. The extra wrapping will also reduce the risk of your delicate blue cheese succumbing to freezer burn.
Take the wrapped blue cheese and put it in a sealable freezer bag, making sure that the excess air is squeezed out of the bag beforehand to avoid bacteria accumulating in the air pockets.
Label the bag with the date you froze it before you store it in the freezer, so you can track it more precisely, taking it out and eating it before it loses its idiosyncratic blue cheese taste!