Then two or three weeks go by. "Out of sight, out of mind."
The problem now is that the cheese is drying out...which actually began the moment when someone first cut the cheese from the wheel. Now, after two or three or four weeks in the refrigerator, the cheese has a milky, gray coating (indicating that the moisture has evaporated). It's still fine to use and tastes great but the cheese isn't as "soft" as it had been...not "dead" but certainly not "alive."
- Buy cheese in small quantities...no more than can be consumed in one week, because cheese likes humidity and refrigerators tend to deplete humidity which is good for vegetables, not cheese.
- Wrap cheese in waxed paper following that with a layer of plastic wrap...allowing the cheese some room to breathe. Don't place cheese in a plastic bag (or, The Motley Monk assumes, an airtight container even if it appears that there's plenty of room for the cheese to breath).
- Using a long, non-serated knife, shave the cheese to remove the gray outer layer no deeper than one millimeter.
- Before using cheese from the refrigerator, allow it to come to room temperature.
Moving forward, even if The Motley Monk violates the first rule--which he is likely to do--he's going to implement the second rule, which makes eminent sense. The idea to keep in mind is that cheese is a "living" not a "dead" entity and requires some breathing room if its texture and flavors are to be prolonged for an additional period of time beyond one week.
And, something the folks over at Epicurious don't mention because they assume no one would ever consider this: Don't use "shakey cheese," as Rocki Della calls it. Easy, yes. Engineered to taste right, yes. But, you might as well be pouring flavored, shaved plastic on top of the entree.
Let the discussion begin...
To read the expert advice offered by the folks over at Epicurious, click on the following link:
To check out The Motley Monk's recipes, click on the following link: