At a Glance:
- It is important to store cheese properly to ensure optimal freshness and quality.
- Find out some effective cheese storage strategies used in preserving the shelf life and quality of cheese stock for commercial kitchens.
Cheese storage is a crucial part of the back-of-the-house operations for commercial kitchens. Cheese is a stable ingredient in the food industry, and before serving it to the customers, you would want your cheese to be of optimal quality. Many have a misconception that casually storing cheese in the refrigerator is all they need to do to preserve the shelf life of their cheese stock. But this is where things are likely to go south. In this guide, we will explore some effective ways of preserving cheese for commercial kitchens, ensuring the optimal quality of their ingredient and an economical approach to cheese handling.
Understanding the Challenges of Cheese Storage
Temperature Control: Cheese is sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and it is not favourable to leave cheese at room temperature for too long. To preserve the flavour and texture of cheese, it is essential to store cheese at the right temperature. Most types of cheese are stored at 42.8°F and 46.4°F to prevent spoilage and maintain their optimal quality.
Moisture Management: Cheese is moisture sensitive and requires a specific level of moisture to preserve its texture. Too much moisture can result in excessive moisture absorption, resulting in the growth of moulds. While leaving cheese in too less moisture environment can dry out the cheese.
Cross-contamination Prevention: It is important to avoid cross-contamination in cheese to ensure its optimal quality. When cheese is left in close proximity to foods with strong order or flavours, it can absorb those characteristics, affecting the flavour and aroma of the cheese. Cross-contamination also makes cheese-less desirable for individuals with food allergies. If cheese comes in contact with allergenic substances, like gluten or nuts, it can result in allergic reactions in sensitive customers.
Additionally, cross-contamination can also result in micro-bacterial contamination, spoilage, and the deterioration of the shelf life of cheese. It is crucial to practice proper storage methods to avoid cross-contamination and preserve cheese’ unique features.
Proper Cheese Storage Strategies
Using Specialised Cheese Storage Units
When you source your cheese stock from wholesale dairy suppliers, they exercise suitable wrapping methods and transportation to ensure you get the highest-quality stock. After receiving the cheese from wholesale dairy suppliers, it is the duty of kitchen staff and chefs to ensure the quality of the cheese by storing them correctly, which entails using specialised cheese storage units.
Refrigeration Units: Commercial kitchens should have proper refrigeration units dedicated to cheese stock to ensure its optimum quality and avoid cross-contamination. These storage units should have adjustable temperature and humidity controls.
Cheese Cave: Cheese caves are dedicated storage units for cheese used to provide optimal temperature and humidity levels for different types of chees. Commercial kitchens can invest in in-build cheese caves to preserve their cheese inventory for a longer time. This practice will make sourcing wholesale cheese from wholesale dairy suppliers economical for commercial kitchens.
Use of Appropriate Wrapping Materials
Commercial kitchens use a good variety of cheese for their cuisines, and when you handle different types of cheese, you need to treat them differently. Not all cheeses are the same, so it is important to use appropriate wrapping materials for cheese storage to prevent it from turning bad. Here’s how you should store different types of cheese:
Fresh cheese: You can leave fresh cheese like Mozzarella or Feat in water in its original packaging. But you have to change the water every couple of days.
Soft, semi-soft cheese: Soft, semi-soft cheese like Brie, Limburger, and goat cheese can be stored in the refrigerator using a resealable plastic container.
Semi-hard, hard cheese: You can use a plastic wrapper for semi-hard and hard cheese, such as Swiss, Cheddar, and Gruyere.
Hard, aged cheese: While storing cheese like aged Gouda and Parmesan, use parchment paper to wrap it. After wrapping it with parchment paper, add a layer of plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator.
Practice Proper Rotation Methods
Commercial kitchen chefs should practice proper rotation methods to ensure the optimal quality of their cheese stock. Always use older cheese first before new ones. This ‘first in, first out’ practice will help commercial kitchens ensure the freshness of their cheese inventory and avoid cheese wastage, making the purchase of wholesale cheese economical. To make the first in, first out method effective, you should clearly label each cheese with its name and date of arrival. By doing so, you can effectively practice proper rotation for your cheese.
Regular Monitoring and Maintenance
As they say, cheese is a living food; they continue to age. While you cannot stop your cheese from aging, regular monitoring and maintenance can help you preserve it from growing unnecessary moulds and turning bad. Chefs and kitchen staff should regularly check for any signs of spoilage, mould growth, or off-flavours in their cheese stock.
To make cheese storage practice effective and rewarding for commercial kitchens, staff should practice regular cleaning of cheese boards, knife, storage areas, and other cheese handling equipment. It is also recommended to sanitise kitchen tools to avoid bacterial contamination.
It is important to practice proper cheese storage solutions to ensure the optimal quality of cheese for commercial kitchens that source cheese in bulk from wholesale dairy suppliers. By understanding different distinctions of cheese storage, including challenges, specialised storage units, appropriate wrapping materials, and regular monitoring and maintenance, commercial kitchens can ensure optimal freshness and quality of their cheese inventory. Doing so will ensure higher customer satisfaction and an enhanced culinary experience for commercial kitchens.