There is a lot of dilemmas that surround cheese and one of that is the most debated topic apart from the perfect cheese is should cheese be frozen. While some say that it is blasphemy to freeze cheese other are not so extreme and think it is a logical thing to do to increase its shelf life.
The main question that arises though is not just 'can you freeze cheese' but 'should you freeze cheese'.
Can You Freeze Cheese?
The answer to this seemingly easy question is a straightforward yes. Though the result of the freezing process differs, it usually depends on the firmness of the cheese. Though a lot of gourmet chef advise people not to freeze cheese, a lot of home cooks actually freeze cheese and don’t prevent others from doing that as well.
It is generally recommended never to freeze fine cheese. The reason is that the texture of these cheese is very delicate and freezing them would mean a certain deterioration. If a fine hand made cheese is stored in a freezer, ice crystals would form, and when the cheese would be defrosted, it will break down the molecular structure of the cheese. The result is that a fine wedge would be reduced to a crumbly and dry version and this process would be far worse if the cheese has fissures, holes, and cracks in it.
Can You Freeze Cheddar Cheese?
You can certainly freeze cheddar cheese as it can slow down the growth of mold on it which would make the cheese useful for a longer period. Though it has a drawback to it, which is that the cheese will not age, so it will not have a sharper taste.
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Cheeses That Shouldn’t Be Frozen
Since the ice crystals that form inside the cheese break its molecular structure, it is a good idea to avoid freezing cheese like queso fresco, paneer and also soft cheese like brie. The last one being a soft cheese completely deteriorates after freezing. Hand crafted cheese as told before is also not one that should be frozen and the same care should be taken with any cheese that has fissures or holes. These tiny gaps increase the damage done by the freeze and thaw cycle.
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Cheeses That Can Be Frozen
The cheese that can be easily frozen and can withstand any amount of freezing is hands down the industrially produced cheese. The big blocks of cheddar cheese that we buy from stores are smoothened uniformly beforehand and hence freezing does not destroy their texture. Hard grating cheese that is already aged such as Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano (parmesan) can also be frozen without any worries. The thing to be concerned about with these cheese is not the texture but the flavor. Keeping them well wrapped would keep the flavor intact and not let the cheese develop a slightly metallic, "burnt" note.
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Usage Of A Frozen Cheese
Frozen cheese can only be grated, crumbled or melted. Its texture makes it unsuitable for a sandwich.
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