Can You Freeze Cheese?

My first response to this question is always: Why would you want to? But this question has probably crossed the minds of any of those who have ever hosted a party and overestimated your cheese-fans. What to do with those leftover quarter wheels of nearly untouched cheese?

Unfortunately the answer for most cheeses is that freezing is not a good option. Soft-ripened cheeses have a high moisture content and should not be frozen. Just think of what happens to moisture when it freezes: ice and expansion. This results in a breakdown of the structure of the cheese, turning soft paste into crumbs. The texture is mealy and grainy, and no amount of thawing will reconstitute it. You’ve lost your brie.

Now some hard cheeses like cheddar reportedly can withstand freezing, but may best be used thereafter in cooking. They also become more crumbly in texture, but tend retain their flavor. If you choose to try this (and I always encourage experimentation) wrap the cheese in foil and plastic wrap for no more than two months.when ready to use, let it thaw completely in the fridge.

Bottom-line: If you find yourself with more cheese than your household can handle, spread a little love while it’s still fresh: wrap up some wedges as parting gifts or, better yet, make a plan for another wine and cheese party next week!