A cheese wheel is a cured cheese wheel or block that is still coated in its protective rind. The majority of cheeses are created in the form of wheels, with cheese stores cutting slices out when customers want a specific cheese. Some cheese manufacturers now make smaller personal wheels that are sold entire rather than sliced. As seen in the shop windows of many cheese businesses, some blocks can grow to be rather large.
Understanding a cheese wheel may require some knowledge of the cheesemaking process. When making cheese, milk is heated and curdled, with many cheesemakers adding beneficial bacteria during the curdling process. To make them easier to handle, the curds are densely packed into enormous molds that are generally wheel-shaped. The first curing stage takes place in the mold, and once the cheese has reached the desired firmness, it is removed and placed on a curing rack in a cave or climate-controlled chamber to cure.
A wheel of cheese may be covered in the wax during the curing process to help prevent the invasion of harmful microorganisms, but it can also be gently wrapped in cheesecloth or banded with thin strips of wood, depending on the style of cheese. As the cheese ages, it develops a rind that covers the outside of the wheel. When someone wishes to eat the cheese, the rind may be edible, or it may be removed.
Cheesemakers may practically roll their cheeses around to move them because of the form of a cheese wheel. Agility is essential when it comes to cheeses that weigh hundreds of pounds (or kilograms). During the curing process, cheese may need to be rotated or relocated at various points, and it must eventually be taken to market.
How Long Does Cheese Wheel Last When Opened?
When it comes to putting up food preps, fats and proteins pose a more excellent barrier than grains and vegetables. Because these essential nutrient families have such a short shelf life, the only way to get them in a form that will endure for years is to buy canned or freeze-dried items. For example, if preserved under the appropriate conditions, an unbroken waxed cheese wheel can live for almost 25 years. Many kinds of cheese are wax-aged for a year or two before being transported to customers. Even better, in many country regions, the right temperature and humidity profile (see below for more on storage requirements) can be attained in a cellar or basement, so you won’t need year-round powered refrigeration to preserve this food long-term.
You might think that using a giant cheese wheel for doomsday prep is difficult, given that once you cut into it, it only has a few weeks of refrigerated life before it goes bad. However, there is a fantastic cheese hack that completely fixes this issue: re-wax it. So if you’ve chopped off a chunk of your wheel and want to re-seal it, or if you can’t buy a whole wheel and want to go with a half or quarter wheel, you can add fresh wax to the exposed cheese and re-seal it very quickly and affordably.
How Long Does a Parmesan Cheese Wheel Last?
For several months, vacuum-packed Parmigiano Reggiano can be kept in the refrigerator. Every packer is responsible for writing a date (called DMD, or Date of Minimum Durability, or shelf-life that differs from the final expiry date) on the pack, followed by “best before…”
The directions and advice for how long to keep Parmigiano Reggiano differ based on its maturation after opening the pack or when buying a freshly cut piece of cheese: Parmigiano Reggiano can be maintained for around 15 days if it has been aged for 12-18 months and has a more excellent moisture content. Parmigiano Reggiano can be kept for about a month if aged for at least 24 months. If some mold appears on the surface, it can be removed with a knife.
Do Wheels of Cheese Need to Be Refrigerated?
When left uncut, certain cheeses have been known to endure for decades. The ideal temperature for waxed cheese storage is 52°F to 56°F. To discourage moisture from accumulating on the bottom of the cheese, turn it over once a week. Keep your cheese wheels out of direct sunshine to prevent the wax from softening too much.
Open cheese wheels should be kept in the fridge or freezer. This helps the cheese maintain its flavor and texture by inhibiting mold growth. An opened wheel of cheese will last three to four weeks in the refrigerator and up to six months in the freezer. Instead of thawing frozen cheese on the counter, do so in the fridge. When frozen and thawed, certain types of cheese, such as cheddar, may alter the texture. That doesn’t mean they’re awful, but their crumbly nature makes them best for use in soups or sauces where they’ll be thoroughly melted.
How Do You Store a Used Cheese Wheel?
Soft and fresh cheeses will have a shorter lifespan than complex cheese types. If you want a long-lasting cheese, look for goudas, cheddars, or parmesan hybrids. If you like soft cheeses, buy them in their original packaging in full-wheel packages. The moment a wheel of cheese is cut into, it begins to deteriorate quickly. A date stamp will always be present on packaged wheels. Cheeses are labeled with a ‘Best Before’ date rather than a ‘Use By’ date. If properly cared for, several kinds of cheese can last well beyond their Best Before date. (Here’s a secret: the closer a cheese gets to its Best Before the date, the more flavorful it becomes!)
On a typical day, your cheeses will be fine out of the fridge for a short period. Consider carrying it in a cooler bag with an ice block if the weather is scorching or not returning home immediately – and similarly, if you are bringing it on a road trip. When you arrive home with your cheese, please put it in the fridge as soon as possible.
Keep cheeses as fresh as possible in your refrigerator between 1 and 7 degrees Celsius. Any sliced segments of cheese purchased from a fromagerie will most likely be wrapped in absorbent paper to aid airflow and reduce the amount of moisture on the surface of the cheese. If you bought a wheel, it would come in its original box. When unwrapping, be careful and use the same paper to rewrap it.
You can rewrap your cheese in the paper and then cover it with plastic wrap. If you don’t have any form, wrap your cheese in plastic or place it in a Ziploc bag. To keep blue cheeses as fresh as possible, cover them with foil. To help prevent bacteria growth, change the wrap every 2-3 days. Keep in mind that keeping certain cheeses nearby in your fridge can cause them to interact. For example, if you store your blue next to your brie, the spores from the blue mold could jump ship and start growing on the brie!