Can you freeze cheese?
In short, yes, there are many types of cheeses that can be frozen and enjoyed at a later date (but there are exceptions, which we’ll briefly touch on later!). Whilst freezing your cheese means you don’t have to waste anything (as freezing food prevents the growth of bacteria, yeast, and mould), it’s important to note that the texture and quality of your cheese may be affected by doing so.
Essentially, when you freeze cheese, small ice crystals will form inside and affect its internal structure and whilst it’s left out to thaw, the cheese can dry out as water is released.
If you want to freeze your cheese, here are some tips to ensure it tastes as good as possible when you’re ready to dive in:
- Cut the cheese into portions you’ll likely want at a time – this means that you’ll simply be able to grab the amount of cheese you want without having to attempt cutting it into a frozen slab of cheese or being forced to defrost the whole thing. It’s recommended that you avoid freezing more than 500 grams per portion for block cheeses such as cheddar.
- You can freeze the cheese in its original packaging or you can choose to wrap it in cheese paper or foil but you should then place this into an airtight bag or container to keep air from reaching the cheese. If you’re wrapping sliced cheese, make sure that you separate the slices with parchment paper so you don’t have to worry about having to prise them off of each other later!
- Aim to freeze your cheese as soon after purchase as possible.
What types of cheese can be frozen?
Hard and semi-hard cheeses are better for freezing, including:
- Cheddar cheese
- Blue cheese
- Swiss cheese
- Monterey Jack
As previously mentioned, freezing cheese can affect its taste and texture, and for harder cheeses, this means they may become more crumbly and difficult to cut. It’s, therefore, best to only freeze cheeses that you intend to include in cooked dishes as opposed to being eaten fresh.
On the other hand, soft cheeses are less well suited to being frozen, this includes:
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Processed cheeses
The reason for this is that their texture can become quite watery and grainy after being frozen and thawed – not something many of us would enjoy! That said, some semi-soft cheeses will be fine to freeze, such as goat’s cheese and stilton, but again, their taste and texture will be affected as a result.
How long can cheddar cheese be frozen?
In order to enjoy your cheddar cheese at its best after freezing, you should aim to use it within 6-9 months.
How to thaw frozen cheese
There are a few ways you can thaw your frozen cheese, including:
- By refrigerator – this is usually the preferred way to thaw cheese as you can defrost it slower to retain its moisture and prevent changing its flavour too much. Keep the cheese inside the packaging it was frozen in and put it on a plate or small tray. Leave the cheese to thaw overnight for 24-48 hours or until it’s completely defrosted before consuming.
- Leaving it on the counter at room temperature – is a quicker way to defrost cheese than using a refrigerator, but it is best for when you’re using the cheese in a cooked meal as opposed to eating fresh (as the texture will be more affected). Firstly, place the cheese in a sealed bag or airtight container and then place it on a small tray or plate. Leave the cheese to thaw for 2-3 hours and use it as soon as you can to prevent it from spoiling.
- By using the microwave (for hard cheeses) – microwaving your cheese is the fastest way to defrost it, however, it can leave it more oily and wet (as the whey and milk can be lifted from the cheese). Simply place the cheese in a microwavable container and use the lowest setting to defrost it, checking every 30 seconds to see how it is thawing (this helps you to avoid melting it). This method of defrosting is only really recommended if you’re in a hurry or melting the cheese in a recipe as its taste and texture can be affected.
You can tell when the cheese has fully thawed by cutting a small piece of it off, just be mindful that larger blocks of cheese will take longer to defrost. Once defrosted, it’s not recommended that you leave your cheese out for more than 4 hours.
Can cheese be frozen, thawed, and frozen again?
Once you have frozen and thawed your cheese, you should use it as soon as possible and avoid re-freezing it as this ensures it is safe to eat and of good quality.
Fancy some delicious cheddar cheese?
Whether you’re planning on stocking up on organic cheddar cheese for yourself to enjoy or you’re looking for the perfect cheese gift for a loved one, you’ve come to the right place! Here at Godminster, our Somerset cheese has won many awards and we sell everything from cheese gift sets and hampers to wedding cakes made of cheese!