What's the best way to properly store cheese at home?

Here are some general suggestions about how to properly store cheese at home. The challenge is that cheese needs an environment that fulfills seemingly contradictory needs; it needs to be somewhere where air can flow in and out, but where moisture loss is kept at a minimum.

  • The first rule is to buy only as much as you need; cheese is best shortly after it is cut from the wheel.
  • If you are keeping cheese for more than a day or so, enjoy it quickly because every day that cheese hangs around in the fridge means a noticeable decrease in quality.
  • The softer the cheese, the harder it will be to keep fresh for a long time.
  • People generally recommend keeping the cheese in the warmest part of the fridge, but I find that this doesn't really matter as long as you give the cheese enough time to come to room temperature when you're ready to eat it again.
  • One method I really like is to wrap the cheese first in breathable paper such as parchment paper, and then cover the whole thing in plastic wrap. Plastic wrap keeps in moisture nicely, but can impart off flavors if left touching the surface of the cheese. And if you use parchment only, you'll lose too much moisture. The combination of the two usually does the trick.
  • Another method is to place some rolled up paper towels in a tupperware container, and then place the cheese on top of the paper. Closing the lid tightly creates a sealed environment that helps moisture stay in, while the paper towels help keep it from getting too wet in there. Be sure to open the container once a day to let some fresh air in.

If you have any other suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!