Freezing fresh cheese is a quick and convenient way to keep it on hand for recipes or snacks. However, not all types of cheese will freeze well. When deciding whether to freeze a particular cheese, consider whether it can handle freezing and thawing without becoming crumbly or too soft.
We will discuss with you the best types of cheese to freeze, how to freeze cheese by wrapping and storing, and how to thaw frozen cheese properly. With these tips, you can enjoy your favourite cheese for extended periods without sacrificing quality.
The Best Way to Freeze Cheese
Now that we know which types of cheese can be frozen let’s talk about the best way to freeze them.
Step 1: Cut the Cheese into Portions
Before freezing cheese, cutting it into portions you can easily use later is a good idea. This will make it easier to thaw the cheese and prevent any waste.
Step 2: Wrap the Cheese
Afterward, wrap the cheese securely using either plastic wrap or aluminium foil, ensuring that it is tightly wrapped to prevent the entry of air that could result in freezer burn.
Step 3: Label and Date the Cheese
Labelling and dating the cheese before putting it in the freezer is essential. This will make it easier to track what you have in the freezer and how long it has been there.
Step 4: Place the Cheese in the Freezer
Place the wrapped cheese in the freezer. If you have a lot of cheese to freeze, it’s a good idea to place the wrapped portions in a resealable freezer bag or airtight container to keep them organised.
How to Thaw Frozen Cheese in 3 Easy Steps
When it’s time to use frozen cheese, there are a few things to remember to ensure that it thaws properly.
Step 1: Remove the Cheese from the Freezer
Take out the cheese from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator to defrost. It’s essential to thaw cheese slowly in the fridge to prevent it from becoming too soft or losing its flavour.
Step 2: Let the Cheese Thaw
Allow the cheese to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. However, if you’re pressed for time, you can expedite the process by placing the cheese in a bowl of cool water.
Step 3: Use the Cheese
Once the cheese is thawed, you can use it in your favourite recipes. However, remember that the cheese’s texture may be slightly different from fresh cheese, especially if it’s softer.
Types of Cheese That Can Be Frozen
Not all types of cheese are suitable for freezing. Some cheeses, such as ricotta and cottage cheese, have a high moisture content, which can cause them to become grainy or watery when frozen. Other types of cheese, such as soft cheeses like brie and camembert, can become runny and lose their texture when frozen.
However, several types of cheese can be frozen with success, including:
- Hard Cheeses: Cheeses like cheddar, parmesan, and gouda can be frozen without issues. The texture and flavour of these cheeses remain intact even after freezing due to their low moisture content.
- Semi-Hard Cheeses: Semi-hard cheeses like provolone, swiss, and mozzarella can also be frozen. It is worth mentioning that these cheeses might experience some crumbliness upon thawing.
- Firm Cheeses: Colby, Monterey Jack, and Pepper Jack can also be frozen. These cheeses tend to retain their texture and flavour well when frozen.
How to Freeze Sliced Cheese?
- Sliced cheese (any variety)
- Parchment paper or wax paper
- Freezer-safe resealable bags or airtight containers
Instructions to Freezing Slice Cheese
Prepare the cheese
Start by ensuring that your sliced cheese is fresh and in good condition. Remove any damaged or spoiled slices.
Divide the slices
Separate the individual cheese slices from each other. If the slices are stuck together, gently pry them apart using your fingers or a butter knife.
Line the slices
Cut pieces of parchment paper or wax paper into squares slightly larger than the size of each cheese slice.
Layer the cheese
Take one cheese slice and place it on a parchment paper square. If you have more than one slice, place additional slices on top, with a layer of parchment paper between each slice.
Stack and repeat
Continue layering the cheese slices with parchment paper squares until you have used all the slices. It is essential to have a layer of parchment paper between each slice to prevent them from sticking together.
Package for freezing
Once you have stacked all the cheese slices, place them in a freezer-safe resealable bag or an airtight container. If you’re using a bag, press out as much air as possible before sealing it. If using a container, ensure it has a tight-fitting lid.
Label and date
Using a permanent marker, label the bag or container with the type of cheese and the date of freezing. This step will help you keep track of the cheese’s freshness.
Freeze the cheese
Place the bag or container in the freezer. Ensure it is placed on a flat surface to prevent the cheese slices from shifting or breaking. Ideally, place them towards the back of the freezer where the temperature is most consistent.
Sliced cheese can typically be stored in the freezer for up to three months. Beyond that, it may still be safe to eat but might lose quality and flavor.
Thawing and usage
When you’re ready to use the frozen cheese slices, remove the desired amount from the freezer and thaw them in the refrigerator. Once thawed, you can use the slices as you would fresh cheese in sandwiches, burgers, or other recipes.
Can all types of cheese be frozen?
No, not all types of cheese freeze well. Hard cheeses such as cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan freeze better than soft cheeses such as brie or feta. The higher the fat content in the cheese, the better it will freeze.
Do I need to cut the cheese into portions before freezing?
It is recommended to cut the cheese into portions before freezing. This will make it easier to use later without defrosting the entire block.
How long can I store cheese in the freezer?
Hard cheeses can be stored in the freezer for up to six months, while soft cheeses should only be held for two to three months.
Can I freeze shredded cheese?
Yes, you can freeze shredded cheese. It is best to freeze it in a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container.
How do I thaw frozen cheese?
To thaw frozen cheese, transfer it from the freezer to the refrigerator and let it thaw overnight. Do not microwave or thaw at room temperature, as this can affect the texture and flavour of the cheese.
Can I use frozen cheese for cooking or melting?
Yes, frozen cheese can be used for cooking or melting. However, it may have a different texture than fresh cheese, so it is best used in recipes where consistency is less important, such as casseroles or soups.
Finding the best way to freeze cheese ensures its freshness and flavour. While freezing cheese can be a great way to extend its shelf life, not all types of cheese freeze well, and it’s important to wrap and store it correctly.