So, it’s your first time ordering aged cheddar cheese. It has arrived on your doorstep (what a glorious world!) and you’ve just opened up the package.
There’s a white film on it, and it’s a little damp? And is that mold? What!?
Don’t worry, Herd. That’s totally normal. Let’s get into why.
Our aged cheddar is different than the usual blocks of cheese at your local grocery store. Obviously, it’s whey more delicious, but you might find a few aesthetic differences that are a totally natural byproduct of the significant aging process.
The liquid is just a bit of extra moisture or liquid whey. During the aging process, cheese releases water vapor. This allows the cheese to reach the next stage of maturity. You might even notice a little moisture after you’ve brought your cheese home and it has been in the fridge a while – it’s still maturing! Think of it as a healthy glow. Open the package over the sink to drain the liquid, and then all you have to do is wipe it off with a paper towel or napkin. You’re good to go!
Your cheddar might also feature some white crystalline spots. Fear not – those are little bits of calcium lactate. You won’t see it on your average, everyday young cheddar … but it’s to be expected on fabulously mature (and dare we say, wise?) cheeses like ours. While they are flavorless, they indict that your cheese is full of that aged flavor you crave. These crystals are the result of the maturation process: as cheese ages, the culture breaks down its lactose, producing lactic acid. The crystals are the calcium sale of that lactic acid. Science! And to note – this process of breaking down the lactose makes aged cheddar cheese a perfect choice for lactose-intolerant cheese lovers.
If your cheese has mold on it, simply take a paring knife and slice it off. You’re probably familiar with mold in cheeses like blue cheese – it’s not a stranger to a hard cheese like cheddar, either! It is an important part of the development of our signature texture and tangy flavor. Your cheese is still perfectly edible after a little trim.
Our best tip for storing our cheese once it arrives? Wrap it up in wax or cheese paper (yep, it exists!), then in plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge. We also recommend only slicing or cutting cheese when you are about to serve it.
Our cheese is a beautiful, living thing.
And as with all beautiful, living things, it requires a loving touch. Remember – always serve at room temperature to ensure that your cheddar tastes as bold and flavorful as can be!