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Specialty Paper Keeps Cheese Fresh for Longer

Two hands wrapping a wedge of cheese in plain brown paper

Turns out, specialty cheese paper does more for your cheese than you’d think. Not only does it prevent cheese from drying out, but it preserves the authentic taste of cheese that you love.

Butcher or freezer paper, the paper that most retailers use to wrap cheese, isn’t the best option. Mark Goldman, founder of Brooklyn-based Formaticum, says that these papers aren’t designed to regulate humidity and allow oxygen exchange, two key elements of good cheese storage.

“Cheese is a pretty hearty food product when it’s in its whole wheel,” says Goldman. “Once that rind is broken, the cheese starts to absorb other types of flavors. Or molds that had a happy balance on the rind of cheese, it’s new surface for them to colonize. Secondary growth on the (newly exposed) surface can change the flavor of the cheese.”

An altered flavor of your cheese is the last thing you want. Plus, dried-out cheese collects salt on the surface that crystallizes, butter-fat can separate out, and water can condense on the surface. It’s basically a bad situation all around, but you can prevent it with Formaticum paper, which has a wax-coated paper on the outside and a thin sheet of porous plastic on the inside. The moisture that you don’t want on your cheese is trapped inside those layers, allowing your cheese to stay as fresh as possible.

“It’s kind of like Gortex,” says Goldman. “The two layers are working in concert to keep the cheese humidity in — to preserve the level of the humidity that is there. The inner layer wicks away any condensation which can cause surface mold growth.”

Some speciality cheese shops do use this particular kind of paper, but you can always purchase it on your own at select Sur La Table and Crate & Barrel stores. Once you do, check out our tips for how to use that paper to its fullest. 

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