One of the most diverse and uniquely flavored cheeses available, goat cheese is truly one of a kind. Knowing how to preserve it as long as possible is just a logical step for the home cook. To simplify the process, we've laid out a step by step guide to storing, freezing and thawing goat cheese for optimal flavor preservation.
Keep in mind, the better you store the cheese, the longer you will preserve that distinct, tangy flavor.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions.
Should You Freeze Goat Cheese?
Absolutely! Goat cheese, and most cheeses for that matter, hold up remarkably well when frozen properly. Key phrase, "properly." Goat cheese has a delicate flavor profile and can easily take on some unpleasant flavors if you're not careful.
But don't worry, if you store it as directed your goat cheese can last for months with little to no flavor degradation. Let's dive in and find out how.
A Few Precautions:
Make sure your goat cheese is worth freezing. If you find any signs of these indications below, it's probably best to toss it.
To put it simply, if there are any indications the cheese is beginning to go bad, don't freeze it. While freezing it slows down the degradation process, it can't stop what is already in motion.
How to Freeze Goat Cheese Properly
Goat cheese can come in several different forms. No matter which consistency it holds, the most important thing is to keep oxygen away. Even at freezing temperatures, oxygen can wreak havoc on flavor (especially over time).
1) Goat Cheese Blocks
Some people freeze their goat cheese in giant blocks. While useful in commercial settings, I highly advise you to separate your goat cheese into smaller, more manageable sized sections. Quantities you're certain you'll eat within a period of about five days.
Taking your goat cheese out incrementally will ensure you get the freshest flavor each time.
Step 1: Take your goat cheese and chop it into quantities you predict you'll eat within a 5 day period.
Step 2: Wrap each block in plastic wrap, taking care to make it as tight and oxygen free as possible.
Step 3: Place this in a sealable freezer bag (vacuum sealed or regular freezer bags work fine). Squeeze as much of the air out as possible. You can also use a straw to suck out excess air.
Step 6: Write the date you froze it and the expiration date ((The USDA website says that cheeses, other than ricotta, cottage and cream cheese, may be frozen for 6 months. Use your best judgement)).
2) Goat Cheese Spread (Soft)
The concept for goat cheese spread is no different than the cheese block. The main difference comes in the softer texture. Goat cheese spread will take a little more effort to minimize oxygen exposure. Here's what we suggest:
Step 1: If the spread is still in its unopened container, don't remove it. Put the container in the freezer as-is. A factory seal is as good as it gets.
Step 2: If the spread is opened, take all of the goat cheese out of the container and roll it into a ball. Make the edges as smooth as possible to help keep oxygen out.
Step 3: Wrap plastic wrap around the outside of the cheese ball, being careful to maintain its circular shape. Seal all sides as best you can.
Step 4: Place the cheese ball in a freezer safe bag. Close it just enough to leave a 2-inch opening in the seal.
Step 5: Suck as much air out as possible and seal it quickly.
Thawing Goat Cheese Properly
1) Thawing Ahead of Time
The procedure for thawing / defrosting goat cheese is simple.
Plan ahead and put it in the refrigerator.
That's it. Food quality is best preserved when the temperature change is smaller and less drastic. Letting the goat cheese slowly climb from -4-0°F to 35-40°F will ensure that your cheese stays safe to consume. Take it out of the refrigerator as you need it and leave the rest in the fridge.
If you're preparing blocked cheese for guests, pull the cheese out of the refrigerator an hour before your guests arrive. This will ensure a softer, more approachable cheese when they're ready to eat. This is less important with spread since it is already "spread friendly."
2) Thawing in a Hurry
While I cannot personally attest to this, some have claimed putting your cheese in the microwave (defrost setting) in ten second intervals can help defrost your cheese quickly.
If you're in a pinch, your microwave might be the hero here. Just use your best judgement and only microwave in very small time increments. Once the cheese is melted, it's hard for it to return to it's original state.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
1) Does Goat Cheese Freeze Well?
Again, yes, goat cheese freezes very well. The three most important variables that will decide how well your goat cheese will freeze are:
1) The quality of the cheese before freezing
2) The temperature of your freezer (-4-0°F is great)
3) How well you seal it to keep oxygen out
2) Can You Freeze Soft Goat Cheese?
Yes, soft goat cheese can be frozen by following the same steps for goat cheese spread above.
3) How Long is Goat Cheese Good For?
Unfortunately there seems to be no universal time in which goat cheese will begin to turn. Apparently there are too many variables at hand. The USDA website says that cheeses (other than ricotta, cottage and cream cheese) may be frozen for 6 months. Placing all cheeses in this timeframe seems a bit of a broad stroke. Use your best judgement.
Finding ways to freeze our foods most effectively gives us the best chance for optimal flavor preservation. Take the time to store your goat cheese properly and you won't be disappointed.
Comment below if you have any questions or suggestions.
Founder of Robust Kitchen