Serving Homemade Cheese: Tips and Tricks

 

You have braved the act of cheesemaking and come out victorious, and you are rewarded with a beautiful round wheel of your very own homemade cheese, or a bowl of creamy soft cheese awaiting its destiny.

Now what?

Search for recipes! Find some way to make your friends taste your creativity! Here are a few tips for cooking with and showing off your cheese.

If you have decided to just slice and serve your cheese, perhaps for the first tasting or for a party platter, here are a few rules that will help you ensure your cheese is in tip-top shape when you put it on the plate.

Hard Cheese

If you are serving a firm cheese such as cheddar or Gouda, bring the cheese to room temperature (about 72°F) before slicing or serving. This will ensure that the flavors are prominent and that the cultures in the cheese are active.

It is best to serve cheese on marble or clean, cool glass. This the cheese from picking up any off flavors from wooden or plastic boards.

Slice cheese into bite-sized pieces. Provide a clean wire cheese cutter or a narrow cheese knife if you are leaving it to the eaters to slice the cheese; however, to keep things simple, it is better to cut the cheese beforehand. If you do cut the cheese before serving, make sure to use a covering like a glass dome or a sheet of clear plastic to keep the cheese from drying out.

Provide toothpicks or tiny tongs for picking up the cheese so people don’t have to go fishing with their fingers.

Soft Cheese

Again, glass or some other non-porous container for serving your cheese is optimum. A small glass bowl is perfect for soft cheese presentation and small amounts of tasting.

Soft cheeses such as chèvre or paneer should be chilled slightly when you serve them, to prevent them from beginning to ripen and separate while it sits.

Keep a cover over the soft cheese when it is not being served in order to keep the cheese cool and keep out bugs and dust.

Accompaniments

It’s always elegant to pair cheese with other delicious flavors like bread, fruit, nuts, or honey. Cheese and crackers is a traditional treat, but if you are going to be serving wine or beer with your hard cheese platter, try providing bread in place of crackers as a cheese companion. The yeast in warm, soft bread will complement the beer or wine most divinely. Or try a flatbread, such as ciabatta, torn into small pieces comparable in size to the cheese slices. Experiment with flavors and find your favorites.

If you’d like to serve fruit slices with your cheese, apple and pear are great choices with soft cheeses or mild hard cheeses. Stronger fruit flavors like grape or peach pair better with strong, crumbly, and stinky cheeses. The fruit flavors shouldn't overtake the cheese; rather, they should complement and add to it.

Nuts are good with soft cheese, either chopped and stirred into the cheese or sliced thin and served next to it.

Try everything yourself when compiling a cheese platter, and find what you think works best. There are many possibilities, so make it fun and make it yours.

                                                
   
cheese plate


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