So, you’re wondering, does Cheddar cheese go bad if not refrigerated?
I guess we all know that cheddar (and other cheeses) generally taste better when served at room temperature.
Therefore, you’ll usually let the cheese sit out for thirty minutes or so before you serve it.
However, is there an optimum amount of time that you can allow cheddar to sit out?
Will cheddar go off if you leave it unrefrigerated for too long?
Allow me to explain exactly what you need to know about cheddar and refrigeration.
Cheddar cheese can typically sit out for up to eight hours. After this period, fat will start to seep out of the cheese, thus altering its texture and giving it a greasy appearance. With that being said, aged cheddar doesn’t actually require refrigeration at all. The cheddar can be wrapped in a cheesecloth dampened with vinegar, then laid in parchment or wax paper, and stored in a cool, dark place.
1. When Should I Refrigerate Cheddar Cheese?
So, as I’ve already mentioned, cheddar (and cheese in general) tends to taste much better when served at room temperature.
Okay, this may be slightly different when served with something else, e.g., in a sandwich.
However, if ever you’ve ever enjoyed a cheese board, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Therefore, it actually makes a great deal of sense to keep the cheese at room temperature for at least 30-45 minutes before serving/eating it.
With that being said, there is a general rule of thumb for how long you can let the cheese sit out.
And this largely depends on its moisture content.
Basically, soft cheeses have a higher moisture content and, therefore, should not sit out for more than two hours.
However, hard cheese, such as cheddar, should be fine at room temperature for up to 8 hours.
You’ll generally notice that fat starts to seep out of cheddar the longer it is left at room temperature.
This will give it a greasy appearance, as well as alter its texture.
Now, I have mentioned that this is a “general rule of thumb,” but this isn’t always the case.
2. Has Cheese Always Been Refrigerated?
You do realize that there is absolutely no need to refrigerate cheddar cheese?
If you think about it, cheese itself was discovered around 8000 BC
Cheddar cheese was first developed around the 12th century in the village of Cheddar, Somerset, England, UK.
And the modern refrigeration process wasn’t actually invented until 1834.
Basically, we managed to go a few hundred years without cheddar needing to be refrigerated (and a few thousand years without cheese in general needing to be refrigerated).
So clearly, there is a way around this.
All those years ago, cheese was generally stored in pots that contained salt and brine.
And this would help to maintain its freshness.
3. How Do I Store Cheddar Cheese WITHOUT Refrigeration?
The aging process happens to be one of the most important factors in cheese making in general.
Once a fresh block of cheese has been created, it is typically stored at a temperature of 50-59F.
And cheese is stored at this temperature (so without being refrigerated) for many weeks, months, and in some cases, even years.
The aging process actually improves the quality of cheese, so it should be obvious by now that refrigeration isn’t absolutely imperative.
With that being said, there are certain things you should do to keep cheddar in tip-top condition.
Firstly, you must ensure that it is kept away from direct sunlight and heat.
Then you should wrap your cheddar in a vinegar-dampened cheesecloth.
This should then be placed on parchment or wax paper.
And finally, store it in a cool, dark area.
This process is best used on aged (mature) cheddar, and it will keep for a good 2-3 months.
Why Traditional English Cheddar is Aged in Caves
So, as you can see, there are a couple of answers as to whether cheddar cheese goes bad if not refrigerated.
Firstly, cheddar cheese (and most hard cheeses) are absolutely fine to sit out for up to 8 hours.
However, when left uncovered, they will start to seep fat, which will change the texture and give cheddar a greasy appearance.
With that being said, cheddar and other cheese have obviously been stored before refrigeration was even invented.
So, in the modern day and age, you can certainly keep cheddar well-wrapped and stored in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months.
So, if you were wondering why Subway doesn’t use Cheddar anymore, then you know its nothing to do with refrigeration.