Saturday, 17 November 2007

A Sad Tale of Some Frozen Cheese

Sit back to hear the little tale I have to tell you. There once was a (not quite so) young woman who adored cheese. She often spoke of it, she more than often ate it, and thoughts of cheese took up both her waking and sleeping moments. She loved it quite like nothing else.

One day, this woman found a new cheese she hadn't yet tried but liked the sound of. A goat's camembert, it had traveled from a small producer called Wobbly Bottom Farm; the name made her giggle, the pongy cheese smell was enticing, and the sample offered had her hooked. She decided to give the cheese a good home with her. And her tummy.

The cheese came home with her, but it then tragically disappeared. She looked in the fridge, but there was no cheese. She checked in the shopping bags, but there was no cheese. She kept her nose out for funny smells in case the cheese was festering in an unseen corner of a kitchen somewhere, but a month on and there was still no cheese. The (not quite so) young woman was beginning to think she had imagined this cheese in some beautiful yet ultimately sad dream.

And then, when searching through her freezer for some fish fingers, she found a familiar oval. Could it be...? was the cheese! In the freezer. Frozen. Oh dear.

I don't know many people who have experience with frozen cheese, and I certainly didn't know how it would turn out when I de-frosted it. I turned to the best source I could think of: Jamie at Being a cheese addict, this is a website I had been familiar with for some time, but I only recently discovered that it is run by a high school friend of mine. Fancy that. I asked Jamie what I ought to do and expect from the de-frosting, and I had this response in return:

I wouldn't nuke the Camembert. You don't want to end up cooking it. I would just let it defrost in the open air, but you very likely might end up with a mess. The ice crystals that form from the water content of the cheese will act like little razors and cut the tiny fat globules in the paste. And when fat globules lose their "skin," they become runny milk fat. You might end up with something that's sort of de-emulsified. But I've never done it myself, so I'm very curious to hear what actually happens!

I thawed out the cheese this morning, and had my first pieces a short while ago. It didn't de-frost as badly as feared - the cheese stayed whole, slightly runny but no more than would be expected of a camembert. The exposed edges were rubbery looking, like cheese left in the refrigerator uncovered. I'm not at all sure how the taste was effected, though, since the memory of having sampled the cheese is long gone and I can't tell how this slice compared to the original. I may need to head up to the farmer's market tomorrow and buy a fresh chunk in order to perform a more accurate comparison.

So all was not lost, my fair cheese, but I promise to you I will never do that again.


Bev and Ollie "O" said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bev and Ollie "O" said...

buy another I think. (the perfect excuse! ;0)

Chris said...

Interesting - if these types of cheese get runny when they've been frozen, maybe that's what happened to my Epoisses from last week? It may have been stored too cold before I got hold of it.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Hi there Annemarie! Thanks for coming by my blog. It's a bummer what happened to the cheese, but I really enjoyed reading your post ;o)

Peabody said...

I lost my keys in the freezer once...but I keep better eye on my cheese :)

Annemarie said...

Hi Bev - The fridge is now stocked with more cheese. Notice I said the fridge, and kept my wits about me this time.

Hi Chris - It could well explain your cheese problems. I think you, too, need to test that hypothesis by buying a new hunk of it.

Hi Carol - Thanks; if my mistake can amuse others, at least that's something. :)

Hi Peabody - You may have identified a trend. My husband lost his wedding ring a couple of months back; I'm off the the freezer now to look for it.

Elle said...

Never frozen cheese, but that sounds like a cheese worthy of unfreezing...or better yet buy some more. Yum!