Max McCalman on the right temperature for cheese storage
Another great post from Max McCalman over at the Artisanal blog. This time he's talking about improper cheese storage, and the tragic retirement of Picholine's "cheese cave" due to health code restrictions on storage temperature:
Temperature abuse is one of the gravest ills that can befall cheese. It is usually the too-warm temperatures at which cheese is stored when cheeses suffer most. The bacterial activity speeds up and this can lead to over-ripening. A cheese expected to reach its peak a week or two later rushes through its usual ripening schedule to the over-the-hill stage. A rise in temperature is usually okay for a short period but extended phases of warmth increase microbiological activities that lead to secondary fermentations and off-flavors. Once a softer cheese has sustained that elevated temperature and the bacteria have started to procreate (both the good and the bad bacteria) there is little that the affineur can do to reverse damage.