I bought a pre-cut, tightly wrapped in plastic, refrigerated block of gruyere cheese just one day ago from a nice Italian shop. The cheese sells quick at this spot, and I've never had trouble with molds, bacteria or rancidity.
In the past, I've kept my cheeses in plastic Ziplocs in the refrigerator due to these aforementioned fears of rancidity, molds and/or bacteria (nonindigenous to the cheese, of course). Here's the problem: I can never wait long enough for my cheese to return to room temperature before snarfing it down. Thus, I'm left with rubbery and flavorless cheese. Ugh...
I started out eating this gruyere from the refrigerator before finally recognizing my folly. I put the cheese (cold, probably 40 degrees Fahrenheit), still in its tight Ziploc, in an airtight OXO container and placed it in my pantry. My thinking was: Fewer exposed surfaces, the better...
It's worth noting that circulation in my Brooklyn apartment's kitchen is piss poor. Meaning, I wouldn't be surprised if the temperature was measured close to 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit in that cabinet. Roughly four hours later, when I took out the gruyere to include in tomorrow's lunch, the cheese was elastic and... almost sweaty.
I've attached an admittedly poor image taken with my Flip Cam (because I honestly don't have a real camera). Mind you, the cheese looks like it's sweating in the photo, but, before, when it came out of the Ziploc, it had a full sheen, without any dry spots, as if it just played four quarters of a basketball game. Hopefully that'll help with the diagnosis.
I understand it's a hot environment, and it would be best stored in a cool (not cold) environment. (Not sure what that could be, but still...) I now know the cheese would have been better off without the Ziploc bag.
As mentioned, this was my first experiment with storing cheese outside of the refrigerator, so, sadly, I have no idea if the smell is now 'off' or whether it's just that of a 'stinky cheese.' I'd be inclined to say it smells rather normal, though...
I just don't want to eat this stuff tomorrow and regret it. What do you think?
Should I chuck the cheese and not risk sickness?
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