How to Crumble Soft Cheese Without Making a Smeared Mess

How to Crumble Soft Cheese Without Making a Smeared Mess

I take wedge salads seriously and treat every ingredient with the respect it deserves. I’m usually not opposed to a store-bought bacon bit or tub of pre-crumbled blue cheese, but that all changes when I build a wedge. I cook and crumble bacon, pull some chives from my garden, and crumble blue cheese that I buy from a proper cheese counter.

The problem with proper blue cheese — like a Roquefort, gorgonzola, or cambozola — is that it doesn’t crumble all that well. It smushes and smears, creating a big ol’ mess on the cutting board. If you’re more of a goat cheese enjoyer, you’ve probably noticed similar things happening when you got to crumble a nice, fresh chèvre. Chilling it helps, but the fridge only gets so cold. To help your soft cheese crumble rather than smear, you need to get the freezer involved.

This tip comes from a Cook’s Illustrated reader and was published in the July/August edition of their print magazine:

Before Seana Monahan of Rocky River, Ohio, crumbles a log of goat cheese, she places the package in the freezer for a few minutes. The firm cheese crumbles neatly without smearing.

The extra cold firms up the fat in the dairy, helping it keep its shape as you break it up with a fork. (Using a fork instead of your fingers also helps keep things chill. Hands are hot.)

Whether you’re using a fancy blue cheese or a log of chèvre, make sure to only leave it in the freezer for two or three minutes, and let the cheese warm for a bit on your salad, fruit plate, or whatever else before chowing down. Cheese may crumble best with a chill on it, but it tastes best at room temperature. (And the taste is always my primary concern.)

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