Parmesan Cheese Hard as Brick – Fixed: “Soft” Again

Cheese so Hard Barely Scrape Dust off of it

Cheese so Hard I could barely Scrape Dust off of it

My enjoyment of Parmigiaheno-Reggiano cheese, more often known in America as “Parmesan,” is a bit above average. I’m slightly hesitant to admit how sometimes I enjoy it all by itself.

Today I found a sizeable block of Italian Parmesan cheese waiting in my refrigerator. Was excited about using it on a new pasta sauce experiment.

However, apparently it had grown tired of waiting a few months for me. The Parmesan had turned hard; brick hard. It was so stoney I could barely scrape off a few shards with a sharp cheese grater or a butcher knife. How hard was it? I’ve sculpted statutes from Cararra marble that were easier to chew.

Shame to waste what should be good cheese, so I turned to the web and found – nothing. Even WikiHow was worthless. The only advice was useless: Shave it, dab it with vinegar, put it in soup. Those aren’t solutions – those are what to do after you give up.

I wasn’t about to give up with a simple solution simmering in my mind. 

Well, by combining a couple bits of simple science – my Parmesan cheese was soon soft enough to chew and slice. In fact it only took a few minutes.

Here’s how you can soften your rock hard cheese.

Cheese in bowl covered with Water

Cheese in bowl covered with Water

1. Put the hard cheese in a bowl and cover it with water.

(Cheese starts out mostly as water. So why not get some water back in it ? Cheese must be fairly porous or cheese makers would have a lot of trouble getting the Whey out. Next, lets heat it up to see if that helps.)

2. Put the bowl in a microwave and heat it for 3 minutes.

Done. Its soft again; soft enough to bite.

Ready to eat. And tasting fabulous.

That’s it. My experiment worked. The only caution is it doesn’t stay soft forever. The little bit that was left over lost a bit of its softness by the next day.

I’m sure this will work with any hard cheese like Asiago, Grana Padano,  or Pecorino.

By the way, the pasta was sublime – in large part due to the revived Parmesan. But that’s for another article.

You are welcome to see what other sage and useful thoughts you can find here on this website – that you won’t find anywhere else. 😉

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