Bread care 101
What to expect when you’re expecting bread
We ship our breads using two-day service. Each of our breads comes wrapped in a paper bread bag ready to eat for a few days, or to be wrapped in plastic and frozen for longer storage.
Do not be alarmed if the bread seems hard or dry… our crust is the best (and only!) preservative in our bread! It’s almost magical how well it returns to that “fresh-baked” status with a little time in the oven. Crispy, thick crust; soft, chewy crumb inside.
How to store your bread
Store your loaf in its paper bag on the counter – out of reach of hungry husbands, wily wives, clever kids – for a few days. Don’t put it in the fridge, it’ll wreak havoc on the texture. If your loaf is sliced it’s best to wrap it in a plastic bag so it doesn’t dry out.
If you don’t plan on eating your bread right away, double bag the loaf–or part of it–in plastic and freeze. When you’re ready to enjoy it, remove the plastic bags and follow the heating steps below.
How to serve your bread
All of our breads are completely baked all the way so reheating is not necessary. You can eat the bread right out of the bag (ripping pieces or cutting slices – no judgment here). If it’s frozen, you can leave the bread to thaw fully on the counter and then eat it. We only suggest that the bread will give you the “just out of the oven” experience… if you reheat it in the oven..
Starting with frozen bread? Let it defrost on the counter for 30 minutes, then follow these same directions.
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees
- Take the bread out of the bag
- Throw the whole, half, or part of the loaf on the oven rack naked
- Leave it til it’s hot the whole way through — about 15-20 minutes
- Take time to smell the roses, or better, the amazing aroma coming out of your oven
Bacon care 101
What to expect when you are expecting bacon
In warmer months (early April to mid September), we ship bacon with two business day service plus warm weather care. The bacon may arrive warm, and that’s completely normal! Dry ice will evaporate, ice packs may melt, but they will have done their job of preventing the bacon from cooking on its journey.
The rest of the year (late September to the end of March), the shipping method will be flat rate service (1-4 business days).
My bacon arrived warm – is it safe?
If your bacon arrives at room temperature or warm – that’s totally okay! Your bacon can take the heat because it’s cured. Curing keeps meat safe by making it inhospitable to the microbes that would otherwise cause rot. Most commonly, this is done by salting, smoking, and drying.
When cured slowly and traditionally, these techniques not only make the meat safe to keep, they also make it extra delicious. The bacon is safe at room temperature and/or without refrigeration for up to two weeks.
That said, there are some uh-oh signs. If the packaging is puffy or torn, if the color looks grey or un-bacony, and/or if there are any unusual odors, then that means the bacon might not have survived the trip. Let us know and we’ll make it right! But, if it looks like bacon and it smells like bacon, it will be delicious.
How to store your bacon
You can store the bacon in the refrigerator or the freezer. Once the bacon is opened, it will be good in the fridge for about a week. Unopened bacon in the vacuum-sealed package will keep for about 3 weeks in the fridge and up to 18 months in the freezer, so seize the opportunity to stock up!
Cheese care 101
What to expect when you’re expecting cheese
In warmer months (early April to mid September), we ship cheese with two business day service plus warm weather care. We employ an ice pack and insulation defensive strategy to protect against warm delivery trucks and warm warehouses and ensure your shipment arrives in great shape. The rest of the year (late September to the end of March), the shipping method will either be flat rate service (1-4 business days) for our durable hard, aged cheeses or two business day service for our younger and more perishable cheeses.
If you see oil, that’s just moisture leaking out of the cheese. Cheesemongers call it weeping, which sounds sad, but it’s natural and there’s no need for condolences. Just wipe your wedge with a cloth.
When you open a wrapped piece of cheese that’s been closed in a box the aroma can be strong. The tight quarters don’t let it breathe well. Don’t worry. Give it a half hour of fresh air when you want to eat it
How to store your cheese
Cheeses love temperatures around 50 degrees. Don’t worry if it arrives a bit warmer or a bit colder – cheese is durable. Place it in the door of your refrigerator or in a drawer where the temperature is consistent but not too cold, ideally the spot closest to 50 degrees.
Keep the cheese in the cheese bag it came in, which will keep it better for longer. The next best option would be parchment or wax paper. After you open the cheese for a nibble, any remainders can be put back into the bag and closed with a simple roll or fold.
Do not freeze your cheese! Cheese is a living thing. Freezing will stop the natural processes that keep cheese so tasty.
How to enjoy your cheese
Take your cheese out of the fridge about 20 to 30 minutes before you plan to serve it. Cheese tastes better at room temperature. It makes a world of difference: the aromas expand, becoming more complex; more of the fat spreads on your tongue, which makes the flavor more intense. When cheese is warm you’ll eat less of it and enjoy it more.
A closer look at Marieke Gouda cheese
In central Wisconsin, about halfway between Minneapolis and Green Bay sits the small town of Thorp, home to Holland Family Cheese. The farm was founded by Rolf and Marieke Penterman, immigrants from the Netherlands. Land was too expensive to set up a cheesemaking enterprise in Europe, so, lucky us, they settled in Wisconsin and starting making cheese.
The Pentermans make gouda every day, all year round, from their closed herd of about four hundred cows. The cows live indoors on comfy beds of playground sand, feed on silage and hay, and have access to spinning bristly brushes dangling in the corners of their pens to scratch their back when it itches. Automated scrapers remove manure from the floors and each cow wears a kind of bovine fit-bit that monitors their temperature, behavior, eating habits, if the cow is in heat (!), etc. The level of technology used may sound antithetical to artisan producers, but it’s not used to make the cows give more milk, just to keep them healthy. When 100% of the milk for your cheese comes from your own cows you tend to take care of them very, very well. These are well loved and well cared for animals and they produce really flavorful milk that becomes really flavorful gouda that rivals the best goudas coming out of The Netherlands.