Keeping Brown Cheese In Room Temperature: What You Need To Know

Brown cheese is a great souvenir to bring back home from your trip to Norway, either to eat for yourself or to give to a loved one. Normally brown cheese need to be kept in a refrigerator, so can you even keep brown cheese in room temperature for the flight home?

Brown cheese can be kept in room temperature for around 2 weeks as long as it’s sealed. It will do just fine as long as it doesn’t get moist, so keep it sealed if you want to have it in room temperature.

It is perfectly OK to keep brown cheese in room temperature.
Brown cheese. Photo: Nicklas Iversen / The Norway Guide.

In other words, it should be completely safe to keep the brown cheese in your bag for your flight home, even if it takes a full day to get home.

The reason why brown cheese will do fine outside of the fridge is because of the high sugar content (lactose). This makes it very resilient to getting spoiled.

Keeping brown cheese in room temperature

It’s perfectly fine to keep brown cheese in room temperature as long as they are sealed. In fact, you can often find brown cheese in room temperature environments at some stores, so it’s not like they have to be kept refrigerated.

I advise you to cool it down before serving it though. Warm brown cheese can get “sweaty”, which kind of gives it a weird taste. So cool it down in the fridge before you serve it or eat it yourself. Some are fine with the added moist on the brown cheese, but most people prefer it without it.

Brown cheese with a silver cheese slicer
Brown cheese with a silver cheese slicer. Photo by Arnstein Bjone / CC BY-SA 4.0.

Keeping unsealed brown cheese in room temperature

You should never keep brown cheese in room temperature for more than 30 minutes at a time after having opened it. This will make it exposed to moisture, and increase the chance of it spoiling by a huge margin.

So just put it back in the fridge after you are done with it, and keep it cool and wrapped up when it’s not in use.

It’s important to not be tempted into opening your brown cheese to give it a taste before bringing it back home with you. This will make it much less durable to not spoil in the room temperature conditions.

Instead, buy two pieces of brown cheese – one to bring back home and one to enjoy when you are in Norway.

PS. don’t forget to buy a good cheese slicer if you want to eat brown cheese properly! It’s one of the best Norwegian inventions, and I’m sure you will love using it for both brown and white cheese.

How long can you keep brown cheese in the fridge?

Brown cheese can be kept in a refrigerator for a long time, especially if sealed.

You will find that sealed brown cheese can be kept for as much as several years, typically much longer than the “best before” date. Sealed brown cheese won’t really spoil or not, but rather get dry. Dry brown cheese is more stiff, but it’s perfectly safe to eat.

After opening the brown cheese, it will have a certain chance of spoiling. The more exposed it is to warmer air (from opening the fridge door frequently) or moisture, the higher the chance of it spoiling.

The average “life span” of brown cheese after being opened is 4 months. So you will have plenty of time to eat it before it spoils. Use a method like a brown cheese container or plastic wrap to further increase this length.

Some people use sealed environments for their brown cheese, which will make it fine to keep in the fridge for a long time. You can buy brown cheese containers that will extend the life of the brown cheese in Norwegian kitchen supply stores (or even at some grocery stores).

A popular brown cheese container brand is called EasyCheese. I haven’t tried it personally, but it’s very popular here in Norway (but a little bit on the expensive side in my opinion).

Another great open is to use plastic wrap to reseal it. This allows very little air to be in direct contact with the brown cheese.

Most people just use the plastic it comes in to wrap it back up though. This is far from the best protection, but most people also end up eating it before the 4 month life span has passed, so it’s not really a problem to them.

Reine Lofoten 1

Where to buy brown cheese

Brown cheese is sold in all grocery stores in Norway (even at the cheapest grocery stores), and is found in the same areas as white cheese. Most stores keep it cooled, but there are even stores that sell brown cheese in room temperature.

Most grocery stores will have a decent selection of different brown cheese brands, but the most popular ones are called Gudbrandsdalost.

A regular package of brown cheese will cost around 50 NOK for a 500 gram pack, or around 100 NOK for a 1 kg pack.

There are some amazing luxury brands of brown cheese as well to look out for, known for having intricate designs. These tend to be sold in some of the more expensive grocery stores like Meny.

Inside of a Rema 1000 store
Inside of a Rema 1000 store. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

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