When you make a hard cheese, it is essential to provide a wax protective layer to guard the final product from unwanted moisture. Most waxes come from a paraffin source with several color choices to consider.
If your preference is to make an all-natural cheese from recipes at home, beeswax is a better solution for your waxing needs. It doesn’t contain any chemicals, and the product comes from sustainable (and often local) resources.
Why Isn’t Beeswax Used More Often?
The issue with beeswax for cheese is that it isn’t as resilient as paraffin for withstanding changing temperatures and conditions.
It tends to become brittle after it sets, especially when stored in a cellar, cheese cave, or refrigerator. When this trait develops, the outer coating can crack. That outcome exposes the product to moisture, especially if it begins to pull away from the surface of the cheese.
That means you’re left with something that doesn’t meet your expectations.
One way to get around this issue is to add a small amount of coconut or vegetable oil to the beeswax as you start heating it. Organic products mixed with the wax can still provide an all-natural approach to cheesemaking. At the same time, you reduce the risk of damage.
Beeswax traditionalists believe adding oil to the product is unnecessary.
Once you start using the beeswax for your cheese, the benefits of this product become clear. It smells sweeter, applies with greater consistency, and comes from a renewable resource.
How to Apply Beeswax to Cheese
You can apply beeswax to cheese using the same techniques that are necessary for a paraffin-based product.
The cheese should be cold and dry before you attempt to apply the protective coating. Heat the beeswax to a temperature of 65°C to melt it without reaching a boiling temperature. It may help to have a digital thermometer available to help you avoid overheating this product.
As with paraffin waxes, you can dip your cheese into the beeswax one-half of it at a time. Carefully rotate it in the liquid to ensure that you’ve coated all surfaces equally.
You can use a natural bristle brush to “paint” the beeswax onto your cheese if you prefer.
Beeswax can continue to be used because it can keep returning to a liquid state once it gets reheated. You’ll need to strain the liquid after your first waxing session to ensure there aren’t any debris or contaminants that could affect the quality of the cheese’s protective layer.
If you have a beekeeper and hives close to home, it may be worthwhile to explore a partnership so that you have access to local beeswax. When you need to ship this product to your home, you only need to purchase a little bit to meet your cheesemaking needs.
Hard cheeses benefit from a wax coating when you have followed a recipe correctly. Instead of reaching for the paraffin, consider trying beeswax for this final protective step. It could permanently change how you feel about making cheese.