A lot of beginners especially tend to avoid waxing their cheese at all costs simply because it’s an additional step that can seem a bit complicated and messy. Once you go about waxing a few times, you’ll pick up the waxing skill perfectly and realize the benefits outweigh the effort enormously.
What is Cheese Wax
Cheese wax is a specific type of wax that is used specifically for cheese. Unlike the 100% paraffin-based wax, it remains soft and pliable even when it’s set which is what allows it to be easily peeled away from the cheese without damaging the cheese.
Cheese wax is colored with a food grade coloring and is most commonly found in red, yellow and black shades. The color doesn’t affect the wax in any way so it’s solely up to your wax color preference.
What Cheeses are Typically Waxed?
Not all cheeses can be waxed. Typically, hard cheeses are most commonly waxed to protect them during the aging process. Specifically, hard, drier cheeses should be waxed. If you tried to wax softer, moist cheeses, it can end really badly.
Benefits of Waxing Cheese
Waxing cheese preserves the cheese while its aging. It prevents any unwanted mold from growing on the surfaces during the aging process and also helps keep necessary moisture inside the cheese as well. Once your cheese is waxed, you won’t have to worry about any mold washing or really anything at all, other than turning your cheese regularly and ensuring the aging environment is correct.
How to Wax Cheese
- Before you start, ensure that your cheese has been chilled correctly. Cold cheese allows the wax to stick and settle better.
- Next, you need to melt your wax. You can either directly heat your wax or use a double boiler method (having one pot inside of the other). Do what you think works best for you and never leave your wax unattended.
- Heat the wax to approximately 248°F. You need it hot enough that it will kill an bacteria that’s on the cheese surface, but not so hot that it explodes.
- Once the temperature is reached, turned the heat off immediately. You can normally tell if the temperature is reached if the wax starts going clear.
- Start with a natural bristle brush and start on one side of the cheese. Brush the wax onto the cheese evenly and until it’s completely covered.
- Most cheeses require 2-3 coats to make the cheese is properly sealed off. You also need to make sure that the wax is completely dry prior to adding on another coat.
- Get a pot that’s large enough to simply dip your cheese right into the wax mixture. You need to make sure you wear sanitized rubber gloves to do this and do it in a top and bottom formation, rolling the cheese side to side to make sure the wax has coated the entire cheese evenly.
- Once again, you should make sure that you do 2-3 coats of wax and ensure that the bacteria have been killed off. We like to hold the cheese under for a few seconds to ensure that the bacteria have been properly killed off.
After you completed a couple coats, it’s important to label your cheese. To learn about how you can label your cheese, check out our post all about labeling wax cheese.
- If you have a large block of cheese and don’t think you’d eat all of it at once, you can cut the block into wedge before you wax it. That makes the large cheese now multiple smaller cheeses and you can enjoy the cheese whenever you want to and not wasting any.
- Before waxing, it’s handy to lay down some wax paper or tin foil on the surfaces to avoid sticking and making a mess on your countertops.
- Take precautions ahead of time. If wax gets on your skin what are you going to do? Think about these things before starting the wax process.
- Dipping your cheese definitely makes the cheese look more aesthetically pleasing and even, but it does require a lot more wax to be able to dip the cheese in. Keep that in mind with how much wax you order.
- It’s so important to make sure the cheese is completely dry before waxing. To know that your wax is melt, it should be kind of hard and dry to the touch.
- You can reuse wax, which will save you a lot of money. When you have eaten your cheese, remove the wax and rinse it off. Melt it down immediately and strain it through a piece of cheesecloth to remove any unwanted particles. As long as you bring the wax up to the correct heat, all the bacteria will be killed off.
For a more in-depth look at Waxing Cheese using a Wax Melting Bowl watch this video
Video Credit to Gavin Webber