Waxing cheese helps to preserve it while going through the ripening process. When you complete this task successfully, you won’t need to worry about unwanted growth on the product. It keeps the maintenance work to the occasional wash and flip.
Although you can technically wax any cheese variety, it works better when working with a hard cheese recipe. Putting a soft product into hot, liquid wax is a process that usually ends in disaster!
Most hard cheeses need to be left out for at least a week before they are ready for this process. If the finished recipe didn’t come straight from your refrigerator, take about an hour to chill it before starting the work.
Cheese wax typically gets sold in one-pound blocks, whether you prefer paraffin or beeswax.
1. Cut your cheese into usable chunks.
Instead of placing wax on an entire wheel of cheese you just made, consider cutting it up into usable blocks. Most homemade recipes remain good for about 1-2 weeks with proper refrigeration. If you can’t eat everything, the smaller pieces become easier to manage. You’ll have more fresh cheese and less waste.
2. Use tin foil or wax paper.
Waxing cheese makes a ridiculous mess. Even if you’re extraordinarily careful with this work, it is going to get on unwanted stuff. Protecting your surfaces with these items can save you a lot of time during the cleanup process. Don’t use a paper towel because the hot wax can go right through that product.
3. Don’t let the hot wax touch your skin.
If you’ve ever had candlewax hit your skin, that moment of pain gets multiplied by a thousand when cheesemaking wax graces your epidermis. Paraffin and beeswax hold their temperatures exceptionally well, creating a terrible burn if you come into contact with the liquid. High-temp food-grade gloves should be considered essential equipment.
4. Brush on the wax if you can.
It is a lot of fun to drop your cheese into a pot of liquid wax. You’ll turn it over a few times to get a thick coat before hauling it out. This process creates more symmetry with the final product, but it also takes more wax to finish it. When you brush on the protective layer instead, you’ll conserve the cheese while using less wax to get the job finished.
5. Make sure your cheese is dry.
Dry cheese is the only kind that you can wax appropriately. The product should have a rind that’s starting to harden with a deeper yellow hue than when you first pressed it. You can check if it is ready because the surface should be dry to the touch.
When you’re ready to eat some cheese, break apart the wax and enjoy it! Please don’t throw the wax out because you can reuse it.
Rinse it off, melt it down, and strain it through fine cheesecloth to remove any lingering impurities. Once you’ve completed those steps, you can use it for another block of your preferred cheese!