Day 26: Beeswax Cheese Wax

Cheese on a market in Basel, Switzerland

Cheese on a market in Basel, Switzerland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cheese is epic. And in a country that still has an emerging cheese production culture, where oh where do you get cheese wax ?!?

I never quite liked the wax on the cheese, it gets in the way of eating the cheese methinks. But surprise! its actually good for the cheese, and makes it last longer! If you know a bee keeper, there is a recipe here for you. If not, you can just apply the concepts here and use cheese wax.

 

During industrial production of Emmental chees...

During industrial production of Emmental cheese, the as-yet-undrained curd is broken by rotating mixers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basic outline of making cheese

Cheese is a product rich in tradition, and making it is an artform in itself. I haven’t documented a go at it yet, but it’s simpler to make than you would think.  All you basically need is milk and a coagulant. If you want to get fancy of specific add in a culture (the good bacteria type). If you want hard cheese you will need a press. You can leave it to form a natural rind at that point *or* you can wax it. According to this forum a waxed hard cheese can survive up to 25 years. That is given the proper climate or temperature. Which is not the Philippine tropical room temperature. So until i get a cheese cave or a wine fridge, it wont be happening in this home. But this recipe from beeswaxfrombeekeepers.com is a gem!

Gouda Cheeses

Gouda Cheeses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Waxing Cheese

To start of… Don’t use pure paraffin wax. It is brittle and does not come off smoothly. Dont use wax sealant either, by that i mean the type of wax used to seal letters with a monogram or house seal. Those will be too flaky too. I don’t have access to commercial cheese wax, but people have generally given it good reviews. You can also melt down and strain used cheese wax as well. But right now, im going to talk about using beeswax. Since jojonicdao was kind enough to give me some! =)

 

The main issue I have seen online about using beeswax is it is expensive in the west. Which is a shame since it can be used for a great number cosmetics and toiletries. If you look up some cheese history, Hard cheeses were originally made in mountainous regions (Marrier, 2007). And I’m not sure how far back, but bees wax has been used in the mountain region as well and its their general method to make it keep longer .

 

CHEESE WAX
After the air-drying period, when cheese has developed a hard, dry rind, it must be protected with wax to prevent mold and further drying.
Ounces by weight:

13.5 ounces beeswax

2.5 ounces vegetable shortening

If you really *really* cant get enough beeswax, another recipe from a forum suggested cutting the beeswax with paraffin wax and olive oil.

Heat the ingredients in an oven at 200 degrees F. until combined. Remove the wax from the oven and wait for it to reach 160-180 degrees F. Dip the cheese and remove it with one quick, smooth motion. Repeat this step until the wax is about 1/16t-inch thick.

The thing here is you need to be quick about your dipping. Too long and the cheese will melt. Dont worry about getting an even coating, you will be dipping it several times. If the even-ness proves to be an issue for you you can always use a brush. Or do a combination of dipping and brushing. Food safe colorant can be added to this wax recipe. Red or darker colors will help keep the sunlight out and supposedly prevents unwanted mold production. I have read another school of thought that like the transparence of leaving wax natural so you can check on the aging and veining process. The choice is yours, but it will probably keep shorter if not colored.

In a cool and not so humid country you can keep these at room temperature. Its a good idea to do some extra research and find out which types of cheese last better where you are.

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true "par...

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, the true “parmesan” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Do you wax your cheese differently? What’s your favorite way of preserving cheese? What cheeses keep well with this method?

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2 thoughts on “Day 26: Beeswax Cheese Wax

  1. shella says:

    This is so informative,sad that this is not a applicable in the Philippines,or have you found out which cheese can be?

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