Friday, May 11, 2012

Waxing cheese for the first time

About six weeks ago DH and I decided to try our hand at cheese waxing.

If you are a member of Sam's Club or one of the other warehouse clubs then you now how cheap cheese can be when its purchased in bulk.

DH did some research and purchased some cheese wax from an online cheese making supplier.  Once we received the cheese wax, we purchased 20 pounds (yes, I said 20) of cheese and set about our fun project.

Cheese wax is a special type of wax.  It's pliable, like rubber, but it will break and crack if you handle waxed cheese roughly.  You CANNOT use candle wax for waxing cheese.  Candle wax is brittle, will easily  break and let microbes live on the cheese and you can get something that is similar to botulism.

To wax cheese you need a double boiler. You must be willing to dedicate the double boiler to the cheese wax.  It's also helpful to store any unused wax in the pot.   A natural bristle brush for brushing the wax onto the cheese  is also needed.   Once the cheese wax has been melted and brought to a certain temperature (use a candy thermometer to get wax up to temp) you are ready to wax your cheese.

DH cut up the 20 pounds of cheese into more manageable-sized bricks.  When the wax was up to temp, we dipped each brick, up to half-way.  The cheese was set aside to cool, on the side that hadn't been dipped in wax.  When both sides of the cheese are dipped, you get to use your brush and brush wax onto the cheese and make sure all the cracks and crevices are filled in.  

After we waxed the cheese, it was stored in the fridge overnight. Once the cheese wax is on the cheese and cooled, no pin holes or anything, you can store the cheese unrefrigerated.  How cool is that?  

We haven't had the chance to try out any of the "aged" cheese yet.  It was decided that we would let it sit for a few months before seeing how it tastes.  According to one of the websites DH read, cheese can be stored this way for 10-25 years.