Store cheese for up to 25 years!
Posted by nwnikkie on February 8, 2012
Cheese wax prevents cheese from developing mold or bacteria and it keeps moisture in. Simply use a combination of dipping and brushing with a natural boar’s hair brush to apply the melted cheese wax liberally to your block of cheese let it harden, and store at a mild to cool temperature. Cheese treated with cheese wax will store for up to 25 years. It will continue to age, but, it won’t get moldy (even if it does in parts, you can simply cut off that part, and re-wax over it.)
When preparing your cheese blocks for dipping select/cut cheese block sizes that you and your family can easily consume within 3-5 day period in order to avoid it going bad once you’ve cut into it.
Blocks of cheese or cheese wheels (cut into sizable pieces)
Boar brush (or other brush with natural bristles)
A double boiler set up – the pan you choose to melt the cheese wax in will be your designated cheese wax pan as it is near impossible to clean afterwards
Sharpie for labeling
Masking tape or paper for labeling
Process – The Dipping Method
Melt wax in a double boiler so that it is not directly over the heat source. Do not leave unattended; wax explodes at high temperatures. Choose a container for the wax that will fit your desired sizes of cheese. An old coffee can is an ideal size if cutting the cheese wheel into quarters.
Dip half the cheese in for about 5 seconds, then bring it out and HOLD it there for about 90 seconds to harden. Set down on wax paper. Repeat for the other pieces of cheese. Once done go back to your first piece of cheese and repeat. Do 3 layers of dipping and then one layer of brushing. (Using the natural boar’s hair brush) The reason why you want to use this kind of brush specifically is because other brushes will apply the cheese wax too thick, or with crevices, etc. This kind of brush is perfect for cheese waxing.
Label cheese with type and date. Use masking tape or a piece of paper. The piece of paper can brushed into place with a thin coating of wax with the boar brush.
Store the cheese in a cool dark location.
To eat the cheese, peel off wax and enjoy. Use within 3-5 days of cracking open.
Save the wax as it can be reused. Just wash it and then re-melt it for use over and over again.
Alternatively, you may use a method called “The brushing method” – Prepare cheese wax just like above then brush two coats of wax onto the cheese, filling any holes to prevent air gaps. Brush wax all the way around the rounded side of the wheel, then brush the flat top, then brush the flat bottom. Allow for drying times in between. Then repeat over all. Finally, brush on a paper label (containing type of cheese and date) with a thin application of wax.
- Don’t use paraffin wax. It tends to crack. Cheese wax warms slower and heats to a higher temperature and thus plies better to your cheese shapes and sizes. Cheese wax is also less crumbly and you can use less of it than paraffin. Remember, its reusable too!
- Use a hard cheese. As long as it’s hard enough to be in a solid block, you can wax it.
- It’s best to melt the cheese wax in a double boiler as opposed to direct heat. Any pan you use to melt your cheese wax in will be your designated cheese wax pan. They are impossible to get clean afterwards. So be forewarned.
- Use food handling gloves. The less you handle the cheese with your hands the better.
- You don’t need to use food-grade labels for your cheese, however, it’s smart to use a label on the outside of your cheese just prior to the last wax layer. That way you don’t have to worry about it falling off. Be sure to label not only the kind of cheese it is, but when it was waxed as well.
- Don’t store your waxed cheese in additional containers. Just stack them on top of like cheeses and let them breathe. Storage idea – hang them from the ceiling in a “fishing net” kind of contraption.
- Be sure to check for pockets or crevices that didn’t get sealed. Four total thin layers of wax is a good practice. There’s no need to do more coats than that.
- The cheese surface should be clean and dry prior to waxing.
- If your 2nd and 3rd coats are applied while the prior coat is still just a bit warm you will get a better adhesion.
- Cheese wax can be re-used several times. You can simply wash it in warm water, let it dry and then re-melt it. So when you remove cheese wax from your cheeses, you can simply reheat and reapply the wax. Simply heat the cheese wax to about 200 degrees F. this will also ensure that you’re not transferring any bacteria or unnecessary moisture to your new cheese–even when you’re putting it on your cheese which is cooler.
- You do not need to filter the cheese wax after you melt it.
- Your first coat will have some unevenness to it. Don’t worry. The 2nd and 3rd coat will even it out just fine.
- Cheese will respond to gravity. So using cheese wax vs. paraffin is important as it’s more pliable. Periodically turn your cheese in view of the gravitational pull.
- Let your cheese sit at room temperate for just a bit in order to ensure that it doesn’t get condensation from being too cold and then apply the cheese wax.
The instructions combined with the tips should make waxing cheese easy.