I am still concentrating on living a more frugal lifestyle but I have not given up on continuing to build my own General Store and on filling in the gaps in my preps. I recently found a great deal on cheese and it reminded me that I need to order some cheese wax and to wax some cheese for my store. Next time you find a great deal on cheese consider waxing your own.
Can't Imagine Food Storage Without Real Cheese? Wax Your Own
I received a very kind note from a woman who was very excited about her progress since beginning her General Store. She was amazed how quickly her store shelves filled. She was, however most amazed that waxing your own cheese really does work. She waxed several blocks, waited two months and reported that it was perfect! She is a convert. I decided it would be a good idea to discuss this process again.
It is important to use cheese wax. Paraffin wax does not work, it is stiff and will crack when it cools which allows air in causing mold. Cheese wax is formulated to be more pliable, and will not crack as easily.
Cheese wax melts at lower temperatures and should be melted in a double boiler. Use an old pot as the wax is difficult to remove. Treat wax as you would chocolate, melt it slowly, on low heat just until it begins to melt. Remove from heat and stir. If you need to, add more heat but don't get it any hotter than you absolutely have to. The hotter the wax and more chance it will pull the oils from the cheese and not form a good seal.
Do not over handle the cheese with your bare hands. The oils from your hands can compromise the seal between the cheese and the wax. You also do not want to introduce any unwanted bacteria. Purchase some food grade disposable gloves from your local super mart.
Any cheese that is firm enough to form a block can be waxed. The cheese should be cool, clean, and dry. Dry blocks of cheese with a high quality paper towel before dipping them to soak up any excess moisture or oil. Cut the cheese into sizes that your family will use within a few days.
Cheese is not rigid and will therefore bend and misshapen under it's own weight. As that happens it will pull the wax away from the cheese and cause air pockets. This is another reason why it is better to wax smaller lighter weight portions of cheese at a time.
When you are not using your wax store it covered to deep it dust free. After you remove the wax from cheese you can remelt and reuse it.
1. When the wax has melted and come to temperature, just until the wax is clear, turn off the heat.
2. Dry the block of cheese you will be waxing with a high quality paper towel or lint free cloth. Flour sack cloths work well.
3. Quickly dip the block of cheese half way into the wax. Allow the wax to dry slightly and dip the other half of the block. You may also use a natural bristle brush to coat the cheese. If you decide to use the brush method, a boar’s hair brush is recommended for the smoothest application.
4. Allow the wax to cool before you set it on any surface otherwise it will stick. When you try to move the cheese it will pull away from the block just waxed. Try setting finished blocks on the paper side of freezer paper which has a paper side and a waxed side.
The wax should form an intimate bond with the cheese, hermetically sealing the cheese including any holes or crevices. This process protects the cheese from mold spores and unwanted fungal invasions. It also locks the natural moisture of the cheese in, preventing it from drying out and hardening.
5. Repeat the waxing process so that there is a minimum of three layers of wax. It is best to apply the second and third layers of wax while the previous layer is still slightly warm. You may choose to apply a fourth layer of wax for added strength.
6. Label the cheese, type and date, before the last dipping so that the label is embedded within the wax and will not fall off. Try a self adhesive sticker and a permanent marker.
7. After the cheese has completely hardened it should be stored in your coolest room stacked with like cheeses. Do not seal the cheese in additional containers as the cheese requires air circulation.
The cheese will continue to age over time, especially cheddar, so start with more mild cheeses.
Although you will find that cheese wax is expensive, about 5.50/lb, it can be reused. Simply peel the wax off the cheese being used and wash it in warm soapy water. Allow the wax to dry and store it to be used in your next cheese waxing session.
You will need approximately three pounds of wax to cover ten pounds of cheese.
The best deal I could find on cheese wax is at:
You can get a 20% discount by purchasing 50 pounds of cheese wax. Get a group of friends together and have a "waxing" party.