Author Topic: Cream Wax and moisture loss  (Read 334 times)

Offline Mike Richards

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Cream Wax and moisture loss
« on: December 31, 2013, 10:07:06 PM »
After I've coated my cheeses with cream wax, do I need to worry about the RH in my cave?  Because I was going to be gone for so long, I decided it wasn't a good idea to ask my wife to try to maintain the humidity in my cave.  It has been down around 35% for a few weeks now.  I was going to add a coat of regular cheese wax over the cream wax before I left, but now that I'm going to stay here, I don't want to coat them with regular wax if I don't have to.  Anyone have any information about cream wax and moisture loss in low humidity caves?  My cheeses have 3 coats of cream wax.
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Offline Spoons

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Re: Cream Wax and moisture loss
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2013, 11:45:07 PM »
I'm new to cream waxing too. I've been wondering the same. Linuxboy wrote that the moisture loss is more or less 50% slower than a natural rind. So I guess cave humidity is still relatively important.

Just an opinion here and not fact: if a cheese recipe calls for 90%RH for a natural rind, then I guess 75-80% should be ok. 35% seems a bit low. I put my cream waxed cheese in a ripening container with a little bowl with a moist sponge. It was ok for my yellow coated cheese, but not my black coated one. The coating on the black one was dry but partially got moist and receded to its cream state again  :o I decided to open up the cheese and was surprised that the black coating was rather flaky and hard to take off the cheese. I do admit there wasnt much of a rind on the cheese when I applied the first black coat though.

So, with the little experience I have with cream coating, I had a problem with one cheese where I don't know if the problem comes from too humid an environment or a rind not dry enough. The other cheese was another kind of problem; it showed signs of calcium on the coating a few days after bagging it. I opened the bag, scrubbed the calcium off, and re-bagged it. A few days later, I can see a new formation of calcium on it.

sigh... trial and error I suppose.
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Re: Cream Wax and moisture loss
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 08:31:28 AM »
My experience has shown that a cream-coated cheese will continue to lose moisture over time. If you want to reduce or eliminate that continued moisture loss, you have to either wax over the cream coating or vacuum-seal it. My efforts for doing the latter have worked pretty effectively.

First, the virgin cheese rind dries as intended, progressing to a natural rind. Then the cheese is cream-coated and allowed to continue aging under that coating. Then, at some point, the cream coating is sealed with wax or plastic (vacuum). The end result is a cheese with a natural rind and a good moisture level.

It is important to ensure that the rind is dry when you cream-coat. Otherwise, opportunistic molds will set up shop under the cream coating, which will then need to be removed (Yes, I've done it and it's tedious.).

Yes, 35% RH seems low. I would add a little more humidity if you can do it without bringing on other molds or mildew.

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Offline High Altitude

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Re: Cream Wax and moisture loss
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2014, 01:24:31 PM »
I would wax or vacuum-pack - if you plan to age them out 3+ months - especially since they've been sitting at only 35% rh. I remember reading somewhere that cheeses in cream wax dry out pretty quickly after about 12 (or was it 8?) weeks without additional protection. That said, your 3 layers have likely held out pretty well thus far.

Or, I suppose if you keep them in humid micro-environments from here on out, that might work too. 

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Offline cowboycheese

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Re: Cream Wax and moisture loss
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2014, 02:02:40 PM »
I cracked open a couple 6+ week old Colby's during the holidays (yum btw). They each had three coats of PVA and one of them was vac-sealed after about 3 weeks. Both showed some dry rind development under the coating. However, the un-vac-sealed one showed much more. I'm running that same experiment on two jacks and three gouda types too. I'll crack open the jack wheels in a few weeks and report back. My cave is sitting around 80% right now - which is hard to do in Colorado as you well know.


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Offline High Altitude

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Re: Cream Wax and moisture loss
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2014, 02:29:10 PM »
cowboy - how the heck do you get to 80% rh in your cave?!  I'm lucky to maintain 50%, so am usually aging in micro-environments (unless it's waxed).  Good for you!
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Offline Spoons

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Re: Cream Wax and moisture loss
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2014, 02:52:00 PM »
Thanks for sharing your experiment with us Cowboy! Looking forward for your other results. A cheese for you!  :)

High Altitude, I too can only maintain 85% + in micro-environments. I tried the water bowl covering as much surface as possible and had four two-foot long wicks hanging on the side of the 35-bottle wine cooler. 62% is the highest I've ever seen. LOL.
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Offline cowboycheese

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Re: Cream Wax and moisture loss
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2014, 03:25:46 PM »
HA: Wet paper towels sitting in shallow tubs and a small fan (sometimes). My cave has a built in fan so I tend to get enough air movement without the extra fan. I also avoid opening the cave at all costs so it stays somewhat stable.

I just moved some cams out now so I took out the extra humidity "generators". I grow the cams in plastic tubs with just a wet paper towel on the rack (inside the tub - see here). All I've read so far in the forums said to keep enough moisture in the minis so that you get a mist of mini drops on the lid but not dripping wet. I've come to the conclusion that if I want a wheel to have more or less of a hard rind, it gets coated and/or waxed or vac bagged at the appropriate time. Colorado is great for making giant hockey puck cheese wheels if you don't watch them closely.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 06:08:25 PM by cowboycheese »