Author Topic: Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH  (Read 1147 times)

Offline Wayne Harris

  • Wine and Cheesemaker
  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Posts: 1,938
  • Cheeses: 53
  • Wayne Harris
Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH
« on: April 22, 2009, 09:28:53 PM »
dumb newbie question.

If I elect to wax my cheese, or seal it in plastic during aging, do I really need to concern myself with the Relative Humidity in my cheese cave?

Both methods, done right, essentially provide non-permeable barrier to moisture. 

So what's the point?
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline thebelgianpanda

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Springfield Oregon
  • Posts: 89
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
    • Cheese a Day
Re: Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2009, 09:47:26 PM »
I wax all of my cheeses, and they experience zero drying out after they are in wax. In my experience RH in the cave doesn't affect my cheese.  Now if there were a mixture of cheeses (i.e. unwaxed) then it would be an issue.

Offline Zinger

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: West Michigan
  • Posts: 141
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2009, 09:11:05 AM »
Panda,

Do you wax cheeses like Parm and Manchego as well. I have those going and am concerned about keeping a good RH. But if I waxed them I guess it wouldn't be a worry.

Z

Offline Wayne Harris

  • Wine and Cheesemaker
  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Posts: 1,938
  • Cheeses: 53
  • Wayne Harris
Re: Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2009, 09:16:41 AM »
So if one seals the rind in an airtight manner, (wax, vacuum bags), RH is not an issue.  I guess the next question is this.  It that right? 

Do some cheeses NEED to breath a bit?  Do some cheeses *need* to loose a bit of moisture over time?
Aging cheese correctly is my weakest area of cheese knowledge. I need to get a better handle on it.

Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline thebelgianpanda

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Springfield Oregon
  • Posts: 89
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
    • Cheese a Day
Re: Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2009, 11:42:25 AM »
Well, for me you hit on the $64k question--I haven't even tried to make those cheeses yet.  I think it's probably a good idea to keep the cave at the right RH if for no other reason than sometimes (in my experience) the wax job may split.  In my case this has always been because of stacking the loaves on top of each other, but it still does occur.


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline linuxboy

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Ukiah, CA
  • Posts: 3,984
  • Cheeses: 197
  • www.wacheese.com
    • Washington Cheese Guild
Re: Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2009, 12:11:17 PM »
Hi Wayne,

I think in terms of the air circulation/RH to lose some water content and draw away gases, it depends on the cheese. For example, all mold and washed rind cheeses should not be waxed/vacuum sealed. Anything with b. linens should not be waxed. Any cheese that depends on a crust for flavor obviously should not be waxed.

However, many higher temp cheeses or those that develop proper water content after brining are fine being waxed or vacuum sealed.

In terms of aging, it's temperature that has the biggest impact because it impacts the rate of proteolysis. However, the great cheese flavor doesn't come just from proteolytic action, but also from the secondary amino acid conversions and breaking down of peptides, and creation of catabolites. And that comes from time. For example, if you age cheese at a higher initial temp, it will increase rate of proteolysis, but may have side effects, such as smaller peptides, which are bitter.

It's all rather complex. There's no clear right way to do it, except that slower in most cases with hard cheeses is better, and aging should be done below ~55 F.

Cheddar is commercially vac sealed when mass produced, and mass produced parm is either waxed or sealed. Also, large wheels of parm have a thick rind, which acts in a similar way to wax, albeit with more air exchange.

I posted a doc from Chr Hansen about cheese ripening a while ago. Lots of good info. http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=593.0;attach=2941
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.

Offline linuxboy

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Ukiah, CA
  • Posts: 3,984
  • Cheeses: 197
  • www.wacheese.com
    • Washington Cheese Guild
Re: Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2009, 12:15:43 PM »
Just had another thought. For hard cheeses, waxing/vacuum sealing vs aging with a rind is similar to the way steak is aged (dry age vs wet age in vacuum bags). The end result is similar, but with some subtle differences in that the dry age steak has slightly more intense flavors.

Maybe for cheese the best idea is to dry age for 30-60 days to lose some water content and start the proteolytic process, and then vacuum seal?  And then when opening up to serve, open 1 hour beforehand to let them "breathe"?
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.

Offline thebelgianpanda

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Springfield Oregon
  • Posts: 89
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Default personal text
    • Cheese a Day
Re: Wax/Vacuum sealed wheels and RH
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2009, 08:38:10 PM »
Last week I learned about galactose as well as bitterness from higher temp aging.  This week I learn about catabolism and catabolites, which isn't even indexed in American Farmstead Cheese.  Linuxboy, keep it comin' :)