Author Topic: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?  (Read 2022 times)

Offline zenith1

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Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« on: May 20, 2009, 06:48:29 PM »
OK, it has finally happened to me. I have made a variety of cheese types that would be waxed for aging and not had a problem. I typically air dry the cheese for 4-5 days, occasionally 6 if it appears that it needs it.This was my first attempt at a fresh goat milk cheddar, and I followed my usual drying method before waxing. It appeared to be dry enough at 5 days. Two days after placing it in the cave I have noticed what appear to be moisture bubbles on both sides of the cheese. I am always careful to turn the fresh cheeses daily for a while so that they don't get soggy on one side. Two questions for the forum: is goat milk substantially different in that it would require a longer drying period, and what have you done if you ran into this same problem? Canthe wax be removed and the cheese further dried before re-waxing, or should I just let it go and continue with the turning as usual?  ???
Keith


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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2009, 08:45:45 PM »
Every wheel of cheese I have waxed has had some flaw in the form of moisture, or mold growth underneath.  This may be due to a flaw in my cheesemaking process that yielded insufficient syneresis. Or simple an bad wax job that let critters in.  Or both.  Or mold got on the surface prior to waxing.  Who knows.  Either way, i have had mold and excess moisture in most of my waxed cheeses.

I have resolved to to shrink wrap, or vacuum seal, or leave natural, the rinds of my cheeses and only wax them just prior to distribution to friends and family.  Its much easier to open a shrink wrapped wheel than a waxed one.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 07:46:54 AM »
I have always had problems with waxing, too.  Moisture underneath or cracks in the wax, leading to dryness and mold.

My preferred method is larding the dry cheese (spread it on with a spatula like butter).  A bit messy, but I have found it results in a creamier texture in my cheese and the rind doesn't turn out thick and dry.

Good luck.

Offline zenith1

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 08:05:10 AM »
Thanks for the sharing your experiences. I have not had this problem before as I related in my post. I have waxed several different types with no problems with either moisture or mold so I am a bit confused as to the remedy. The u have most obvious one is further air drying prior to waxing. Wayne I thought initially that vacuum bagging was the way to go also. But I have been unsuccessful with the bags, every one has eventually had a molding problem. Again I believe that it was from too much moisture in the cheese at the start of aging. I have been working with using more pressure during the cheese making process like you have postulated Wayne, in the hopes of producing a slightly drier cheese wheel. I know that there are several variables there to work with be it curd size, curd temps, etc. Have you been able to salvage the cheese where you have had this moisture problem? Great looking refrigerator Wayne. I'm jealous! It looks similar to the ones I'm familiar with that had the fan units mounted in the top of unit. If so keep an eye on the fans once the weather turns humid as they have a tendency to build up ice. You will know when it happens because the first symptom is the fan blade ticking on the ice buildup.
Keith

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 02:28:56 PM »
I think that my excessive moisture problems exists because I did not expel enough whey during the cooking and salting phases.  The curd, throughout, was too moist,  Way too moist.  I do not think that one can press that kind of moisture out.

I aslo do not like the vacuum seal as it seems to draw moisture out through the dry rind. 

I am left with just shrink wrapping. and making sure the moisture content is right before pressing.


Thanks on the  fridge btw.  I like it.  alot.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline zenith1

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 06:46:05 PM »
I believe that your  are correct Wayne. Although my temps versus time appear pretty much right on, I too believe my problem lies in that aspect of the process. On average how long do you air dry the wheels before going to the next step(cheddars for instance)?
Keith

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2009, 06:52:03 PM »
I air dry my wheels for about 3 days,  turning every 6-12 hours
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Offline zenith1

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2009, 09:31:28 PM »
I usually dry mine for 3-5 days just going by the feel of the wheel, and I also turn the wheels at least a couple times a day. So It looks like we are back to a process question as to the excess moisture still present. My most successful wheels have all been with a natural rind development typically after brining. So that limits the types I have been making. I have a waxed wheel of Derby  that is ready now. I guess  I have to bite the bullet(cheese) and see how that one turned out. It's three months old and it is very similar to cheddar so this one will be interesting.
Keith

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2009, 10:06:56 PM »
I've only waxed a few cheeses so I really can't say much except it's a PITA! I prefer to go for a natural rind or bandage - they've never let me down.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2009, 07:28:22 AM »
I like a waxed cheese. It just looks right.

But I agree its kinda a pain.
I have resolved to only wax after aging and right before distribution of the cheese to friends/families.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline zenith1

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2009, 07:55:23 AM »
Wayne I agree with you-certain cheese wheels beg to be waxed. I have seen your pictures of the waxed wheels you have produced and they look great. I have been diligent in the process before waxing to prevent the mold problems. I always rub the wheel down with brine, air dry, and make sure that the wax is scary hot to hopefully kill any lingering critters.I think a big thing about the surface mould is making sure that you have a nice smooth curd knit out of the press so that there is no nooks and cranny's for them to hide in. How to you hold the wheels prior to waxing them. Are they bandaged?
Keith

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2009, 08:35:19 AM »
My bandaged wheels do not get waxed.  Matter of fact.  The only real waxing I do lately is pie shaped wedges of finished cheese.

But I do not keep my wax scary hot.  Several reason why.
1> its so damn dangerous
2> it tends to melt the cheese
3> the wax coating is too thin

Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline FRANCOIS

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Re: Waxing Cheese - Moisture Appearing Behind Wax?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2009, 09:14:20 PM »
It has nothing to do with the fact that it's goat cheese.  Waxing, like vacuum sealing, fixes your mositure content in the cheese.  There is no diffusion and if your recipe creates a cheese with too much free water (i.e. not bound rigidly bound in the casein matrix) you will get siggy spots under your wax.  Cheese has more free moisture the softer the curd set.  I'm not sure if this really helps you though as basically the cheese will now rot under the wax.  If it were me, and my cheese, I would pull the wax off and put a natural rind on it.  If it's a traditional wax cheese, like Gouda, ash the surface and spray with p. cand. 

As far as cracking wax and growth under the wax, there are three things I'd like to point out.  First, the cheese surface must be dry and quite cold to take wax well.  Second, you can cut the wax with mineral oil to get better adhesion and thirdly you can coat the cheese in paramyacin or other inhibitor before waxing.  Most hard cheese are allowed to mature 3-6 weeks before waxing (like Gouda).