Author Topic: Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?  (Read 891 times)

Offline Debra

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Mountain House, California
  • Posts: 13
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?
« on: June 10, 2009, 07:11:09 PM »
I'd like to cut my first attempt at cheddar (a 2lb. wheel) and wax in smaller pieces to be able to taste it at different intervals in the aging process.  Can someone tell me if it's better to cut it directly from the press and let it dry in separate pieces or let it dry first, then cut?  Does it matter?  Thanks for your help!


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


Offline DeejayDebi

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Connecticut
  • Posts: 5,804
  • Cheeses: 95
    • Deejays Smoke Pit and DSP Forums
Re: Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2009, 08:47:26 PM »
It will probably age better whole - but it you only have one cheese ...

You could cut a plug out with a carrot peeler maybe? Taste a small bite and stick the plug back in and reseal the wax?

Offline MrsKK

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Wisconsin
  • Posts: 1,875
  • Cheeses: 61
  • Default personal text
Re: Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2009, 07:28:29 AM »
Hello, Debra, and welcome to The Cheese Forum!

Last year, when I was fairly new at cheesemaking, I wanted to taste my cheese (and use it!) at different stages of ageing, as well.  I dried the cheese first, then cut it in half, then one of the halves into quarters.  Then I waxed it.  I opened and ate the first quarter at 4 weeks, the second at 6-8 weeks, then the half at anywhere from 8-12 weeks.  It does give you a good idea on how a cheese matures.

I think that a 2-lb cheese would dry out too much if you cut it before drying it.  I now make all my cheeses in 5-lb wheels (mostly because I have my own cow, who is VERY obliging, giving me 3 1/2 gallons of milk a day).  I have found that the larger wheels dry and age more consistently and there is less loss due to the really thick rind that a smaller cheese can develop.

I use lard to coat my cheese now, too, as I had trouble with wax cracking and developing mold underneath it.  The larded cheese seems to have a creamier texture that I really enjoy.

Whatever you decide, let us know how your cheese turns out.  And, again, welcome!

Offline Debra

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Mountain House, California
  • Posts: 13
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Re: Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2009, 09:51:24 AM »
Thanks so much for the warm welcome and great advice!  I can see what you're saying about it drying out too much as a smaller piece and aging better whole.  I guess I'm just excited to try it-they say "patience is a virtue" but I think someone said "cheese is delicious" too...Maybe that was me.  I'm going to try to post a picture in a bit.  Karen, when you lard it, do you bandage as well?
Thanks again for the advice!

Offline Debra

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Mountain House, California
  • Posts: 13
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Re: Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2009, 11:23:50 AM »
Right out of the press-here it is:


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


Offline Wayne Harris

  • Wine and Cheesemaker
  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio
  • Posts: 1,938
  • Cheeses: 53
  • Wayne Harris
Re: Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2009, 12:42:26 PM »
I would not be afraid to cut it up. 

At this stage of your cheese making career, you are not making competition-ready cheeses.  You are simply vetting your cheese-making processes.

I would not be afraid of cutting the wheel up now,  wax some wedges,  wrap some others,  taste a piece now.
The point is to test different rinds and different drying methods. Discover what works for you. 
You might, take one wedge and let it dry,  but wax the other right now and note any differences.  You could vacuum seal another or let it develop a natural rind. It really is up to you.


The important thing to remember is this:
1> you will make more wheels.
2> You need to treat each batch like a science experiment: Take notes and learn from batch to batch.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Debra

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Mountain House, California
  • Posts: 13
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Re: Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2009, 04:42:19 PM »
Thanks Wayne,
You make some good points too-I think, knowing my own self-control, I will cut it and do as you suggested.  I'll be experimenting with Gouda this weekend-your posts on this one have given me a lot of great information-thanks!

Offline MrsKK

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Wisconsin
  • Posts: 1,875
  • Cheeses: 61
  • Default personal text
Re: Dry, Cut, Wax...Cut, Dry, Wax?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2009, 08:05:24 AM »
Wayne makes some excellent points, Debra.  And I have to say that your cheese looks beautiful!

I have bandaged in addition to lard, but have to say that I don't see the point in bandaging a hard cheese.  I now bandage softer cheeses to help them hold their shape.  I play around with ageing cream cheese, but haven't succeded in producing anything I really like a lot yet.

Yep, go ahead and cut it up now, taste some fresh and use a variety of coating methods, as Wayne suggests.  And do treat it like science.  The few times I haven't taken good notes, I have kicked myself, as there have been things that I would either change or want to replicate, but now can't figure out what they are.