Author Topic: Wax - Alternatives?  (Read 4427 times)

Offline Matt

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Wax - Alternatives?
« on: September 01, 2009, 07:02:20 AM »
Hey Guys,
I'm in the UK and just about to make my first cheese. I was wondering is there a cheaper alternative to using wax to mature cheddar with. Wax is about £11 ($17) for 1.5kg (3.3lbs) and don't want to spend big amounts at first when its only going to be a hobby.


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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2009, 07:11:04 AM »
Some cheeses can be brined for a natural rind.  I don't like spending the money for wax, either, especially as I have trouble with it cracking and mold developing underneath, so I coat my cheeses in lard.  You could also use vegetable shortening.

What kind of cheese are you going to make?  And Welcome!

Offline Matt

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2009, 07:39:21 AM »
Thanks Karen,
l'm going to have a go at making Cheddar.

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 08:26:11 AM »
As your first cheese?  You are brave!  Let us know how it turns out.  Unfortunately, it will be a couple/few months until it has full flavor.  Some of the cheddars I have made have resulted in some good fresh eating curds, too.  I always snag a few off the top of the mold before pressing.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2009, 08:44:13 AM »
Am experimenting with a very salty olive oil rub for my hard cheeses.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2009, 09:10:56 AM »
If I am not doing a natural rind, I vaccum bag. Have been very pleased with the results. Keeps the moisture constant. I sometimes will draw just a partial vaccum, leaving a little air space in the bag. This does NOT work on Blue or mold rippend cheeses. Vaccum bagging cuts off the oxygen that the molds need to survive.

When I give my vaccum bagged cheeses as gifts, I simply take them out of the bag, let them dry, and wax them so they look more professional.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
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Offline Alex

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2009, 09:29:03 AM »
Hey Guys,
I'm in the UK and just about to make my first cheese. I was wondering is there a cheaper alternative to using wax to mature cheddar with. Wax is about £11 ($17) for 1.5kg (3.3lbs) and don't want to spend big amounts at first when its only going to be a hobby.

Wellcome Matt,

First, you can reuse/recycle wax. If you prefere to avoid investing in wax, you can spread olive oil over the cheese and then wrap it with shrink foil.

Starting with Cheddar? You are very brave man.
Alex-The Cheesepenter

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2009, 07:48:15 PM »
I have said this in other threads, but I have decided to wax my wheels only just prior to distributing the cheese to someone.
 
I doubt I will use it as a rind for cheeses I wish to age for any period of time.

I've done this in the past, and I never fail to get some subsurface mould under the wax. Additionally, I view the re-use of wax, even filtered, as somewhat unsanitary.

So I will salt, oil, dry, or vacuum seal all my cheeses during aging.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Ziggy

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2009, 08:16:52 PM »
I would have looked down on vacuum packaging until I recently took a course with a cheesemaker who has won several awards  and has a great reputation. She is vacuum pack aging almost all her hard cheeses (except the washed rind).

I should know my results in 3-4 months...at least I am guessing I wont have any drying out problems that way.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2009, 08:19:17 PM »
Solid information siegfriedw.
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2009, 10:17:06 PM »
I will vaccuum seal after the first month or two after a good rind development but only to the point that the air is removed enough to form to the cheese somewhat but not to the point of sucking air from the cheese. I think cheese needs some air to breathe.

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2009, 12:09:37 AM »
This begs the question. Does cheese breathe thru wax to provide oxygen to the cheese? Or more importantly, can gases escape thru the wax. Propionic bacteria (used in Swiss) for example release CO2. However, all bacteria release at least small amounts of gaseous waste products from the breakdown of sugars and organic compounds.

There is no smell to a properly applied waxed cheese so I believe that the wax (or vaccum bagging) makes an air tight barrier that does not breathe. A lard impregnated bandage is probably no different. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It will definitely inhibit unwanted mold growth. Does it choke off the desireable bacteria? No. The bacteria quickly run out of food in a closed environment anyway. That's why coliforms or bad bacteria can't get a foothold. The good bacteria quickly eat everything up and there's nothing left for bad bacteria to survive on. They are unable to multiply.

After just a few weeks, there is absolutely nothing left for bacteria to feed on. They don't die right away, but they do quit multiplying. That's why state laws require raw milk cheese to be aged for at least 60 days. During the aging process proteolysis takes over with the hydrolytic breakdown of proteins into simpler, soluble substances such as peptides and amino acids, as occurs during digestion. The bacteria themself breakdown and become part of the flavor of our cheeses.
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
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Offline Matt

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2009, 01:58:04 AM »
Thanks for all the advice guys.  :) I plan to mature the cheddar for three months. So could l do this without wax and let a natural rind form, only sealing with wax/vacuum sealing when it's matured and ready for eating?

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2009, 07:53:02 PM »
Personal opinon only ... I think my cheeses hard cheese mind you, have a stronger flavor when left to breathe. Now this may not be the case with soft mild cheeses and it doesn't seem to hold true for the pasta fileta cheeses like provelone unless it's dry aged but I have found this to be true with hard strong flavored Italian cheeses like parmesan, romano, asiago,

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Wax - Alternatives?
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2009, 10:14:52 PM »
DJ. I tend to agree with your opinion about Italian cheeses needing to breathe. I assume that you are using Lipase in your Italian recipes. Your observation probably has more to do with the long-term action of the Lipase (an enzyme) than any lingering bacterial action.

OTOH - I was in a local store tonight drooling over a massive Italian Asiago - waxed. The question is, did they wax it after aging just for show?

Do you wax any of your cheeses?
A moldy Stilton is a thing of beauty. Yes, you eat the rind. - Ed
www.boonecreekcreamery.com