Preserving Cheese by Waxing

how-to-wax-cheese

Waxing cheese is the best way to preserve it (and age it) for long term storage, and as a side benefit cheese wax keeps out any unwanted beasts like mold.

You can also use wax to store the cheese that you buy at the store.

Cheese wax is quite easy to do (but a little messy) and is fairly inexpensive. Once the cheese is waxed, it can then be stored in a cool dark place indefinitely.

Here’s how to do it:

 
The following information is from a reader here (Christine) at Modern Survival Blog who posted this awhile back (along with her pictures). Not sure if she’s still lurking, but I’ve edited and re-posted for your information and comment.

 

You will want to get a metal 1-gallon can to melt your wax in. A coffee can works great, or if you buy the cans that are cardboard, the lid should fit on a #10 veggie can. By using an old can, you can just leave your wax in it and put the lid on to store.

Many places recommend putting your cheese in the fridge first to get it cold. I have found it is actually easier to do it at room temperature.

Items needed:
Cheese wax
Can to melt the cheese in
Larger pot to serve as a double boiler
Cheese brush (cheap nylon brushes will NOT work, the bristles will melt)
Paper and pen
Wax paper

 
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Cheese Wax 1 lb – Red
Cheese Wax Brush
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How To Wax Cheese

 
1. Get a pot that is larger than your can, and put a couple inches of water in it. Then put the can in the water. This acts as a double boiler for melting the wax. Wax can catch on fire so you do not want to put it directly onto the heat.

cheese-wax-beginning-to-melt
Wax beginning to melt

cheese-wax-double-boiler
double boiler

 
2. While your wax is melting, gather your cheese and a paper to write what kind of cheese and the date.

cheese-and-label-ready-to-wax
cheese and label ready to wax

 
3. Put wax paper on your counter where you are working… It gets Messy!!!

 
4. You will want to put two thin coats of wax on using your cheese brush. Two thin coats are better than one thick coat. Make sure you get wax in all the little dents (home made cheese is not perfectly smooth like store bought). Brush it on like you are painting a fence. Work fast because wax cools quickly.

painting-the-wax-on-cheese
Painting on the wax

 
5. Brush the wax on the top, bottom and sides. The order doesn’t matter.

 
6. After you get the first coat on, then lay your small piece of paper with the label on top of the cheese and wax over it.

cheese-waxed-and-ready-for-storage
Waxed and ready for storage

 
7. When you get this done, then place your cheese in a cool place to age. Flip your cheese every few days but be careful that you do not peel the wax off.

As maintenance you will just want to turn it over every week. If it gets some mold under the wax, do not fret. The cheese is fine… just cut off the moldy edges.

When you peel the wax off of a round of cheese it can be re-melted and used again…

 
-Christine
flamingphoenixfamilyfarm.blogspot.com/

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31 Comments

  1. Nice article, but I would not use a PAINT brush, it’s got all those icky chemicals on it even if clean and unused .. !

    1. It is not a paint brush!! It is a specific cheese wax brush. That is why in the article I said Do NOT get a brush with cheap nylon bristles they will melt and then you have all those nasty chemicals. It has to be one with natural bristles.

  2. Love this article. Is it a good idea to store very much cheese if it has to be turned every few days?

  3. @T
    Once a week or so works. Fresh cheese has moisture in it during the aging process, gravity will pull the moisture down to the bottom of it. If you let it set for weeks on end without turning it then it can get a soggy bottom.

    Store bought plastic cheese has already been aged and dried out plus it has cellulose and starch added to it, so I do not think it would matter so much with it.

    I work entirely with fresh made cheese, the store bought stuff has Natamycin added and I am allergic to all Mycins, with that said it is very important for me to turn it during the aging process. I should have clarified and differentiated between store bought and hand made artisan cheese.

    1. It will make the cheese shelf stable in a cool environment for several years. Keep in mind though the longer it ages the sharper it gets. sharp Cheddar is typically aged 2 years before it is considered sharp. So keeping this in mind if you are planning on buying a bunch and then cutting it up and waxing it to get the mild cheeses. If you do by chance get surface mold underneath the wax it is okay just trim it off, It could have had some spores on the surface before you waxed it or a small hole in the wax allowed it to get in. It will not hurt you. This will keep it from drying out or getting other contaminents after it is waxed. Also rotate your stock just the same as everything else.

  4. Can store bought American cheese such as land o lakes white American be waxed and stored?

    1. From what I have read, you can not wax soft cheeses like American. I’m sorry I don’t know the reason. It is recommended that you only wax hard cheeses. I have waxed cheddar, parmesan, romano, and swiss. I didn’t care for the swiss once waxed as it became almost as hard as the parmesan. The taste was fine, just too hard. I have not tried waxing any soft cheeses.

  5. Hello! Great article! I’ve read a lot of articles about how to make a cheese cave and to store and age cheese a lot of them use Tupperware to store your cheese but if I wax the cheese it eliminates process. Correct?

  6. How do you clean the used wax so it is ready to melt again for a new batch of cheese? Also, do you clean the brush or leave the wax on it and melt it in the pot again next time?

    1. I have washed the larger pieces in slightly warm water with a good grease cutting dish detergent like “Dawn”. Then rinse very well and allow to dry before putting with the rest of your unused wax. I don’t bother with the smaller pieces of wax, its just too much trouble.

  7. To prevent surface mold from forming under the wax I brush the cheese with vinegar and let the cheese sit out overnight covered with cheesecloth before waxing. By letting it sit out it also seems to dry the surface a bit making it easier for the wax to stick. I have never had mold form on the cheese when processed this way. Also by processing the cheese at room temperature you don’t get the condensation forming on the cheese that you would get with cold cheese right out of the refrigerator. Hope this helps.

  8. Hello, please can you advise what temperature you need to age your waxed cheese at? And do you need to control the humidity of the cheese when waxed? Many thanks

    1. You don’t need to worry about humidity as the wax seals out everything. I think temperature is more important. We store ours in the basement, which ranges anywhere from 60 to 72, and we have never had any issues with our cheese.

    2. When I make Cheddar (from my goat milk), which is one of the longer-to-ripen semi-firm cheeses, I press the round for at least 12 hours, then I dry the round on a cheese mat for 1-2 days, turning a few times so that it dries consistently. At that point, I coat the cheese with 2-3 layers of melted wax. The waxed round is then ripened at 50-degrees for 3 months at a minimum (for a mild cheddar), and a longer amount of time for a sharper cheese. The longer a round of waxed cheddar is stored, the sharper it will become. Temp and humidity control are very important to help ripen a cheese.

  9. hello I have paraffin wax and triple filtered bees wax will either of these work for cheese?

    1. The way I understand it, is that cheese wax is more pliable, where as paraffin is more rigid and more likely to split or break exposing the cheese. We bought a 10 pound block of wax cheese several years ago, and we just keep re-using it. So its a one time expense, but well worth it.

      1. I waxed cheese and have used it and would like to reuse the wax again, what do I have to do to wash or prepare the wax for reuse. there is oil residue from the cheese on the wax.

        1. @ leshaz6
          As Peanut Gallery said above, I have not reused wax, but would trust PG for the correct answer………

          Peanut Gallery says:

          July 24, 2015 at 10:05 PM

          I have washed the larger pieces in slightly warm water with a good grease cutting dish detergent like “Dawn”. Then rinse very well and allow to dry before putting with the rest of your unused wax. I don’t bother with the smaller pieces of wax, its just too much trouble.

  10. Wow,thanks for all the good information. I wanted to learn about cheese ( on the to do list)?some recipes would be great..?

  11. This is what I do and it is so simple and highly successful. When we open up a block of cheese I put it in a glass Pyrex@ container and microwave it at a low setting until it melts into the mold exhausting all air cavities. Cover it with plastic, or lid and it will not get moldy.

  12. So, how much wax for how much cheese?
    I wish I could find anything anywhere on this question, it seems like it’d be dealt with as one of the main subjects, but is not.
    If I buy like 20 pds of cheese, how much wax will I need?

    1. The answer is complicated. It depends on the type and weight of the wax, the amount of cheese, the number of pieces (10 2 pound blocks is going to take more wax than 1 20 pound block), how many layers is recommended for that particular cheese, etc. My suggestion would be to check with the manufacturers of the wax. They should have recommendations.

  13. How long will the waxed cheese last? 1 yr, 2yr, 5yr we go through a lot of cheese in our house and I was wanting to keep it stored for bad times such as now.

    1. Vic
      Waxed cheese will last forever, but be fore warned it will continue to age in the wax. Discovered this on an old site that is no longer up an running but it is still available for your knowledge. Should say for block cheese from what I remember.

      If you do a search for this subject you should find several good sources.

      1. If you are wanting to store it long term, I would suggest mild cheddar instead of sharp, as the aging process, as stated above, will sharpen the taste naturally.

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