When it comes to waxing hard cheeses, the drying process is an important step before applying the wax. Depending on the type of cheese, this drying period can vary. Generally, hard cheeses that are air dried need to go through this process for 2 to 5 weeks, which is important to give them a harder texture. However, farmhouse cheddar is an exception as it only needs to dry for up to 4 days. Swiss and Parmesan cheese, on the other hand, are preserved in brine solutions and therefore do not require waxing. If you are looking to wax your hard cheese, make sure to purchase cheese wax from a cheese supply store. Here are some other important things to keep in mind:
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your hard cheese is properly dried and waxed, and will stay fresh for a long time.
The Importance of Drying Cheese Before Waxing
Drying cheese is a crucial step before waxing as it ensures that the wax adheres properly to the cheese and prevents any bacterial growth that may develop inside the wax coating. Before waxing, the cheese must be completely dry to prevent any moisture from getting trapped beneath the wax. If moisture is present, it can provide the perfect environment for mold and harmful bacteria to grow, which can spoil the cheese.
Additionally, drying cheese before waxing helps to remove excess moisture from the cheese. This allows the cheese to age better and develop a desired texture and flavor. Proper drying also helps to protect the cheese from rancidity, which can occur when there is too much moisture present in the cheese.
Factors That Affect Cheese Drying Time
The amount of time required to dry cheese before waxing depends on a variety of factors, including the type of cheese, its size, air humidity, and temperature. Hard cheeses typically take longer to dry compared to softer varieties because they contain less moisture. The larger the cheese, the longer it will take to dry.
Humidity and temperature conditions also play an important role in the drying process. High humidity can prolong the drying time, and if the temperature is too low, it can delay the process as well. Cheese should be air-dried in a cool, well-ventilated room with a relative humidity of around 70 percent and a temperature between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal drying.
Cheese Drying Times for Various Types of Hard Cheeses
The length of time required to dry cheese varies based on the type of cheese. Generally, hard cheeses undergo the drying process for two to five weeks, depending on their size and moisture content. However, some hard cheeses like Swiss and Parmesan are preserved in brine solutions and do not require waxing.
Farmhouse cheddar is a hard cheese that requires a shorter drying time. It typically dries for two to four days before being waxed. Other hard cheeses like gouda and fontina may take up to four weeks to dry.
How to Tell When Your Cheese is Ready for Waxing
Before waxing, it’s important to make sure that your cheese has completely dried. You can tell when your cheese is ready for waxing by touching the surface of the cheese. If it feels hard and dry, then it’s ready for waxing. If it still feels slightly tacky or moist, it needs more time to dry.
Another way to check if your cheese is dry enough is to weigh it. The cheese should weigh approximately 20 to 30 percent less than its initial weight after the drying process is complete.
Tips for Properly Waxing Your Hard Cheese
Before waxing your cheese, make sure that it has been properly dried. Heat your cheese wax in a double boiler until it reaches a temperature of around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, use a brush to apply a thin layer of wax to the cheese, making sure to cover the entire surface. Allow the wax to cool and harden before applying another layer.
When applying the wax, it’s important to make sure that there are no air bubbles or gaps between the cheese and the wax. Use a heat gun to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles in the wax. Once the first layer of wax has cooled, apply additional layers until the cheese is fully coated.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Waxing Cheese
One of the most common mistakes when waxing cheese is applying too thick of a layer of wax. This can trap moisture inside the cheese, which can lead to bacterial growth and spoilage. Another mistake is not allowing the wax to cool and harden adequately before applying additional layers. This can cause the layers to melt together, making it difficult to remove the wax when it comes time to eat the cheese.
It’s also important to remember to keep your cheese and waxing equipment clean. Any contamination can potentially spoil your cheese, so be sure to wash your hands before handling the cheese or wax and disinfect any tools or equipment used in the waxing process.
In conclusion, drying cheese before waxing is an important step in preserving and aging your hard cheeses. Understanding the factors that affect cheese drying time, knowing when your cheese is ready for waxing, and properly waxing your cheese can ensure that it remains delicious and safe to eat for months to come.