Understanding Cheese Wax: What It Is and How It WorksCheese wax is a specialized wax that is primarily used for preserving cheese. The wax acts as a barrier, keeping the cheese fresh by preventing exposure to mold and bacteria while also protecting it from moisture and air. Cheese wax is typically made from a combination of food-grade paraffin wax and other additives such as resins, beeswax, and vegetable oils. This creates a unique formula that can effectively seal the cheese while still allowing it to breathe. The wax itself is melted down to a liquid form and then brushed onto the surface of the cheese. As it dries and solidifies, it creates a layer that covers the cheese, acting as a barrier between the cheese and the environment. This creates a perfect environment for the cheese to mature and develop its unique flavors and textures. Ultimately, cheese wax is crucial for the preservation of cheese and is an essential tool for cheese makers to ensure the longevity and quality of their product.
Different Types of Wax for Cheese PreservationThere are several different types of wax that can be used for cheese preservation, but cheese wax is the most commonly used. Cheese wax is paraffin-based, which makes it more suitable for the preservation of cheese than regular paraffin wax. Another type of wax that can be used for cheese preservation is beeswax. Beeswax is a natural wax that has antibacterial properties, making it a popular choice for many cheese makers. However, it is not as effective as cheese wax at keeping out moisture and air, which can lead to spoilage. A third type of wax that is used less frequently is soy wax. This wax is often used in vegan cheese making and is made from soybean oil that has been fully hydrogenated, resulting in a solid wax. It’s worth noting that this type of wax may not have the same preservative properties as cheese wax and is more likely to crack when applied to the cheese surface.
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How to Apply Cheese Wax ProperlyProper application of cheese wax is important for ensuring that the cheese is properly preserved. Here are some steps to follow for a successful application:
- Before applying wax, make sure the cheese is completely dry and has formed a natural rind.
- Heat the wax to 160°F, then let it cool slightly before applying it to the cheese.
- Brush the wax onto the cheese in thin, even layers, making sure to cover the entire surface of the cheese.
- Allow the wax to dry and harden completely before storing the cheese.