Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cheese Waxing

I have been able to get local low temperature pasteurized, non-homogenized whole milk and decided to try my hand at making cheese. I ordered a simple cheese making kit and on Monday, I made Farmhouse Cheddar. It is supposed to be really easy and although all I had to go on was written materials, I think I did okay with the exception of reading the directions too many times, thus, numerous mistakes and oversights. The cheese curds seemed very forgiving and I really don't know what I was doing, but I was not too sure about when the curds were ready to be pressed. Well, I pressed on anyway and then let the cheese dry for 5 days. Today was waxing day. I went to Goodwill and bought a pot since the wax will forever be melded to it.

I thought I was going to find the waxing very taxing and I was not looking forward to dipping the cheese. Well, I had fun and the following pictures and the results of waxing my cheese adventure, which is the round wheel. I figured while I was going to melt a whole pot of wax, I might as well make use of the wax and my time and I drug out two- 2 lb. bricks of Tillamook cheese, and a small mozzarella and a sharp cheddar. I cut the Tillamook into 1 lb. blocks so it would easily fit into the pot to be dipped. For those of you that don't know, Tillamook cheese is a famous and popular brand native to the west coast and is made in Tillamook, OR. Most of their cheeses are medium cheddar, but they also make mild and sharp cheddars, as well as a vintage white cheddar (excellent) and some other specialty cheeses. Tillamook cheese is VERY good and our go-to cheddar.

This pic shows the cheese after dipping with the second coat of cheese. The round one is my Farmhouse cheddar.

Here you can see our specialty pot courtesy of Goodwill. It will forever be our waxing pot.

Here are our finished products with labels attached with a thin coat of wax. I will age my cheddar for at least 2 months. The other cheeses I will see how they fare sitting around at room temperature. They are supposed to continue aging, and as long as there are no holes in the wax, should be just fine to eat.
If you have any cheese making adventures that you would like to share, please let me know!


  1. Oh, that looks so darn good. I want to know about the milk. I miss fresh milk..I mean fresh cream on the top sipping good from the tit milk...

    I'm waiting. Would make a great blog post.

    1. I'm wishing I had more cheese on hand to wax, since I already had everything up and ready. Love cheese!

      Love the milk, too. It is from
      You can't beat the flavor and richness, and it keeps for a long time.

  2. Rose,

    It's nice to see you back posting. Wow, I love this idea. Please let us know how the cheese looks and tastes after several months. This would be a great idea to store for part of our preps or food storage.

    I was wondering most cheese has been refrigerated before wax dipping, will this be a problem?

  3. Hi Sandy,

    The Tillamook was refrigerated and I waxed it while it was still cold. It is now room temp. and I am going to store it at room temp. I have read that cool to room temp is okay. I am going to keep an eye on it, and I will surely update on our cheese as time progresses.

  4. After I make a hard cheese, I dry the wheel on a wooden rack in a dark and dry spot in the house for 2-3 days. Then I hard-rub the entire surface w/ a brine, re-dry for several hours, then begin waxing. I do thin coats, by painting with a natural bristle brush (I don't dip due to dangers and thick waxing issues).

    The hard cheeses I am making require about 55-degree temps and 85% humidity. They're 'cured' for a month or more.

    I have a feeling that your commercial cheddars will sweat under the wax because of the temperature drop prior to waxing. I think the captured water under the wax will probably lead to mold.

    Anyway, good luck w/ your cheeses. Great fun, isn't it?

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts. I do not have a 55 temp fridge, nor the proper size container for the cheese (60/40 I read somewhere), but also read that it can be done in a regular fridge.

      Great point about the temp. drop with commercial cheese. Maybe next time, I should let it sit at room temp for a couple of hours first. I looked earlier today and don't see any sweating on the commercial cheese, but notice some sweat on my one in the fridge curing. Your thoughts on what I did wrong and what I can do now to rectify the situation?

  5. Rose, my husband scrounged a very beat up small refrigerator and that's our 'cheese fridge'. lol Luckily, the stat enables me to dial the overall temp up into the 55 degree range. Since fridges pull humidity out for the dry cool temps, I add small containers of water to bump up the humidity. I can get it into the 70-70% humidity range that way.

    Since you're using cheese wax, it will be a bit porous to enable curing to continue. I'm amazed the cheddar hasn't beaded up so that's a good thing. But it will get very sharp in time, so remember that. If you're like us, you may love the super-sharpness.

    I'm thinking the homemade cheese in your fridge is still weeping whey. Perhaps you didn't get the curds "dry" enough beforehand.

    Wet curd is very soft, pliable, and wet. Ha! When you slooowly cook the curd (in the whey) over very low heat, the whey will continue to get pulled out of the curd. The process takes an hour or two, stirring every 10 minutes or so. The curd begins to resemble cottage cheese and in time, the clumpy curd will become harder -- try squeezing the curd from the beginning and you can't help but see the difference before you. For hard cheeses, you want the curd to be dry -- that simply means the whey has been removed as best as possible. Then it's time to compress the dry curds into the wheel or block. For a basic farmhouse hard cheese, it is about 12 hours or so. Start with a 5 pound press or so, then increase the pressure to about 10 pounds and finally, end it with a long press of 25 pounds for about 8-12 hours. If you don't use a cheese press, that's okay -- substitute with heavy items.

    Between the cooked dry curds and the long pressing, most of the whey is removed. It's all a learning process and if this one didn't turn out, make a change or two and do it again. The great thing about making cheeses is that the mistakes are edible. :-)

    1. Thanks for your insight and advice. I am looking forward to tasting our adventure in a couple of months. I do think I did not do the curds "right" but am hopeful the cheese will be somewhat forgiving.


Your thoughts are welcome!