Using Wax to Age Cheese!

One of my favorite are materials to work with is wax. I enjoy the smell of it, the translucent quality it creates when it soaks into paper or fabric. About 10 years ago I visited the batik studios in the Caribbean islands and could hardly wait to get back and try it on my own. Later I did a few works with encaustic. It is just a beautiful and rich material. I am currently putting my love of wax to use outside of the art studio by preserving cheese to age. Aged cheese has a delicious bite to it. It is a little more dense and brittle. It also develops crystals that just melt into savory explosions of flavor in each nibble. In my area, a good aged cheese is hard to come by. So, I am aging it myself! You do not have to be a cheese maker to age cheese. You just need, you guessed it… wax!

Here are a few notes I have on the process.
Use cheese wax. It is very important, as it is elastic/pliable (compared to paraffin wax, for example, that is brittle).
Use your favorite block of firm cheese right from the grocery store. For example, an extra-sharp cheddar or gouda.
Leave cheese out overnight on a slatted wooden board (not a substitute, a slatted wooden board). It needs to be out for 24 hours. It will dry and shrivel a little. That is okay.
Melt wax in a double boiler.
Freeze cheese for 15 minutes.
Quickly dip cheese chunks in white vinegar (do not soak them and do not use another vinegar).
Allow them to dry.
Completely coat the cheese in cheese wax by dipping one half, allowing it to dry, then dipping the other half (overlapping the two).
Completely coat again.
Check for any tiny holes, there should be no thin wax or holes. A nice, thick, even coating of cheese wax!
Store in a dry, cool environment (70 degrees or below) on the wooden slatted board. Do not stack them or put them in a bag or put them in a tote. Cheeses need breath. Air needs to be able to circulate around the cheeses.

Make plenty of cheese blocks so that you can test them every 3 months. You will be eager to get into the cheese. If there is any sign of spoilage (mold, liquid, gasses), do not eat. It should look very much like the cheese you put in there, just more dry and more firm.  If you age cheeses and have any tips or tricks, let me know in the comments below!

Disclosure: My website uses occasional affiliate links which may be eligible to profit me.  This means, if you click on my cheese wax link, Amazon might give me a tiny amount of money.  BUT moreover, this cheese wax was really well rated when I was researching cheese waxes.  

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