After about 6 days, my farmhouse cheddar had spent enough time at room temperature to develop a nice rind and form a dry exterior. It was time for the last step before aging: Waxing. I seems sorta silly but I was really excited about this part. There’s just something that feels so “real” about adding a coat of wax to the cheese before saying goodbye for three months.
I bought a block of cheese wax from, you guessed it cheesemaking.com, when I bought my first basic cheesemaking kit. I didn’t really think I’d get far enough to use it, but here we are!
The first step is to set up a double boiler. I used a stock pot half full of water and floated an aluminum foil pan on it to melt the wax in. This way, I wouldn’t trash a perfectly good pot, I can’t imagine getting the wax out.
Get this cooking.. the water should basically be at a boil. You want the wax to heat up to 210 degrees. Wax IS flammable, hence the double boiler. So you dont want to get it too hot or it could accidentally ignite. Keep pushing your cube of wax around till it gets all melted down to a thin liquid.
While the wax is melting, inspect your cheese. It should be completely dry at this point. If any mold has developed, wipe it off with a bit of cheese cloth and salt water or white vinegar. Mold is normal with cheese, and you just gotta get over the fact that it’s part of the process. (I had teeny tiny bit of blue mold starting as little dots.)
Once the cheese is cleaned and prepped, dip one side of it in. Make sure it gets in all the little cracks and crevices.. you don’t want any air bubbles. Mold needs air to grow, and we’re waxing it to prevent any mold development for this style of cheese. Apply in thin coats. Two or three thin coats are better than one thick one. Once this side dries, dip the other in.
After the two sides have a good coating, get the sides going by spinning it slowly through the wax. Be careful; as it can be a little slippery. A good alternative to the dipping method is to use a natural bristle pastry brush… I didn’t have one. If you go that route be sure its real fibers, as synthetic or nylon could melt in the hot wax.