Does waxed cheese breathe through the wax?

Discussion in 'Cheese' started by spuds, May 4, 2012.

  1. Common sense tells me no. I know you can add wax over the lid of canned products and that lid sure wont breathe.Sooo....just what is the story,does it breathe? Im reading the cheese itself has 02 inside it for a while anyhow so that the cheese will finish aging some.What these guys seem to do is age the cheese to maturity,THEN wax or vacuum pack after its done its aging exposed to air (various wraps,oils,etc).

    Then I saw this here....Reply #12

    This begs the question. Does cheese breathe thru wax to provide oxygen to the cheese? Or more importantly, can gases escape thru the wax. Propionic bacteria (used in Swiss) for example release CO2. However, all bacteria release at least small amounts of gaseous waste products from the breakdown of sugars and organic compounds.

    There is no smell to a properly applied waxed cheese so I believe that the wax (or vaccum bagging) makes an air tight barrier that does not breathe.

    A lard impregnated bandage is probably no different. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It will definitely inhibit unwanted mold growth. Does it choke off the desireable bacteria? No. The bacteria quickly run out of food in a closed environment anyway. That's why coliforms or bad bacteria can't get a foothold. The good bacteria quickly eat everything up and there's nothing left for bad bacteria to survive on. They are unable to multiply.

    After just a few weeks, there is absolutely nothing left for bacteria to feed on. They don't die right away, but they do quit multiplying. That's why state laws require raw milk cheese to be aged for at least 60 days. During the aging process proteolysis takes over with the hydrolytic breakdown of proteins into simpler, soluble substances such as peptides and amino acids, as occurs during digestion. The bacteria themself breakdown and become part of the flavor of our cheeses.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  2. Yes / no... I have a cheese making book .. I will dig it out later on and let you know what it says .. its like a parafin sp? wax that is used .. way back when I made a wheel of cheddar the instructions were to wax it after a certain amount of time .. Let me dig the book out for you tho .

    Maybe I can scan it for ya .. 
  3. Cheese Wax  from "Home cheese making" By Rikki Carrol

    This pliable wax creates a protective coating to inhibit bacteria and prevent cheese from drying out during the aging process. Cheese wax comes in three colors : Natural yellow , Red , and Black . It may be purchased from a cheese supply house . Proper cheese wax , which is reusable , is stronger and more pliable than brittle paraffin .
  4. Same book in the glossary :

    Cheese Wax : a pliable wax with a low melting point that produces an airtight seal that will not crack . Most hard cheeses are waxed.
  5. This is a little more on the subject Spuds my friend .. if you go to the bottom of the page there is a full description of the whole waxing process

    I love her site .. Very knowledgeable woman ..
  6. Yes Rita,ran into that site.

    Mrs thinks they would make good inexpensive gifts and purty when waxed.

    Need to look into beeswax and saw something about using parrafin mixed with crayola crayons since crayons are safe to eat.....interesting ideas all.Need a pliable wrap though,anybody know how pliable beeswax is?

    I think the kids would love some yummy cheese just vacuum packed. Think the guys at the rifle range would like that too.
  7. I went ahead and ordered 10 lbs red wax from New England cheese,54 bucks UPS delivered,thats about the best price Ive seen too.
  8. What do you mean spuds ? I know the cheese wax is pliable .. but if Mrs Spuds wants it pretty then well ya better do what the Mrs says [​IMG] .. beeswax is pretty good but .. its a little sticky also [​IMG]

    But.. if you do wax your cheese make sure to still care for it .. turn it every week .. no matter how long you keep it so the moisture still distributes throughout the cheese and doesn't settle at one side.
  9. Went ahead and got 10 lbs red wax. So pretty stuff can be made,think rest vacuum pack for store cheeses should be fine for function over beauty packs,ie us guys and the kids when they are beggin'.LOL! I see THAT coming,this is good stuff!
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  10. pops6927

    pops6927 Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My dad used to buy 30 lb wheels, several a week from the local cheese maker (who was forced out of business by the State as they banned raw milk cheese production and he would not pasteurize his cheese) for the store.  Every January he would put a couple 30 lb. wheels of already-Extra-Sharp cheese on the top shelf in the back room and would carefully flip it every week and age it until hunting season in November, when he'd cut off the all-moldy wax and cheesecloth, clean it off, then very carefully cut it; first into 2 half-wheels, then split both halves lengthwise, then into wedges.  It was very very shrunken and dry.  You'd put a small piece in your mouth and it was so sharp it'd take your breath away!  But, not stinky, just very sharp.

    He would put pieces in stockinette and put in and take out of the smokehouse, 10 min at a time then into the cooler to harden back up, then back into the smokehouse, etc. so it would get smoked but not enough to melt through the stockinette.  Then he'd take it upstairs and add cream and other ingredients to turn it into a smoky sharp sharp sharp cheese spread you could spread on crackers.  Add some Croghan ring bologna, maybe some onion left over from Limburger sandwiches and many bottles of Black Label lager and a lot of hands of exceedingly drunken pitch play ( high, low, Jack, game), and you were... at camp!
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  11. LOL Love that story Pops !! I don't think I could afford a wheel these days [​IMG] but it would be a fun project!

    Spuds .. I HIDE it [​IMG]   I didn't make enough to share other than when company comes over ... I will make more tho .. delish!!
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Evening,....  I saw a program where in Minn. I think, unpasteurised cheese is illegal to sell...  A woman there sold her "au natural" unpasteurised cheese as fish bait..... Folks came from miles to buy her fish bait.... Stupid politicians.....   She sent her cultures, weekly, to a lab for analysis....  Gov't didn't care.....   
  13. Actually you can buy fresh milk for cheese here .. its in the dairy protection act here in Mass .. which I LOVE because when I feel like it I CAN make cheese !!
  14. [​IMG],great stories!

    Yeah Pops,some folks sure can make art foods.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012

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