It’s been sitting on my shelf in all of it’s obnoxious bloody redness for years. I couldn’t do it. When it came down to what I encased and preserved a product that I had invested so much time and effort into, I knew too much about the adverse health effects of food dyes to intentionally coat my home raised and homemade cheese in such an unnatural product as cheese wax. I knew there had to be a more natural way and obviously learning how to naturally wax cheese with beeswax was the first thing that came to my mind.
Seriously, at first glance it might seem like it only took a few hours, maybe days when you factor in the rind forming to make homemade cheese, but it goes back so much further when you really think of it.
I mean in order to get that round of cheese in front of you, first you had to try to figure out when on earth your dear dairy gal is even in heat. And if your gal (or all 3 of your gals *ahem*) like to have quiet cycles in the absence of a bull, believe you me, that is no easy job! Then of course, there are the anxious days leading up to calving, wondering if it will go well, if you forgot the one supply you’ll need in the event that something goes wrong, will your husband be 3 hours away from home when it finally happens. Even more anxiety filled are the postpartum days when milk fever could strike. We fret over the fullness of their rumens, if they’re chewing cud, is the feed mill lying and charging us for non-GMO feed when in reality the pelletized soy comes from an “unknown source”. (*cough* Maysville *cough*) Not to mention the early mornings as we freeze relieving the pressure in their udder by harvesting the milk. Or the hectic dinnertimes as we do the farm chores while scrambling to put something nutritious on the table at the same time.
All the way down to making the actual cheese which needs more babysitting than a 2 year old for the few hours while it’s being created.
I don’t say this all to discourage you. That first slice of cheese is worth every ounce of anxiety and work, it will taste so amazingly delicious, not to mention you can set your mind at ease that you’re not making it with GMO rennet. No, no, no. I am simply making the case that I couldn’t bring myself to coat my cheese with something that seemed so abnormal in it’s gaudy bright redness as cheese wax. Even if I was certain that the food dyes wouldn’t permeate the rind, I like pretty and beeswax cheese wax is so much more beautiful in it’s rustic simplicity. When you brush it on, it reminds me of old drippy candles. Bonus points because it smells so good. So good.
It’s quite easy to make cheese wax with beeswax too.
1.) Set up a double boiler on the stove by placing a large glass bowl over a saucepan filled halfway with hot water.
3.) Add a large dollop of tallow (it’s about 2 tablespoons worth).
4.) Boil the water in the pan and melt the beeswax and tallow together until they are liquified.
5.) Thoroughly brush the liquid wax over all the edges of the cheese paying particular attention to any nooks and crannies.
Make sure you keep the bowl of melted wax warm while you’re waxing the cheese. It hardens up quickly. And make sure that you wax your cheese over newspaper or cardboard so that it’s easier to clean up the drips. And especially make sure that you don’t burn yourself if the wax is hot. Mine must not have been too hot because the kids were dipping their fingers in the wax, letting it harden a second, and then peeling it off.
Using this amount of wax & tallow was enough for me to brush about 2- 1 pound rounds of farmhouse cheddar.
See it’s too simple not to go au natural with your cheese wax!