If you’re making hard cheeses like Cheddar or Gouda, chances are you either already waxing them, or have been looking into how to do so.
Cheese wax is a pliable, paraffin based wax that is usually coloured red, yellow or black. You can also get green and blue wax.
On a side note, ever wondered why there are different colours?
In the commercial cheese world each colour of wax signifies something about the cheese, whether it be maturity, type, added ingredients like herbs, or fat content.
Anyway, back on topic.
For some, when venturing into using cheese wax, there may be concerns about using paraffin based wax because of chemicals in the wax and how sustainable this type of wax is and you might be tempted to look at another option.
Beeswax is usually that option.
As we all know, beeswax is made naturally by bees. It is used for all sorts of applications and appreciated for it’s natural make up and sustainability.
Can You Use Beeswax For Cheese Wax?
Yes you can.
In fact it has been used for centuries to wax cheeses, although ‘modern’ waxes have become more popular these days.
Beeswax Vs Paraffin – Cheese Wax Ingredients
Beeswax, like most waxes, can become brittle when set and stored in cold conditions and may crack and pull away from the cheese. Paraffin based waxes have an extra ingredient added to avoid this issue. Some cheese makers and beeswax fans have suggested adding vegetable shortening, coconut oil or a small amount of mineral oil to the beeswax to assist with the pliability. Others believe it doesn’t need it and prefer to keep the beeswax pure and untainted by other ingredients.
Beeswax, like normal cheese wax, also needs to be applied with care.
Your cheese should be dry, and cold before you attempt to apply the wax.
And your wax should be hot, but not boiling. Beeswax melts at around 65º Celsius/150º Fahrenheit.
Like the paraffin based waxes you can dip your cheese into the wax half at a time, and then carefully rotate it to coat all of the surfaces, or you can paint your wax on. Just be sure to follow the precautions mentioned in our Waxing Your Cheese post. These still apply with beeswax obviously.
Beeswax isn’t necessarily cheaper than paraffin based cheese wax but the cost is usually weighed up against the positives of using a natural, renewable and sweet smelling product.
Also, you don’t use a large amount of wax to wax your cheeses and beeswax can be reused as long as you reheat it and strain it to remove any debris that may mold over time so you won’t need to buy kilos and kilos of the stuff.
If you’re lucky enough to access to a bee keeper or your own hives then it’s well worth giving it a try to see if you like the results.
Do you have any questions or comments about BeesWax for Cheese Wax? Join the discussion over at the Curd Nerd Forum. We would love to hear from you!