Sorry I’ve been a little sparse with my posting. My computer burnt itself out (sounded a lot like a jet engine falling from the sky) and work has been way too busy to even attempt taking 10 minutes to post.
But never mind all of that. The cheddars have been waxed! I left the cheeses for a few weeks to get a rind on the outside before I waxed them. I aged the smaller of the three in the fridge and getting a rind to develop took ages and they cracked quite a bit. After reading my new cheese book, I switched to their method of drying at room temperature for a few days on the larger cheese. It seemed to do the trick, as a thinner rind developed much faster.
The cheese wax is a proprietary blend of waxes that are food safe, don’t crack, and allow the cheese to breathe enough to age properly. You wouldn’t want to melt a bunch of crayons and candles for cheese waxing, although there are some articles online suggesting this as a cheaper alternative (it is also a great way to introduce botulism to your diet). Instead of using a microwave, which would super-heat the wax and could cause it to explode, I used a double boiler system. Thank you dollar store for the little stainless bowls.
Using a natural hair brush, I built up two layers of wax over the surface of each cheese. You can dip the cheese for a thicker, smoother coating, but this uses quite a bit more wax, and at $5.50/lb, I’d like to keep things a little more economical.
To help differentiate the cheeses, their contents, and the dates they were produced, I added little labels between the layers of wax. The code below the date, 2H1R · CC, means 2 gallons of Homo, 1 gallon of Regular (2%) milk with Calcium Chloride added. The calcium chloride restores some of the properties the milk lost during pasteurization and helps create firmer curds.
With the cheeses waxed, they were put back in the fridge to age. The longer they age, the sharper they get. One of the small ones will be consumed on Victoria Day, while the others will be kept until the fall to see how sharp we can actually get them to go. I must say that it is extremely tempting just to eat it all right now, but thanks to a generous donation of Irish Blue, I’ll be able to keep my hands off a while longer.