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Beeswax for Coating Cheese

Written By Culinary Pen on Monday, October 11, 2010 | 4:54:00 PM

The Italian cheese maker Perenzin makes a stellar cheese aged in honeycomb wax. It's a dry and savory cheese like Montasio, but the wax adds a slight floral sweetness. Lately I've been having trouble with keeping a high humidity in my cheese fridge, so I wondered if coating them in beeswax would help me produce sliceable, creamy cheese, but avoid the blandness of regular waxed cheese. I tried this once (by pressing honey out of local honeycomb and saving the wax - way, way too much work), and the cheese came out perfect. Smooth, buttery, and just gentle honey flavors playing off the modest grassiness of raw milk.

So now I'm going in with both guns. I purchases two pounds of beeswax from an apiary in Seattle. They had a great price for cosmetic-grade bees wax. Some places just sell craft wax for candles and shining wood, but this is for people who make their own lip balms and salves. The wax itself smells like honey, but it feels cool and smooth. I made two basic cheeses this weekend to to test out the waxing. I'm still trying to perfect my cloth-bound cheddar and natural rinds, but this should help me when I need a mild melting cheese. With the winter holidays coming up, I worry I won't be able to make cheese until late January, so I would like to keep a few in reserve for cold mornings when I'm in need of a reviving slice of drippy cheese toast.

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