Question: Why is it that we wax cheese for aging and have to have air circulation for said waxed cheese while aging? Does air go through the three or four layers of wax that is applied to the cheese? I know that wax meant for cheese is said to be better than common parafin wax, but I still do not see how air movement can have any impact on the aging cheese once the cheese is waxed. Thank you.
I dabbled with cheese making for a while.
Here are my conclusions.
Air temperature & humidity are the factors cheese needs to age.
Air circulation is not that important if the temp is correct and the humidity is not to low.
I started out waxing my wheels but after some investigation I switched to simply vacuum packing instead.
It is slower, but cheese ages just fine in a vacuum. The nicest thing about using a vacuum packer is the ability to open your cheese up... taste it for sharpness and either package it back up to age longer or bring it in the house to eat!
Not as quick and easy to test your aging if it is covered by wax.
Aging cheese in wax and storing in a cave is a tried and true method from the Middle ages...
They did not have a vacuum packer or I assure you that they would have used it instead!
Edit) If you use wax I suggest getting fresh Bees wax.
Thomas, so humidity can get through wax and the heavy plastic used in vacuum packing? I will try the vacuum packaging on wheels that have rinded up for a few weeks. I am new at cheesemaking and I make a very simple cheese using just raw milk, ripened with yogurt, cultured with rennet, sometimes with a mesophilic supplement, and salt. I am in northern Maine and my cheese is aged in the cellar which tends to stay at 37-42 deg.f. in the winter and 55-65 deg.f. in the summer, with very high humidity down there in the summer. Sometimes I see condensed water all over the ductwork. (I just bought a dehumidifier in preparation for next summer.)
I 'm guessing here, but I think that when using vacuum packing the humidity is not not effecting very much.
With wax, in a very dry environment, I suspect that your cheese would loose its oils and dry out.