From the Fast Life (15 July)
With Doomsday coming soon, I thought it a good idea to get cracking on my emergency preparedness plans. Naturally, that means acquiring cheese. When the aliens descend and you are forced to hide in your home and are eating out of a 5-gallon bucket of grain, wouldn't some cheddar melted on your gruel provide a little more yumminess to the chaos? I think so, too.
I'm aware that there is such thing as canned cheese, however, we're talking about the ability to store real cheese! Here's how I prepped some REAL cheese to be stored indefinitely. HALLELUJAH!
1) I ordered 5lbs of cheesewax from cheesemaking.com. They were the least expensive, but only have three colors. (This place has 10 colors to distinguish all your cheese varieties.)
2) I scoured the dusty shelves of the local thrift store to make a double boiler out of some cooking components.
3) I bought 5lbs of mild cheddar and 2 lbs of mozzarella. (Cheese becomes sharper in taste as it ages, so always choose the mildest variety available.)
4) I dreamt about the gorgeous day when the process would take place.
Oh- happy day when my slab of wax and natural bristle brushes arrived from New England! (It's like England but without the flats and fish and chips.)
Isn't it beautiful? I couldn't help but hug my red waxy slab.
5) I cut the cheese. (Insert your own sophomoric joke here.) I chose 1/2lb-size blocks.
6) I started to cut a pound of wax of to fit in the double boiler.
The wax was so pretty I underestimated its toughness. (Kinda like me. Ho!)
Tip: Heat the knife with hot water before attempting to slice cheesewax. Also, remember to take the wrapper off. You'd think one wouldn't need to be reminded. I guess I was just really excited.
7- option A)
I had done a lot of research on the best way to wax cheese and found that the traditional way was by brushing which keeps the contact between your hand oils and the cheese at minimum. I began by dipping the brush into the wax and brushing the cheese. It seemed to be going well... for a minute. After a few strokes, the wax begin getting clumpy on my brush and on the cheese.
7- option B)
On the second batch of cheddar, I decided to try the hand-dipping method. That went by quicker, cleaner and funner. For the price of the brushes, I could have gotten 5lbs of cheesewax in another color.
Here are the two batches at the end. I'm not going to tell you how to vote, but which method do you think you'd prefer? (on the left: dipped; on the right: slaughtered by a man in a hockey mask)
The dipping process went by so quickly that I decided to go ahead and wax the mozzarella even though my baby was stirring from her nap. Cheese waxing works best with hard cheeses, of which, mozzarella is NOT, but I stubbornly decided to try it out. I did notice the corners of the mozzarella were still showing through the wax. Maybe the wax level was too low, and I was touching the wax to the bottom of the pan, causing it to melt.
In hindsight, I wish I would have ordered two or three colors of cheesewax because the mozzarella and the cheddar look exactly the same after being covered in red wax. (Update: I found a solution to this and mentioned it at the end of this video.)(What video?)
Oh, so a neighbor suggested I show how to wax cheese via video. It's 12 minutes long because you know, I talk a lot, but hey- I know you can't get enough of me as it is.
So, waxing is fine and great but does it work? What's the verdict on taste?
Seventeen days after sitting on a shelf in my basement, I opened a block of cheddar and...
The cheese is good!
When I peeled the wax off, the cheese seemed slightly greasy, but the consistency was good as was the taste. Dave shredded some for a meal and said it performed well there. The grease may have been from the cheese still being at room temperature. I refrigerated half of the block and there was no grease when I used it later on.
Waxing cheese is a really easy and fun process, and the injuries are minimal. I came out of my first session with only a gash in my left hand. (I touched something hot, jerked my hand away and slammed it on the underside of the upper cabinets.) The overall moral of the story here, folks, is hot things burn and sharp things cut. Oh, but it will be so worth it when our society collapses, and I trade my cheese for guns.