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I hope to preserve the cheese I make in wax alla Gouda but the books keep talking about cheese wax. Is this a special kind of wax and if so what is the difference between it and regular wax?

Also is it a rule that you have to brine your cheese if you wish to wax it?

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    Cheese wax is more bendy than candle wax. It has other stuff in it to keep it pliable.... or that's what this website tells me: cheesemaking.com/redcheesewax.html if you click the tab that says about waxing it will tell you how the process works, including what I think you mean by brineing. – Catija Feb 22 '15 at 9:58
  • @Catija this sounds like an answer. Don't be afraid to post short/partial answers as real answers instead of comments. Comments are considered ephemeral, they could be gone tomorrow, and besides, they are not considered in a search. – rumtscho Feb 23 '15 at 13:00
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Candle wax and cheese wax are quite different.

Candle wax is very stiff. If it were flexible, you'd get bendy candles.

Cheese wax has additional ingredients to keep it pliable and prevent it from becoming brittle:

This wax is pliable and will not become brittle as will pure paraffin wax.

It also has food-grade dyes. Remember that candle wax is generally not designed to touch food.

As to brining.

The instructions on the About Waxing tab mentions that it's important to clean cheese before waxing to prevent mold growth:

Before the cheese can be waxed, the mold needs to be removed. This can be done with a brine wash or vinegar wash. Both high acid and high salt will discourage mold from growing. I prefer the brine wash with ~ 1 tsp salt to a cup of cool water. As you can see in the photos, the mold wipes away easily. Photo at left shows the clean cheese ready for waxing. The cheese will dry and be ready for waxing in an hour or two.

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    There is some strange language issue going on here. I was going to downvote this for mixing up paraffin and wax when I searched more and realized that this is a common usage in English. For anybody who would never connect "paraffin" and "wax", a clarification before you decide on voting: beeswax is much softer than paraffin, therefore wax candles (as opposed to paraffin candles) are softer than cheesewax, and they are indeed bendy. This question and answer are talking about paraffin candles, not wax candles, this is why the answer says that candles are stiffer. – rumtscho Feb 23 '15 at 18:38
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    @rumtscho In the US at least, Beeswax candles are much less common than paraffin candles. You can find them at specialty candle shops and at markets (people who raise beehives often sell beeswax candles in addition to the honey). As far as I'm aware, we generally specify beeswax as a modifier, as if the general definition of candle is for non-beeswax candles. – Catija Feb 23 '15 at 18:43
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    They are rare everywhere I know of, and simply "candle" is understood to mean "paraffin candle". But when one says "candle wax" they mean the wax in a candle made out of wax. Paraffin is not considered a wax, so the listener infers that it must be beeswax, the most common wax in candle making. – rumtscho Feb 23 '15 at 18:47
  • @rumtscho Oh, I understand now. I've never realized that paraffin isn't wax. We've always called it wax! – Catija Feb 23 '15 at 18:49
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    It seems that in English, the usage is so accepted that it's not even strictly incorrect to call it this way. Wikipedia has a page section on "petroleum derived waxes". But the site is international, so I was clarifying for people like me who didn't know of this usage and would think of downvoting because of it. To me, "paraffin wax" sounds as much of an oxymoron as "acrylic wool" or "soy chicken". – rumtscho Feb 23 '15 at 19:03

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