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Cheese Rind Vs. Cheese Wax

The outer layer of aged cheese varieties is usually different from the interior of the cheese. 

The exterior of these cheeses is covered with what is known as cheese rind, and the cheese rind usually has different characteristics from the cheese’s interior.

Different types of cheese have different types of rinds. The types of cheese rind could differ in texture and how they are formed. They may also be edible or inedible 

Some varieties of cheese are coated with wax before they are aged. This outer covering is known as cheese wax

So, what’s the difference between cheese rinds and cheese wax? cheese wax is actually a type of cheese rind which is made by coating the exterior of the cheese with wax  

In this post we’ll learn more about cheese wax and how it differs from other types of rinds. 

Inedible vs edible cheese rind

Cheese rinds can be grouped into edible and inedible rinds 

The edible rinds usually contain edible materials including edible bacteria.

Bloomy rinds, washed rinds, natural rinds are all edible cheese rinds 

Some cheesemakers wrap cheese with inedible materials, these rinds protect the cheese from drying out and keep microorganisms out.

Inedible rinds can be made from wax, Other inedible materials that can be used as rinds include cloth and foil 

What is Cheese Wax?

Cheese wax could make up the outer covering of some cheeses.

It belongs to the category of inedible rinds and is used to wrap the cheese while it ages. 

Cheese wax is made from a special type of paraffin. The wax can be brushed on the cheese. The cheese can also be dipped in the wax 

Cheese wax is soft, pliable and can come in different colors.

The wax applied to the cheese keeps mold and light out. It is thick and also prevents the loss of moisture as well 

Rinds made with cheese wax is Durable. The cheese wax preserves the cheese and keeps it cheese fresh

Waxed cheese also appears more aesthetically pleasing. Another thing about cheese wax is that they can be reused  

Gouda cheese is a popular cheese with a that has a rind made of cheese wax 

Cheese wax is not edible, and therefore, the cheese wax has to be taken out before consuming the cheese.

Edible rinds

Cheese rind may form naturally as the cheese ripens  

Cheesemakers may treat the surface of the cheese with different organisms to achieve a characteristic rind 

The nature of the rind used also affects the flavor of the cheese and edible rinds have complex flavor,

Here are some examples of edible cheese rinds.

Bloomy rinds

Bloomy rinds are composed of edible molds on the cheese  

A few examples of organisms within this bloomy rind are Penicillium candidum, camemberti or glaucum

The cheese is treated with these bacteria, and they grow into a white mold on the cheese outer layer that becomes the rind 

These rinds are soft with an earthy and buttery flavor  

Humid environment also favors the formation of these rinds 

Camembert and brie cheese are examples of cheese with bloomy rind 

Washed rinds

For washed rind to form, the cheese is washed with brine or alcohol as it ages  

The brine or alcohol is used on the surface of the cheese creates an environment that flavors Brevibacterium linens (orange red bacteria) to grow 

Washed rinds are salty and also pungent. These cheeses have a reddish or orange coloration  

Natural rinds

Cheese rind can also form naturally under the right environmental conditions such as temperature and humidity.

Cheesemakers barely apply anything to the surface of some cheese for a natural rind to form 

Salt in the interior of the cheese draws the moisture as the cheese ages. The rinds form on the outer surface of the cheese as moisture leaves the exterior of the cheese  

Natural rinds are often thin and crusty. The natural environment where the cheese ages also determine the properties of the rind that is produced.