What is Cheese Wire

Cheese wire refers to a specialized wire used to cut cheese. It typically consists of a thin, stainless steel wire attached to handles at both ends. The wire's thinness and strength allow it to slice cleanly through blocks of cheese without crumbling or cracking them.

What is Cheese Wire

Cheese wire is an indispensable tool used by cheesemongers, delicatessens, and cheese shops to cut large wheels or blocks of cheese into smaller portions or slices. It creates clean, smooth cuts in a wide variety of hard and soft cheeses.

How Cheese Wire Works

A cheese wire consists of two key components - the wire itself and the handles:

  • The Wire - Typically made from stainless steel, the wire must be very thin yet very strong to slice through cheese without bending or breaking. Food-grade stainless steel piano wire is often used around 0.5-0.6mm thick.
  • The Handles - Located at both ends of the wire, the handles allow for gripping and pulling the wire through the cheese. Handles may be wood, plastic or metal. They protect hands from being cut by the wire.

To use a cheese wire:

  1. Place the wire on top of the cheese near one edge.
  2. While holding both handles, pull the wire down and through the cheese in one long slicing motion.
  3. When the wire reaches the bottom, lift it up and repeat on the next section. Continue until the desired number and size of slices are created.

The thinness and smoothness of the wire enable it to slice cleanly through cheese without sticking, tearing or creating ragged edges. Pulling the wire through using the handles enables far more control and stability than using an unsecured wire alone.

The cheese wire produces perfectly portioned slices or wedges much faster and cleaner than traditional knives. It also minimizes waste. This makes it an indispensable tool for busy cheese shops and delicatessens selling cheese by the slice or pound. The ability to quickly and cleanly cut precise portions or tastes for customers is invaluable.

Key Takeaway: Cheese wire uses a thin stainless steel wire secured by handles to enable clean slicing through blocks of cheese by simply pulling the wire through the cheese using the leverage of the handles.

Cheese Wire Sizes

Cheese wires come in different lengths based on the size of the cheese blocks they are intended to cut:

  • Long wires up to 90 cm are used for slicing entire large blocks or wheels of cheese weighing 25 lbs. or more into smaller portions. The extra length can slice through huge diameters.
  • Average wires around 45 cm are used for slicing smaller cheese blocks into retail portions and tastes. 45 cm provides flexibility for smaller cheeses.
  • Compact wires 15 cm and under are made for slicing portions at home rather than entire blocks. They take up little storage space.

Wires also come in thicknesses of 0.5mm up to 1.0mm. Different thicknesses work better for different cheese types. Harder grating cheeses may require thicker 1.0mm while standard cheddars and goudas can use 0.5-0.6mm. Variable thicknesses give the flexibility to find the ideal wire for each application.

For buyers inspecting cheese wire quality here is what to look for:

  • Smooth wire without bends, joints or rough areas which can tear cheese rather than slicing it cleanly.
  • Securely affixed handles that don't wiggle or work loose over time and use.
  • Food-grade, non-reactive stainless steel corrosion and rust resistant for longevity and hygiene.

The proper length and thickness cheese wire enables effortlessly cutting cheeses from 2 lbs. up to 80 lbs. Whatever the application - whether a cheese maker, shop or kitchen - the correct cheese wire makes the process far simpler.

Types of Cheese Wire

There are two main types of cheese wire:

Handle Cheese Wires

This type features stainless steel wire secured by plastic, wood or metal handles at both ends. The main types of handle cheeses wires include:

  • Wood hand cheese wires - Featuring stained hardwood handles these offer charm plus sturdiness
  • Plastic handle cheese wires - With molded ergonomic grips for comfort and easy cleaning
  • Metal handle cheese wires - Often stainless steel handles that feel substantial and minimize wear

Handle cheese wires have permanent handles attached using special clamps and inserts. This prevents the wire from slipping during use for optimal stability. The leverage provided by handles allows easy, precise, cuts.

Spool Cheese Wires

Spool wires provide just the wire alone in lengths up to 50 feet rather than attached handles. Food-grade stainless steel wire is coiled on a spool like thread. The coils allow buyers to easily cut desired lengths using wire cutters. Benefits include:

  • Custom lengths - Wires can be sized exactly for specific applications
  • Bulk savings - Significantly lower cost per foot than pre-cut wires
  • Adaptability - Handles can be created using available items like wooden spoons, sticks etc.

Those already owning cheese wire handles can buy replacement wire by the spool quite economically. It allows customizing cheese wire sizes. Users simply cut the desired length and attach it to handles using machine screws that are threaded through holes in the handles to tightly clamp the wire.

Key Takeaway: The two main types of cheese wire are handled wires with integrated grips or loose spools of wire that can be cut to custom lengths.

Using Cheese Wire Properly

Proper use and care are important to maximize cheese wire effectiveness and longevity:

  • Choosing cheese size – Do not use a longer cheese wire than necessary allowing wire to buckle, torque or bend. Match cheese size.
  • Anchoring cheese – Anchor cheese block so it doesn't shift during cuts. Shifting can create ragged cuts.
  • Wire tension – Keep wire slightly taught but not stretched tight like a bowstring which can lead to wire fatigue.
  • Slicing motion – Gently saw wire through cheese using entire wire length while handles stabilize both sides. Do not just cut with wire ends.
  • Cleansing after use – Aggressively rinse wires after use since cheese residue leads to corrosion. Occasionally sanitize using food-grade disinfectant.
  • Proper storage – Coil wire neatly leaving no kinks. Store cleanly and dry suspended not touching other utensils to prevent scratches or dents.

Following proper protocols maximizes performance and expands the cheese wire lifespan. It preserves the ultra-sharp edge necessary for perfectly clean slices.

With good handling technique, a quality stainless steel cheese wire should last for years while an inferior or mishandled one can deteriorate after months.

Benefits of Using Cheese Wire Over Knives

Besides producing perfect slices, using cheese wire offers advantages over typical kitchen knives:

  • No cracks or crumbles – Unlike forcing thicker knife edges through, cheese wire neatly separates cheese without cracks
  • Low friction – The metal wire has less friction than knives so exerts less destructive pressure on cheese
  • No sticking – Cheese easily releases from smooth wires unlike knives they can adhere to
  • Easy to clean – Being non-porous, dried cheese rinses right off wires unlike how it wedges into knife grooves
  • Rust-resistant – Made from stainless steel, specialized cheese wires resist corrosion from cheese acids far better than carbon steel knives
  • Thinner slices –Wires can slice very fine portions that break using thicker knife blades

The thin, strong, stainless, non-stick wire makes wires far better suited for the unique challenge of cutting soft or crumbly cheese neatly. This makes wires indispensable for charcuteries and cheesemongers dealing with large, diverse cheese volumes daily.

While handy for occasional small home uses, for commercial enterprises routinely slicing multiple large cheese blocks the specialized cheese wire is mandatory.

How to Cut Cheese Without Wire

While cheese wire is the ideal slicing tool, it’s still possible to cut cheese without it using common household items. These alternatives allow moderately clean cuts:

  • Dental floss – For soft fresh cheeses, bind sturdy mint floss to a stick handle and simply pull through
  • Fishing line – The 10-50 lb. test lines work to cleanly slice smaller wedges
  • Guitar string – The high carbon nickel alloy wires easily cut semi-hard cheeses
  • Craft wire – Apply handles to 0.3-0.5 mm stainless steel craft wire using epoxy or screws

The thickness and strength are what allow these items to substitute for standard cheese wires fairly well. Almost any thin, robust wire can do in a pinch.

For occasional small home uses these everyday item hacks slice acceptable cheese portions to avoid buying single-use tools. But for restaurants and cheese shops, genuine stainless steel cheese wire is the only reliable choice.

Common Cheese Wire Accessories

Certain accessories enhance convenience and usability:

  • Cheese wire stands – Hold wire horizontally at perfect height so cheese can be slid onto it instead of lifting heavy blocks
  • Cheese pushers – Flat wooden paddles to apply even pressure sliding cheese through wire instead of hands
  • Wire tightening clamps – Can adjust tension for clean precise cuts without over-stretching wire
  • Wall-mounting hooks – Enable neatly storing wires ready for use instead of messy drawers
  • Sanitizing containers – Soak wires in food-grade antibacterial solution between uses

Much like woodworker clamps or vises help secure and neatly guide workpieces, cheese wire accessories simplify maneuvering blocks for easy, consistent slicing. The accessories optimize efficiency.

Cleaning Cheese Wire

Daily cleaning and sanitization help cheese wires retain a perfectly smooth surface and prevents corrosion:

  1. Rinsing - After every use, thoroughly rinse wires using clean warm water to remove all visible cheese residue and crumbs which can harbor bacteria.
  2. Scrubbing - Use a small nylon brush like a nail brush to periodically scrub both sides of wire and handles to remove clinging oils.
  3. Disinfecting - Allow wires to soak for 5-10 minutes in a sanitizing solution like StarSan. This kills microbes and maintains hygienic sliced surfaces.
  4. Drying - Pat dry thoroughly with paper towels and allow to fully air dry before returning to storage so moisture doesn't linger. Do not coil or store wet.

Much like restaurant cutting boards require sanitizing between uses, cheese wire is exposed to the same potential contamination and must be cleaned rigorously.

Careful cleaning and disinfecting is necessary since any microbes present are directly transferred into the sliced cheese interior that customers eat.

Storing Cheese Wire Correctly

Like all fine cutting tools, proper storage preserves sharpness and prevents nicks to the wire or damage to handles:

  • Cool dry location – Prevent corrosion by avoiding moist areas like sinks or dishwashers during storage periods
  • No contact storage – Use hooks, racks or stands to store without touching other utensils
  • Proper coiling – Gently coil wires before hanging to avoid kinks weakening wire
  • Sheaths – Some wires come with or allow buying protective cases preventing dust or scratches

Ideal storage when not in frequent use is off the worktable neatly coiled similar to a garden hose on a rack. Over time errant exposure to moisture or bumps lead to pitted wires that ultimately slice poorly. Careful lifetime storage retains the original smooth precision.

Key Takeaway: Like all fine cutting implements, cheese wire should be thoroughly cleaned after each use and properly stored away from contact or contamination.

Cheese Wire vs Knives Comparison

While knives can be used, cheese wire offers unique advantages:

AttributeCheese WireKnives
ThicknessUltralow 0.5mm1-4mm thicker
HardnessVery highSofter steel
FrictionVery lowHigh from knife sides
Non-StickYesNo, cheese adheres
OxidationHighly stainlessLess corrosion-resistant
EffortMinimal pull effortSubstantial push pressure
CostInexpensive wireQuality knives expensive
LifespanMany yearsReplacement often needed
CleanupFast rinsingCheese sticks in serrations
StorageCoils neatlyBulky wooden blocks

The thin, strong, slick wire glides through cheese so smoothly knives struggle matching ease or precision. Wires neatly portion whole blocks knives would mangle.

Simple, economical cheese wire often outperforms far pricier, more complex serrated knives for this unique kitchen challenge of "cutting soft bricks". Durably built cheese wire reliably slices thousands of pounds over decades without deterioration like knife blades suffer.

Thus for commercial kitchens, gourmet shops and culinary professionals handling daily high cheese volumes, wire is the most essential and practical slicing implement keeping operations running smoothly.


Why do cheese shops use wire instead of knives?

Cheese shops routinely handle dozens of 25 pound or larger blocks daily needing portioning into many smaller slices or tastes. Using typical knives requires substantial effort slowly forcing the blade through each dense block which often results in messy cracking. In contrast cheese wire glides through cheese effortlessly with just a light pull creating perfect slices faster with no cracking or waste. Cheese shops rely on wires to cleanly and quickly slice the high volumes necesssary.

What can be used instead of cheese wire at home?

While dedicated cheese wire works beautifully, acceptable alternatives to try just at home without handles include fishing line, sturdy thread, craft wire or guitar strings secured taught between hands or posts. These allow moderately clean slices for small wedges. But for perfect portions of huge blocks there's no real substitute for true stainless steel cheese wire.

Why choose stainless steel cheese wire?

Stainless steel alloys like series 300 are optimized to resist corrosion and rust far better than other metals when exposed to acidic foods like cheese. Stainless also maintains extremely smooth polished finishes that prevent cheese sticking like other materials can. Being very hard, stainless stands up to decades of use without bending, denting or excessive wear. So premium food-grade stainless provides the best durability, longevity and non-reactive slices cheese requires.

Can you cut thick slices of parmesan cheese with wire?

Extra-hard parmesan and romano cheese can be challenging to slice neatly - especially thick cuts. Typically hard cheese cutters with taut wire arrays work better than single wires for these. But with very fresh, cold cheese right from refrigeration even dense parmesan can be cleanly cut into reasonably thick slices using regular cheese wire. The key is using adequate length/thickness wire for the cheese diameter and pulling through slowly without forcing or rushing the wire.


Cheese wire is the ideal tool for anyone dealing with routine cheese slicing from artisanal makers to gourmet shops to pizzerias.

The thin, durable stainless steel wire cuts effortlessly through cheese of any style producing perfect slices without crumbling hard blocks or squashing delicate ones.

Compared to traditional knives, wires minimize sticking, friction cracking and corrosion issues. When combined with various accessories, wires enable rapid repeatable portioning unmatched by knives.

AGAH Productions
AGAH Productions