- Humdity is not an issue in coagulation or cheese forming stages or for fresh unaged cheeses but is a key parameter for the aging phase, for cheeses that are aged.
- Most aged cheeses after air drying are are initially aged with a natural rind or partially sealed rind i.e. by oiling the rind and then either continued aging in that fashion or sealed with wax or vaccuum bags for longer term aging. During the natural or partially sealed aging, if the humidity is excessive, unwanted molds can result on cheese surfaces, conversely, too low a humidity can result in unwanted dehydration of the cheese. Extreme low humidity, for young moist cheeses, will rapidly dehydrate their surfaces resulting in surface cracks or fissures from the uneven dehydration of the cheese.
- Thus accurate humidity levels are critical, old cheese makers can sense the aging environment’s humidity level based on experience, for new cheese makers it is recommended that a Hygrometer be used.
- Small if small cave, to minimize space consumption.
- Accurate at high humidity.
- Does not corrode at very high humidities.
- Includes a thermometer as temperature is another important parameter in the art of affinage.
- Can be calibrated for both humidity and temperature.
- Remote readout if small cave such as a small refigerators as opening the door to take a meausurement can result in rapid humidity and temperature changes before the hygrometer – thermometer stabilizes resulting an incorrect readings.
Hygrometers are available from Cheese, Wine and beer making supply stores, hardware type stores, and large supply stores like Wal-Mart, Tesco’s, Amazon, or eBay. If buying in physical store (versus from webstore) and for digital units if working, compare units to choose the one with the average reading which is probably best initialy calibrated.
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