This Wiki Article discusses thermometers used in making and ripening cheese. Thermometers are used continuously during making, forming, and aging cheese, depending on cheese type. Historically artisan cheese makers of old did not have thermometers, thus even while through repetition they knew how to recognize their curds and subsequent cheeses development, their results varied significantly. Today a wide range of commercially made low cost thermometers are available, but which ones are best and why? It depends on their use, and while selection is a personal choice, the following is a guide to help your selection. This article is divided into the following sections:
Most standard kitchen cooking thermometers are not recommended as they do not measure cool enough or with optimal accuracy and sadly are often only initially factory calibrated. Examples are:
Analog meat cooking probe type thermometers which while robust, do not read accurately enough at cooler temperatures, are slow to stabilize, and if used on meat, hard to get clean enough for cheese making.
Kitchen candy & frying analog glass & mercury type thermometers as they do not read accurately enough at cooler temperatures, are slow to stabilize, often fragile, and normally need to be withdrawn from the milk to read the hard to read gauge.
Remote infrared reading thermometers as only read the surface temperature of liquid and are often not highly accurate. You can vigorously stir the liquid to get an average temperature but often you do not want to do that such as with milk that is forming a curd or has been freshly cut.
Cheap Uncalibratable Kitchen Digital Thermometer - CheeseForum.org
Cheese Making Thermometers – Recommended
Kitchen type instant read digital thermometer if it has calibration function.
Can read low required temperature range accurately.
Has a long probe for reading middle of the milk in vat’s temperature.
Stabilizes it’s temperature reading in a few seconds.
Easy to read, has long lasting batteries, and has beneficial features such as switch to toggle between C and F (for use with different recipes), button to memorize/hold the last reading, and auto-power off to save batteries.
Note, expensive thermometers with remote from readout via a cable probes(s)and have high/low audible alarms are not required.
Ensure you regularly calibrate your thermometer, this cannot be stated enough, it can be devastating that after several cheese making batches and months of aging it is found that the cause of problems was an uncalibrated cheap thermometer. Calibration methods are easily found on the internet.
Always have a backup, calibrated, as they do break and/or batteries can go dead.
If buying a digital one, choose one with standard size batteries and order spares (LR44 is standard watch battery size).
A clip on the thermometer so that it can see hands free on the side of your vat is useful.