Do you think your cheese boxes are really airtight? Which brand(s) do you use? Soooo, how do you decide how long a cheese stays in the ripening cave? Is it by the recipe?
The minicaves don't need to be airtight. In fact, there are times early in the ripening process that you want to be able to adjust the amount of humidity, which you can do by cracking the lid slightly. See the one minicave with a chip clip?
I've been using primarily some Rubbermaid and Sterilite boxes. I needed a tall one for my Fourme d'Ambert
and then Creamy Blueberry Delight
and I was lucky to find a Rubbermaid gallon-sized tall container. That allowed them to fit nicely in the cave door, just like a gallon of milk.Reblochons
are ready in 2-3 weeks, wrapped in cheese paper, and moved to the big fridge. Some other semi-soft cheeses like Leiden, Maasdam, Tomme, Tilsit, and Esrom may require 3-4 months in the cave, then get waxed, vacuum-sealed, or paper-wrapped, and moved to the big fridge. Some semi-hard and hard cheeses like Cheddar, Gouda, some Tommes, Beaufort, Gruyere, and Parmigiano may spend a year or more in the cave. Some cheeses just get shoved to the back, forgotten, and don't see the light of day for years...right, Debi?
The recipe may
give you a rough clue as to how long a cheese should be cave-aged. I get ideas from reading what some of the cheese retailers say how long a cheese ages and also what kind of care it may receive during that time (brine-washed, wine-injected, washed under running water to remove linens growth, brushed, etc.). Also, personal experience helps provide steerage after a time.