Author Topic: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type  (Read 3533 times)

Offline psearle

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2012, 05:10:18 AM »
I use Tulipwood (American Poplar) which I buy rough sawn and put through a planer/thicknesser for lots of small woodworking projects.  It is easy to work, easy to clean and inexpensive compared to many other hardwoods.  I've been using some planed boards of this in my freezer based cheese cave and the cheeses are fine on it. 

Peter

Offline Oude Kaas

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2012, 06:03:21 AM »
Quote
I still have to find out what it is exactly
That looks like pine, traditionally and commonly used in the Netherlands.

Offline Boofer

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2012, 08:41:05 AM »
Good discussion. So far, in the negative column, there's maple and cedar. Otherwise, it looks like pretty much everything else is usable for cheese aging shelves.

Up to this point I have been using a selection of plastic grids to elevate my cheeses in their minicaves (ripening boxes) so whey can drain and air can circulate. Should I rethink that now and begin ripening/aging all my cheeses on wood? What benefits does the cheese derive from sitting on wood? I know that the wood draws moisture out of the cheese. What else? Should anyone (everyone?) making cheese move to wood?

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Offline Susie

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2012, 11:10:53 AM »
I'm having thoughts about the rules for wood cutting boards - which types of wood are okay and sealing them with regular coats of mineral oil. How is this sanitary with softer woods like spruce?

Secondly there is a taste factor and it will be interesting to see all the thoughts and experiences offered on that. I can only say that I use hard rock maple for a cutting board; I've had oak cheese boards - the type with the glass dome on top for storing your cheese - that didn't impart a flavor and I once had a pine one that did. I pitched it.

Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2012, 01:30:47 PM »
Should I rethink that now and begin ripening/aging all my cheeses on wood?
-Boofer-

As Oude Kaas stated and can been seen from the amount that they are selling on the website I mentioned, it is used a lot in The Netherlands and Oude Kaas is also using it in his cave. I wouldn't know what the advantages are, besides price. In the Dutch situation it can't be a matter of giving a special taste to the cheese because all cheeses will be coated. Anyway, in my opinion plastic is more easy to clean.
Reminding some other discussions here on the forum (about wooden presses and other tools), I'm a bit surprised that wooden shelves are allowed in (parts of the?) US. 
If I'm going to get milk Saturday morning and the cheese maker himself is milking, I'll ask his opinion...
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2012, 01:55:59 PM »
But having read that the wood should be rough it doesn't make sense to seal it. 

Offline smolt1

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2012, 02:52:18 PM »
   From a woodworkers ( and amateur cheese maker ) perspective all wood can collect little bad things in its cellular structure. If you take a very thin slice of any wood ( hard or soft ) and hold it to the light, you will see many spaces for little bad things to hide. For instance maple is much less porous than oak ,but maple still has lots of small voids.
   For this reason I wouldn't use a wood follower when pressing, but after a rind has developed storage on wood may be a different story.

Offline iratherfly

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2012, 04:20:28 PM »
Boofer - I am on it!  Finding sprouce boards ASAP.

Oude Kaas - Really want to see the new space already!  Are these cheeses from the new moulds? Maybe I can get the Spruce where you get it.

Offline Susie

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #23 on: August 21, 2012, 05:01:05 PM »
Here is some info I found regarding concerns about sanitizing wood: (appears to be good news)

Survival of Listeria monocytogenes after cleaning and sanitation of wooden shelves used for cheese ripening
http://scienceindex.com/stories/164003/Survival_of_Listeria_monocytogenes_after_cleaning_and_sanitation_of_wooden_shelves_used_for_cheese_ripening.html#.UDPpUqlmSew

COLIFORM COUNTS IN CHEESE
http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/High_coliform_counts_in_cheese.shtml

Offline smolt1

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2012, 06:12:55 PM »
So on wood Listeria survives with washing but not with heat sanitizing. Susie, thanks for that good source of experimental information.

Offline linuxboy

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2012, 06:51:15 PM »
Yes, also, there is not much special property around spruce. It's used because it's cheap and commonly available (epicea in Europe). Meaning for wood shelves, best to use whatever is commonly available and that does not impart strong flavor and is not dangerous (no mahogany, exotic woods, etc)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2012, 07:18:55 PM by linuxboy »
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Offline iratherfly

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2012, 12:26:46 AM »
Don't forget that you would  be washing the shelves with salt AND boiling water. Salinity kills listeria too. Then you need to dry it in SUNLIGHT. The UV rays continues to disinfect it.

To add to Pav's comment, Spruce is nice not only for its density, strength and its bacterial resistance (though not anti bacterial). Unlike many other woods, it doesn't leave tannins and other woody off aromas/flavors on the cheese.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 12:34:30 AM by iratherfly »

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2012, 07:31:35 AM »
For anyone wanting to sell cheese professionally, keep in mind that many (most) inspectors will not approve of aging on wood. Even minor sanitation problems can make them nervous. It took me quite some time to convince my inspector to let me use wood. FYI - I'm using aged pine that does not leach sap or resins.

I have not heard what the FDA's official position is regarding use and sanitation of wood in the new Food Safety Act. But, given that they are so paranoid about Listeria right now, they must have a formal protocol in place. For example, they might require steam cleaning of the wood after every batch of cheese. I age natural rind for a month, so I rotate 4 sets of shelves - one for each week. To compromise with my inspector, after a shelf is used, I clean with bleach and that shelf "rests" for a week to air out before it is used again.

My next challenge will be talking my inspector into letting me age for a month on straw. Should be an interesting discussion. :)
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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2012, 08:14:33 AM »
FDA considers wood porous, therefore uncleanable, therefore unsanitary. Has been that way for many years. Salt does kill listeria, but the thing about it to consider is that is very readily forms biofilm, which is very persistent and hard to remove. Salt wouldn't be too effective against biofilm.
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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2012, 01:56:10 PM »
So.... under the Food Safety Modernization Act, is the FDA essentially banning aging on wood for commercial producers?
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