We are in the final stages of planning our small creamery, and as we get closer to breaking ground, I am suddenly worrying about the design.
Some insight from fellow cheese makers would be greatly reassuring!
We will be milking just three cows and producing (pasteurized) yogurt and aged raw milk cheese. The barn and milking parlor is a separate building already in existence.
The new building will consist of four separate spaces: a milk room, an entryway for the make room, the make room (14x15'), and a cheese "cave" (10x12').
My concern is that having the cheese cave accessible directly from the make room will lead to issues with ammonia and molds wafting into the make room, and warm air being sucked into the cave when the door is open.
I have two possible solutions - we will be installing fans/ventilation to create positive pressure in the make room and negative pressure in the cave. I imagine that turning on a strong fan prior to opening the cave door will be sufficient to pull air into the cave and keep ammonia and molds from drifting out. The cave will warm up, however.
The other option (that is not really practical due to the very limited size of the structure) is to create an entryway between the make room and the cave. It will be cooler than the make room, and serve as a barrier between the two rooms.
I'm worried that the small size of the building will not allow for adequate performance of my pos/neg pressure system. I have never seen a small creamery implement a ventilation system like this. Most creameries have a separate cheese aging facility that is not attached to the make room.
I wouldn't worry about this if we were only planning on making aged raw cheese, but the addition of yogurt calls for closer attention to possible contaminants. We plan on only making products 3-4 days per week, so it's also possible that I could restrict entry to the cave on the days I don't make yogurt, and then I wouldn't have to worry as much.