Author Topic: Commercial Cheese Cave Construction Questions  (Read 3008 times)

Offline johnsgre

  • New Cheese
  • *
  • Location: Grand Rapids, MI
  • Posts: 4
  • Cheeses: -1
    • Siciliano's Market
Commercial Cheese Cave Construction Questions
« on: July 29, 2008, 07:04:02 PM »
Hi, I work at a store in West Michigan that just started carrying cheese making supplies and we are all excited to begin cheese making. However, for maturing cheeses we do not yet have the means of doing so. We are considering building a cheese cave in one of our walk in beer coolers which has various degrees of climate due to how it is refrigerated and layout. I found an area of the cooler which is about 55 degrees, however the humidity is about 63%. So we were considering building an enclosure at that area so we can control the humidity better and isolate the cheese from the rest of the cooler and everything that enters it.

I have noticed that installing a barrier around that location does not effect the temperature at all, so I think we will be closing that part off for the cheese cave. Now I am curious as to what precautions I should take when building this cheese cave at the store and what are appropriate materials for the cave. The area itself is mostly plywood in construction (it's a old walkin fridge). So I was thinking of enclosing the area, dividing it into at least two compartments and using wire racks (we have some laying around in our warehouse not being used) to build the cheese cave.

Now I haven't taken exact measurements since my schedule rencently has not permitted me to do so, But I should be able to take care of that shortly. I would guess that the area is about 2.5 feet wide and about 2.5 feet deep int he shape of a triangle and about 3 feet tall, but those are definitely not accurate measurements.

My boss has offered me time and money to build the cheese cave, but I don't want to do it with out consultation. I would rather not waste my time and the resources screwing it up. So if anyone has any ideas, if you could please let me know.

Thanks,
-Greg


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline johnsgre

  • New Cheese
  • *
  • Location: Grand Rapids, MI
  • Posts: 4
  • Cheeses: -1
    • Siciliano's Market
Re: Commercial Cheese Cave Construction Questions
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2008, 07:05:15 PM »
Also we are all new to this (if you couldn't tell), and would like to know of some good resources if possible.

Offline John (CH)

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Katy, Houston, Texas, USA
  • Posts: 4,069
  • Cheeses: 60
Re: Commercial Cheese Cave Construction Questions
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2008, 10:54:27 PM »
Welcome to the forum johnsgre, interesting problem to have!

Requirements are:
  • Temperature, looks good there.
  • Humidity, you are too low. Why is ambient in the walkin fridge already so high for West Michigan? With small area and cheeses enclosed in a small space it will probably rise somewhat, hard to tell how much. I've read that in large traditional french haloir's they throw water onto walls of tiled room, for such a small area, a pan of water maybe with a cloth hanging over edge to act as a wick will be sufficient?
  • Cleanliness, all cheese caves can become too high in humidity resulting in mold, you will at some point need to clean it, thus plywood won't work, have you got access to anything else that is easily cleanable like formica or tiles?
  • Shelving, wire even if galvanized or chromed will probably rust over time, that's OK as cheeses shouldn't be directly on wire as it will leave an indent. They really need to be on shelves on removable and cleanable wooden boards or plastic mats if wires are too far apart.

With such a small space and just getting started, you could also just use large plastic stacking boxes like reg here does and see where it goes? I think he just cracks the top open to control the humidity.

Also as Frank pointed out, there is some good info here and here.

Just my initial 2 cents based on what you've told us, hope others here have some ideas for you.

Offline johnsgre

  • New Cheese
  • *
  • Location: Grand Rapids, MI
  • Posts: 4
  • Cheeses: -1
    • Siciliano's Market
Re: Commercial Cheese Cave Construction Questions
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2008, 11:56:51 AM »
Thanks for the info, I figured the points you brought up would be important. Controlling humidity I don't think would be a great challenge since we probably have extra controllable humidifiers and hygrometers to regulate and monitor the area. But I am going to try and make some measurements and see what I come up with. Depending on how much it costs, I might look into using lexan for building the cheese cave area.

Oh, the ambient is pretty high because it West Michigan is typically pretty humid in the summer and doors to the walk-in are being opened and closed constantly.

Thanks again,
-Greg