Author Topic: How large a cheese cave do I need?  (Read 3905 times)

Offline rosawoodsii

  • Goat Raiser Extraordinaire--and wannabe cheesemaker
  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Maine
  • Posts: 195
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Crooked Shade Farm--Saanens & Sables
    • Crooked Shade Farm
How large a cheese cave do I need?
« on: December 07, 2012, 11:10:11 PM »
I have about 6 cheeses at any one time, and may have more, up to 8 or 9.  I've been looking at wine coolers, but so far haven't seen any without wavy shelves.  More to the point, though, I haven't a clue how big an "8 bottle" or "12 bottle" wine cooler is, or how large a "dorm fridge" I'd need to age my cheeses. 

Would the winer coolers or dorm fridges be a better cave? 

Oh, how I wish the basement in this 200 y.o. farmhouse weren't so full of funky spores!
Joy


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


Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,625
  • Cheeses: 71
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2012, 06:42:20 AM »
I have a 44 bottle wine cooler and it is too small already.  It's difficult to have enough room I think if you are making cheese regularly and some need to age a long time.   If you did Alp's style of traditional Swiss rind you could likely get away with aging them in your funky old cellar.  For me I end up with a lot of cheese because the milk keeps coming and I have to do something with it.  it's not like I can just choose not to go buy milk and avoid making cheese.  Plus, there's so much I want to experiment with.   ^-^

I think all wine grieves have wavy racks but you can replace them with some wood slats or whatever.  Then also, good tot pay attention to area between shelf dimensions when buying mini cave boxes.  Good luck!

Offline george (MaryJ)

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Rhode Island
  • Posts: 521
  • Cheeses: 22
  • Home of the Velcro Ocelot
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2012, 07:43:23 AM »
Honestly?  Get a full-size fridge if you can scrape up the funds and have a place to put it.  If you get an Energy Star one, the electricity cost is minimal so you don't have to feel guilty about running it all the time if you have a cheese-making lag (speaking from experience).  I admit I was flush when I bought mine, but it's been SO worth it - I almost ran out of room in it once, even.

I have a dorm fridge in another room of the house, and I can tell you it's definitely too small for more than a few cheeses - especially if you're talking ripening containers.

This pic is from quite a while ago - cave contents are pretty sparse now 'cause I've been busy with medical stuff plus the milk supply was really low for a while - looking forward to getting back to it soon.   :)
If I have to be a grownup, can I at least be telekinetic too?

Offline Al Lewis

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Port Orchard Washington
  • Posts: 1,128
  • Cheeses: 38
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2012, 09:42:58 AM »
rosawoodsii, I bought this 6.9 cu ft upright freezer from Best Buy for $180.00 and plugged it into a $45.00 Johnson Controls External Thermostat.  It's perfect for the amount of cheese you say you want to store and, at 56 degrees the RH remains at 85% without any help from other devices.  It has about the same footprint as a dorm fridge.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Igloo+-+6.9+Cu.+Ft.+Upright+Freezer+-+White/9605082.p?id=1218130495696&skuId=9605082

http://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Controls-A19AAT-2C-Temperature-Controller/dp/B0002EAL58/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1354981596&sr=8-2&keywords=johnson+controls+thermostat
« Last Edit: December 08, 2012, 09:48:25 AM by Al Lewis »

Offline rosawoodsii

  • Goat Raiser Extraordinaire--and wannabe cheesemaker
  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Maine
  • Posts: 195
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Crooked Shade Farm--Saanens & Sables
    • Crooked Shade Farm
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2012, 10:02:43 AM »
I know the feeling about having to do SOMETHING with all that milk!  Thankfully, during peak milk season the kids (goat kids, that is) are scarfing down most of it.  Once weaning takes place, though, usually around September, my supply of have-to-use increases markedly.

I've been toying with the idea of trying the funky cellar again.  I've been much more diligent about checking and wiping my cheeses than I was before; I doubt that I'll forget them again.  The climate is perfect: high humidity and low temperatures, hovering between 50-60°F.  I think the door and the steps to the cellar are too narrow to allow a full size refrigerator to pass through and down, and safety would be a big issue, if, indeed we could even get it through.  OTOH, that narrow one that you bought at Best Buy looks promising, if I can come up with a way to afford it. I'm going to definitely keep that in mind.
Joy


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


Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,625
  • Cheeses: 71
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2012, 10:21:28 AM »
You could use the funky cellar and prep it by using an essential oil diffuser with anti mold mix for a couple of weeks and then try it out.  Build some nice shelves, make sure lighting is good and I bet it'll work really well. Oh, and a fridge in a damp place is likely to rust I think.  Not sure how damp is.

Offline rosawoodsii

  • Goat Raiser Extraordinaire--and wannabe cheesemaker
  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Maine
  • Posts: 195
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Crooked Shade Farm--Saanens & Sables
    • Crooked Shade Farm
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2012, 12:36:23 PM »
You could use the funky cellar and prep it by using an essential oil diffuser with anti mold mix for a couple of weeks and then try it out.  Build some nice shelves, make sure lighting is good and I bet it'll work really well. Oh, and a fridge in a damp place is likely to rust I think.  Not sure how damp is.

Explain the "essential oil diffuser with anti-mold mix".  Which essential oils?  What would be in the mix?

The cellar maintains at least a 72% humidity level, even during dry weather, and the floor almost never gets completely dry.  I suspect that if there weren't a layer of concrete on it, it would never dry out.
Joy

Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,625
  • Cheeses: 71
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2012, 05:30:59 PM »
I'm kind of jealous but mostly happy for you.  I think your cellar sounds perfect without a fridge so don't worry about the dampness.  Sacred Medicine Sanctuary makes a diffuser blend of essential oils.....I think if you google "Sacred Medicine Sanctuary" AND "Diffuser Blend" you'll find it.  Ingrid created it for mold remediation and I'd think it would be a nice cleansing for your place.

Offline H-K-J

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: South-east ID
  • Posts: 1,308
  • Cheeses: 85
  • Act as if it were impossible to fail.
    • Cookin with uh dash dogs hair
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2012, 07:15:47 PM »
Man you all suck I'm still working with coolers and ice :P
"Happiness is not the absence of conflict,
But the ability to cope with it."

Offline Al Lewis

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Port Orchard Washington
  • Posts: 1,128
  • Cheeses: 38
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2012, 07:22:42 PM »
LOL  and getting some damn good results too!! :D


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


Offline george (MaryJ)

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Rhode Island
  • Posts: 521
  • Cheeses: 22
  • Home of the Velcro Ocelot
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2012, 05:50:31 AM »
Man you all suck I'm still working with coolers and ice :P
And you, sir, get the prize for my first giggle of the morning.   ;D
If I have to be a grownup, can I at least be telekinetic too?

Offline bbracken677

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Dallas, Tx
  • Posts: 1,166
  • Cheeses: 16
  • I love me some cheese!
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2012, 08:51:30 AM »
I started off that way (cooler and ice) ... was quite difficult to maintain the temp so >>> hat's off to ya H-K-J!  You have done an outstanding job with your cheeses!

Fortunately I bought a minifridge that has kept me going...I gave up trying to maintain humidity in the cave (soon as you open the door the humidity drops like a rock) so I went to containers and then vac bag what I can while keeping the more recent makes or bloomy cheeses in containers.

Offline Banjoza

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: South Africa
  • Posts: 37
  • Cheeses: 2
  • Default personal text
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2012, 01:27:37 AM »
Oh man but I am SO jealous (enjoyed your comment H-K-J!)  That basement sounds like a dream come true. Isn't that the way the cheeses were aged in the good olden days? And to have that perfect temp and humidity right there, without any extra expense or effort *sigh*

Offline rosawoodsii

  • Goat Raiser Extraordinaire--and wannabe cheesemaker
  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Maine
  • Posts: 195
  • Cheeses: 3
  • Crooked Shade Farm--Saanens & Sables
    • Crooked Shade Farm
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2012, 08:32:44 AM »
Oh man but I am SO jealous (enjoyed your comment H-K-J!)  That basement sounds like a dream come true. Isn't that the way the cheeses were aged in the good olden days? And to have that perfect temp and humidity right there, without any extra expense or effort *sigh*

I threw away two cheeses yesterday, one vacuum-packed, one waxed, that the wild molds had totally eaten through.  They were brown and crumbly and disgusting.  I wish I'd taken some pictures.  The basement sounds wonderful, but until I can get rid of the funky, corrosive molds, I can't leave anything there long term.  Although, I must say, I'm a LOT more diligent about checking and wiping down my cheeses now than I was when I made those two last year.
Joy

Offline xyztal

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Posts: 55
  • Cheeses: 1
  • Default personal text
Re: How large a cheese cave do I need?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2012, 01:01:08 PM »
I got a free fridge from somebody (took me a long time to clean that sucker up because the owner basically dumps that fridge in her backyard) then brought one of those digital thermostat.  Total cost is about $80 CAD.... Don't know why but here it's very easy to find a used fridge for < $50... (through kijiji or freecycle or craiglist) I use the freezer space to store my culture (and freezer jam, frozen chicken stock etc.)