Author Topic: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...  (Read 1372 times)

Offline Mike Richards

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Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« on: January 21, 2013, 08:58:23 PM »
An interesting experience on Saturday, and a couple of questions:

 First, this is what happens when I don't follow the recipe and don't pay enough attention to what I'm doing.
wet curd pile on cheese mat

After recovering from that, things seemed to work out okay.  We'll see how everything turns out in a few weeks.

Second, I recently put LED strips above and below the cupboards in my kitchen.  I had an extra 10 inches of strip, so I put it in my cheese cave.  My question is about light and cheese aging.  Is light bad for aging cheeses?  I don't imagine it hurts the cheeses, but does it interfere with mold growth?  Is it wavelength dependent?  These guys are "cool" as opposed to "warm"--something like 6000 K.

[img width= height= alt=LEDs in cheese cave]http://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/399029_281415098650604_1605711182_n.jpg[/img]
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Offline Clean break

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2013, 08:47:11 AM »


I am thinking ???..... about a larger cave.  Gathering ideas. Yours looks like a good size.  I am wondering how you heat and cool that space?
Scott

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2013, 10:15:46 AM »
I was taught to keep the cave always dark, not to let in any light from the outside. But I do not know if this is due to UV light, visible light, or what?

I do know that certain molds don't like light. Certain molds like light, same with bacteria. It seems to me, maybe most of the hings we WANT to have growing on our cheeses like a dark place.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2013, 10:40:59 AM »
Scott--My cave is the space beneath the stairs in my basement.  After insulating the space as best as I could, I took a window a/c unit and tricked it into thinking it is warmer than it is.  This unit uses a thermistor to measure the temperature.  At higher temperatures the thermistor has a lower resistance.  At lower themperatures, the resistance goes up.  The unit is limited, from the factory, to only have set values between 86 F and 64 F.  By putting an additional resistor in parallel with the thermistor, I effectively lowered the resistance the machine sees, thus making it think the temperature was higher.  When set at 86 F, the unit keeps the space at about 55 F (if fluctuates between 53 F and 57 F, but most of the time stays right at 55 F).  Because I don't have enough cheese (yet) in there to act as a thermal mass and reduce the compressor cycling off and on, I've got over 60 gallons of water in there, too.  Let me know if you'd like more details.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2013, 10:42:13 AM »
Alp--thanks.  That's kind of what I figured, so I've been leaving the lights off.  When I get cool enough, I'll install a door switch so the lights turn on when I open the door and turn back off when I close it.  For now, I just plug them in and uplug them when I'm done.
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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 10:50:12 AM »
What size resistor did you add inline? Could you just replace the existing thermistor with a high ohm resistor? I use a Ranco digital controller that simultaneously turns on both my AC and a small enclosed compact light bulb that puts out very little heat. I have the thermistor from the AC inside of the light housing. When the controller detects that my cave is too warm, the light turns on, it warms up the thermistor and fakes out the AC system. I have been using this setup flawlessly for almost 2 years now. Sure beats a $200+ Cool-Bot.
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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2013, 11:04:40 AM »
Sailor, that's great. nice way to fake out the AC
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2013, 12:25:41 PM »
Sailor--I don't remember exactly, but I think it was a 24k Ohm.  If you were to replace the thermistor with a high ohm resistor, you'd be telling the unit that the room is at a constant (low) temperature.  The unit reads resistance from the thermistor and converts it to temperature--so a constant resistance would appear to be a constant temperature.  I thought about buying a different thermistor.  I think mine was a 15k thermistor and I looked at the 10k, but I determined that I could get a closer response to the one I wanted by adding the additional resistor (in parallel to lower the resistance, not series which would have increased it).  IIRC, using a 10k thermistor would have let the temperature go up too high before the compressor kicked on again.

I thought about doing something similar with a light bulb, but determined that I could get the performance I wanted easier how I did it.  My two complaints (that I wouldn't have if I used your method) are that I'd prefer to have a smaller swing in temperature and the changes I make to the unit aren't proportional to the changes in the cave (at 86 F on the unit, I see 55 F in the cave, at 85 F on the unit, I see 52 F in the cave).  However, neither of those bother me much.
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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2013, 01:16:50 PM »
My setup holds the temperature to within 1 degree. That is dictated by the way I set the tolerance on the Ranco controller and not by the AC thermistor. I keep my cave around 52F. When it gets up to 53F the Ranco turns on the AC and the light bulb. The thermistor instantly reads the warmer temperature in the light bulb housing and tells the AC to blow cool air.

I'm not envisioning how you wired the resistor in parallel instead of series. Picture?

So it appears that you are not using an external controller but are depending on the AC setting to establish temperature. That thermistor is not accurate enough to hold tight tolerance, but are good enough for what you are doing.
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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2013, 01:28:36 PM »
Sailor does your system cycle often due to the tight temp. tolerance?


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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2013, 01:34:57 PM »
You've got it.  I don't have a picture of my actual wiring, but here's the idea: circuit ab has 2 resistors, R1 and R2, in parallel while circuit cd has 2 resistors, R3 and R4, in series.  Resistors in series add the way you think they should:  Rtotal for circuit cd is = R3 + R4, so when you put resistors in series, you increase the total resistance in the circuit.  Resistors in parallel are squirrely, they add together, but in an odd way: Rtotal for circuit ab can be found using this equation  1/Rtotal = 1/R1 + 1/R2.  In effect, adding a resistor in parallel reduces the overall resistance of a circuit.

So, a 15k ohm thermistor acts as a 15k ohm resistor when the temperature is 25 C (that's how they are rated--the resistance they provide at 25 C).  By adding a 25k ohm resistor in parallel, the circuit now shows [1/15k +1/25k]^-1 = 9375 ohms which my a/c unit thinks is about 30 F hotter than it actually is.

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2013, 01:36:17 PM »
I use just a small 10,000 BTU 110v unit on a 12' x 12' walk-in cooler. The walk-in actually has a functioning 3-phase refrigeration system that came with the unit, but I felt that was overkill (and more expensive to maintain) for holding at 52F. It is super insulated, so it does not cycle on very often. However, if we go in and out too often on hot days, the unit will obviously cycle more often. You could always set the controller to a 2 degree (or more) tolerance and get less cycling, but I prefer a fairly constant temperature.
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Offline Brandnetel

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2013, 08:34:41 PM »
Mike, FWIW I have had exactly the same whoopsie with Cam curds, and the cheeses came out just fine. But the first time I did it I was like, well guess that's a bust for this make! But then I calmed down and figured what the hell I'll just ladle them back into the mold, what is the worst that can happen? Seems to be pretty forgiving when things like this happen so early in the process before the curds begin to knit and set up more firmly. Hope that's helpful!
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2013, 08:38:11 PM »
I never did follow up with the start of this post--

Brandnetel--I did exactly the same thing, and have eaten 2 of the 4 already.  They still aren't great (this is my 3rd cam attempt), but they aren't bad (which is an improvement over my first 2).  If I get around to it, I'll post some pictures of the finished product.
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Offline Brandnetel

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Re: Cam #3 or how I was duped into think my curds were stronger...
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2013, 06:46:23 PM »
A cheese for your perseverance, and please do post pics! We need all the cheese porn information we can get!
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