Author Topic: Best Wood Type for Cheese Cave  (Read 1170 times)

Offline caithd

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Best Wood Type for Cheese Cave
« on: February 07, 2013, 12:42:09 PM »
Looking for some suggestions on making new shelves for our cheese cave. Our "cave" is about 8'x6' and so far we have used 5 bun pan racks with aluminum bun pans. The cheeses sit on cheese mat fit to the size of the bun pans so they don't touch the aluminum.

The cave is cooled with an A/C and CoolBot, and heated during the winter with a small heater. For humidity so far a pan with water has worked well enough.

We want to improve our shelving and are considering wooden shelves. Is this the best alternative? What would the best type of wood be? What is your experience, best ways to clean, photos etc.?

Thanks!!


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Offline Gürkan Yeniçeri

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Re: Best Wood Type for Cheese Cave
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 02:07:27 PM »
Fir, pine or birch would be your best choice.

Treat them a coat of food grade linseed oil, dry it for 3 months and let the cheese sit on the wood without a mat.

Offline cowboycheese

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Re: Best Wood Type for Cheese Cave
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 02:18:42 PM »
Last Thanksgiving we went on a self guided tour of many farmstead cheese places around and near Marin county CA. Most of the newer facilities used SS racks and maybe plastic shelving. One place used pine framing but the cheese boards were all Cyprus. The reason was that Cyprus didn't impart flavors to the cheese (goat and cow) and it kept the local fauna growing well to share with new wheels. There also wasn't a need to treat or condition the wood - ever. Because cheese sits on the shelves for such a long time and becomes one with the wood, I would avoid any type of pine myself as I don't particularly like Pine Sol flavored cheese.  :o

Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Best Wood Type for Cheese Cave
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 08:50:58 PM »
Depends on what you want.

Traditional for Central European types of cheeses would be fir or spruce, tight grained and free of knots.

Acceptable for many food codes would be beech and maple. These are easy to keep clean and bacteria have a harder time living in their surfaces do to their tight grained, closed cellular structure.

No linseed oil, I can't support this. Leave them raw. Linseed oil has a leeching affect. You are better off to leave the wood bare and clean regularly with vinegar or alcohol (the drinkable kind) We wash our shelves with the same disinfecting yet at the same time cultured solution that we wash the cheese itself with.

Pine does work fine, particularly if it is well dried. Pine will not leach its sap out unless it comes to a temperature higher than it was dried at. Since pine is often cooked at 130 degrees or even hotter to set the sap, this is not ever going to be a problem in a cheese cave. The only problem with pine is that it has a very loose grain structure than can be harder to keep clean. But we have used it without trouble.
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