Author Topic: New guy with short list of questions  (Read 416 times)

Offline Keysguy

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New guy with short list of questions
« on: January 20, 2014, 01:48:18 PM »
Hello,

As I posted in my into thread I've made Mozzarella lots of times and am considering moving on up to hard cheese.

The two big questions:

1. I have a 600+ bottle walk in wine cellar. (I keep it between 57 and 60 degrees with a humidity of 60 to 65%. I have read that this should work for cheeses such as cheddar. (someone correct me if I have ms-read) My big question is "do I stand a chance of introducing unwanted thing into my wine cellar if I age cheese with the wine?" I have thousands of dollars of daily drinker and collector wine and do not want to take the chance of ruining them.

2. What are the best choices for someone making the jump to more involved cheese making.

Thanks,
Keysguy
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Offline Spoons

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Re: New guy with short list of questions
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 02:45:58 PM »
Hi Keysguy,

Welcome to the boards and the wonderful world of cheesemaking!

I love the Keys! I have a house in Fort Myers and have done the boat shuttle to the Keys a few time. Nice little area you live in!

1. I have a 600+ bottle walk in wine cellar. (I keep it between 57 and 60 degrees with a humidity of 60 to 65%. I have read that this should work for cheeses such as cheddar. (someone correct me if I have ms-read) My big question is "do I stand a chance of introducing unwanted thing into my wine cellar if I age cheese with the wine?" I have thousands of dollars of daily drinker and collector wine and do not want to take the chance of ruining them. You'll need some ripening boxes with covers to help raise the humidity if ageing with a natural rind.

A lot of people age their cheese in a wine storage area. The 57-60F temp range is not optimal for certain cheeses, it's a bit on the high end, but should do the job. The danger at that temperature is getting some bad molds, but some cheeses like Jarlsberg are meant to ripen at that temp though. If you vac seal or wax your cheeses, then you have nothing to worry about. The one thing I would recommend before you start is giving your wine cellar a good sanitizing scrub so you start on the right foot. 

2. What are the best choices for someone making the jump to more involved cheese making.

Acquiring cheesemaking books and participating in these boards would be a good start. Anybody can follow a cheese recipe, but understanding what you are doing will help you become a better cheese maker.
- Eric

Offline John@PC

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Re: New guy with short list of questions
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 06:01:04 PM »
Hi and welcome Keysguy.  Going to the Keys' is on my bucket list and now I've got an added incentive to go to sample your cheese!  Eric addressed the temperature issue but 60 to 65%RH seems low even for cheddar according to the recipes I've seen.  You can always use minicaves which may not be a bad idea anyway (and it sounds like you have a BIG cave that could handle them).  Hopefully more experienced cheesemakers than me will weigh in, but whichever way you go please keep us posted.

Offline caciocavallo

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Re: New guy with short list of questions
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2014, 08:04:22 PM »
Hello Keysguy,

If you have made mozzarella then hard cheese will be easy for you....maybe post some of your recipes and experience.

I age my cheese in my wine cellar as well and never had any problems, however many people will tell you that food in a wine cellar is not a very good idea saying that you will affect your wine.

Good luck.
Cacio

Offline Keysguy

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Re: New guy with short list of questions
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2014, 04:02:47 PM »
Thanks everyone for the responses. I guess my big question was what are the chances of contamination my wine cellar with extra molds and such. I'm getting the feeling that I will be "OK" as long as I either wax or vacuum pack the cheese. The other big fear is making sure I'm not going to make something that is potentially poison to myself and others that eat it.  As added protection and to boost humidity once I wax the cheese could I place it in something such as an air tight snap container (like tupperware) with a damp towel then place it in the cellar? Am I over thinking this?

Another question, I was reading and I must be missing it but when you are pressing the cheese and it sits for a few hours or more, I would assume that it much be either refrigerated or in a climate controlled environment not our on the kitchen counter.

Thanks again,
Keysguy
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Offline Spoons

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Re: New guy with short list of questions
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2014, 05:57:41 PM »
As added protection and to boost humidity once I wax the cheese could I place it in something such as an air tight snap container (like tupperware) with a damp towel then place it in the cellar? Am I over thinking this?
You only need to maintain humidity for natural rind cheeses where a "tupperware" with a lid (usually referred to as a "ripening box") is a great idea. So don't worry about humidity for waxed or vac sealed cheeses as they are not affected by ambient humidity.


Another question, I was reading and I must be missing it but when you are pressing the cheese and it sits for a few hours or more, I would assume that it much be either refrigerated or in a climate controlled environment not our on the kitchen counter.
I've had a lot of success making cheese using Peter Dixon's recipes and he suggests pressing in an ambient temperature around 70-72F. Some people with lighter weights press around 74-75F if they worry about getting a good knit. Higher than that may cause the loss of butterfat depending how hard you're pressing, just try to stay out the 80's.

If the ambient temp is too low, then the curd will be more resistant and have a hard time knitting and you'll need additional weights for a proper knit.So try not to press in your wine cooler, it's just too cold.
- Eric

Offline JimSteel

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Re: New guy with short list of questions
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2014, 09:59:00 AM »
If your wines are sealed  with corks and wax/metal wraps I can't see there being any problem.  I was under the impression that wines are sealed rather effectively.   If you are making your own wine in a demijohn, however, that might be a different story.

Offline Keysguy

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Re: New guy with short list of questions
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2014, 09:03:03 PM »
again thanks all for the responses, at this point we have stopped reading on the internet and are looking for a good cheese making book (any suggestions) and we have decided to buy a small 6-12 bottle wine cooler just for cheese. We have decide to buy a small wine cooler for this because in the end I can not risk introducing anything into the big wine cellar that may damage the wines. I know it's not a big risk but values can be ruined if the label on a wine is destroyed. The $100- $200 for the cooler is cheep compared to what I might loose.  I'll keep everyone informed of our progress. 

Thanks all,
Keysguy
The race is not always to the swift, but to those that keep running.

Offline Digitalsmgital

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Re: New guy with short list of questions
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2014, 10:40:35 PM »
The more you read and learn, the less worried you'll be about killing your loved ones with aged cheese. Fresh cheeses must be carefully monitored, the same as any other food. Not to worry.  ;)
Regards, Dave