Very nice looking cheese!
"At this time it is air drying on a mat in a corner of the kitchen. (flips and turns yes) Avg temp has been 69 deg humidity around 40% "guess". Is this a good way to dry or should I put it in a cheese cave to dry?"
Dry airing at room temperatures is the right way to do it (not the only way).
And if I do this for future cheeses will they be affected my other "drying/ripening/aging chesses"
Yes and no. Every cheese you add to the cave will affect the others by varying the temperature and humidity slightly. The fuller your cave is with new cheeses the higher your humidity will be becuase they are all giving off moisture. Will it affect it negitively - no - as long you you make adjustments when needed.
As it is progressing right now it seems great. Or am I setting myself up for disaster in future cheeses?
No you are doing fine![/brown]
What is the correct description of "dry"? To me it feels dry but is there a simple way to test dryness? When I feel the cheese it does feel dry but cool. thus it leaves me to believe that the outer surface is wet and evaporating thus the cool feel (endothermic reaction)
Dry to the touch but be careful not to let it dry to fast or it will crack[/brown]
Before I wax I've seen many posts on what to do, salt, vinegar, ect. What is the best to "sterilize" it before waxing?
The posts you are refering to are about removing mold from the surface of te cheeses - not waxing in general. The chese has to be dry before you wax or you will get mold under the wax if there is even the tiniest pinhole to let air in.[/brown]
Last question.. What is a simpler cheese I can do that I don't have to wait 4+ months to enjoy, but sticking with a firmer cheese?
Many cheeses don't require long periods to mature. None a hard cheeses and some are very soft. Feta, Asadero, Bernardo, Bel Paese Brick, Butter Cheese, Chihuahua, Cotija, Derby, Fromage Blanc, Gjetost, Halloumi , Juban, Lemon Cheese, Magro de Piatta, Mascarpone, Myseost, Neufchatel, Oaxaca, Paneer, Di Capra a Pasta Molle, Quark, Queso Blanco, Queso Fresco , Queso de Mano, Ricotta, Vinegar Cheese are a few I can copy paste for you if you need them.