Author Topic: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave  (Read 3319 times)

Offline tacotupac

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tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« on: June 10, 2009, 12:09:23 AM »
Okay everyone here it goes.  Everything lined up perfectly for my adventures in cheesemakin.

I'm about to complete my custom cave made out of an old ice box fridge.  Have a line feed thermostat. wireless temp and humidity control, ect.  I have made the shelves out of aspen.  I used wood to better control the humidity.  At this time i'm getting a range of 49-55 deg temp and 75-85% humidity.  I only have a few questions left to make this the best cave ever.

I'm anticipating using waxed, wrapped, and mold rind cheeses.  What type of coating can I use for the wood "stain, coat, nothing"  to ensure the humidity control but prevent mold production on the wood itself.  Just anticipating mold on the rinds of all the cheeses i want to create.

Speaking of all the cheeses I want to create.  I want to do an assortment of cheeses from cheddar, Gouda, muenster, blue, Swiss, ect.  Is this possible in one cave?  Either way I need to use one cave to create the creations. any thoughts?

Last ? I have 4 shelves to work with.  I'm thinking of putting 1/4 to 1/2 slats in them to better the airflow.  is the needed?  should I change the sizes.

Thanks to anyone who can help.

Taco
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 12:28:07 AM by tacotupac »


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2009, 05:11:49 PM »
Sounds like you are on your way. Congrats! Most "caves" use solid planks but they have more rooom for air flow then you would have in a refrigerator. As long as you turn them occasionally I don't see a problem.

Offline tacotupac

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2009, 08:20:35 PM »
Has anybody seen or used a coating for the shelves in a cheese cave??
I've decided to switch to oak "better look and rigid" but still wondering at a coating to prevent mold growing on it. 

any thoughts??


Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2009, 08:42:33 PM »
Mineral oil work well no smell, doesn't go racid ...

Here a good link to wood finishing for food gear.

http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/finlines/knaeb98c.pdf

Offline tacotupac

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009, 08:55:09 PM »
After reading and studying up I created my own cheese cave from an old ice box fridge.  I painted it for dramatic effect.  ;)  The box on the top right is a direct line thermostat to keep the temp around 55 deg f.


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Offline tacotupac

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2009, 09:09:00 PM »
I ditched the door shelving and put in glass board.  The shelving is unsealed oak.  I figured this would help control the humidity.  I have enough shelves for various lbs of cheese.  If I stick to the 2 gal batches I can have around 20-25 rounds.  I have a small pan of water for humidity.  The jury is still out on that.

Offline tacotupac

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2009, 09:14:38 PM »
I have brought this into the 21st century with a little technology.  The direct line thermo is old school.  But I also added a digital thermometer which also shows humidity level and trends.  Even though I make a daily visit to the cave (turning, moving, and so forth) I've added a wireless weather gauge (small white box upper left)  to it so I can monitor the temp from in the house.  Yep im a geek.

Now that it is all done the only concern is mold.  At this time I have two wheels.  Stirred cheddar and a pepper jack.  I want to progress to swiss, blue, and natural rind cheese.  If anyone has thoughts on the control of mold on the wood it would help!


I also have to give thanks to a good friend J. Kuhn who did the great crafting of the shelving.  My cost, A wheel of muenster!  If anyone has a good muenster recipe please let me know.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 09:22:04 PM by tacotupac »

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2009, 12:06:27 AM »
Nice job hon! If you need to increase humidity add about half salt to the water and for even more hang a small piece of cheese cloth with one end in the water like a wick.

Offline tacotupac

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2009, 12:11:54 AM »
cheese cloth makes sense.  trying to figure the chemistry on the salt though???

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2009, 08:12:12 AM »
This looks fantastic.   I like the wireless part.

I think you might have a problem with cross pollenation of your Blues with everything else. I am seperating my cheeses to avoid that.  All my hard, natural rind cheese go in one cave.  Blues in another, and washed rinds in a third.


Thank god I don't make blues or washed rinds yet,  cuz I would buy 2 more fridges, and my wife would send for the men with the nice white coats.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2009, 10:37:10 PM »
I can't tell you why the salt works I just know my Mom used the water and salt trick for dry curing sausages which require similar temperatures and humidity when aging. It works for cheese too.

Offline SwissBrowns

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2009, 04:06:18 PM »
That cave looks good. I've been thinking about the salt idea though, and wondering if it would bring the humidity down, and not up. After all, salt is hygroscopic, so a strong solution would try to dilute itself even more by absorbing water from the air maybe. If it does in fact work like that, then it would make a good tool for fine tuning the humidity in sealed caves.

Offline newbie001

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2009, 02:00:33 AM »
well salt does reduce the boiling point of water so it may speed up the evaporation process creating more moisture in the air. As well as the salt air will add some flavor, reduce unwanted molds and the like. I think if mom did it then that is good enough for me.  We often loose or forget old mentods and replace them with  modern tech solutions that aren't any better. 

Cheese cave looks real nice. I am in the process of designing mine also. I will use a display fridge that stored sodas. Lots of space and I can look at what is happening without opening the door. The room I will store it in is dark so that won't be a problem. Really like those wood shelves. Glad to see the slits in them to have good air movement.

Offline LadyLiberty

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2009, 05:02:24 AM »
looks great! :o

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: tacotupac's Radient Fridge-Freezer Cheese Cave
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2009, 05:57:50 AM »
I hate to be a pain, but I think I'm about to be.  Sorry in advance.

Salt water will evaporate, but a bit slower than freshwater. So, if your goal was to add humidity to the air with salt water, the salt will slow that process down. (but not prevent it)
Why?
The salt would give the water something to bond to other than itself and is less likely to evaporate.  Also, as the salt water slowly evaporates, the concentration of salt increases, further slowing the evaporation process.
I think you would be better off with plain water to add humidity to the air.

Also, after evaporation, the vast bulk of the salt would be left behind as a residue in your bowl. This is the principle behind the production of sea-salt. The cheeses would not pick up a lot of salt from the process of evaporation.

I would say that if you wanted to reduce unwanted molds, or add flavor, I would simply wash the rinds with a rag that is damp from salt brine .


Just my 2 cents.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas