Author Topic: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)  (Read 2080 times)

Offline John (CH)

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Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« on: July 01, 2008, 06:23:02 AM »
For making aged cheeses, half is making, half is aging, and OK part is eating ;D.

The aging or affinage part of cheese making is very important and often can go very wrong as it is very hard to hold normally cheese cave like temperature and hummidity for an extended period. The temperature is important for the internal maturation process and the humidity is important as if too low the cheese will dry out, to high and moulds take root. Getting your cheese cave right is partly the equipment you use and partly the climate you live in, what works for one person in a dry cold climate may not work for another in a warm humid climate and so on.

This thread is to discuss what climate you live in and what works well for you.


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2008, 06:23:21 AM »
I'll start:

I live in Houston, Texas, USA and we have cool, and what feels like low humidity in the winter and hot and very high humidity in summer, palm trees in back yard, no basement as high water table. The reason for the high humidity is the predominatly southern winds off of the Gulf of Mexico. I say what feels like as when I look at humidity records it is actually also very humid in winter, it just seems less in comparison to summer.

Houses here are air conditioned, full year round, currently it's summer here, my average readings are:
  • Inside house = 77 F/25 C & 47% humidity.
  • Outside house = High of low 90's F/ low 30's C, and 60's % humidity.
  • Garage where new freezer cheese cave is located = Low 90's F/ low 30's C, and 57% humidity.
  • Chest Freezer Type Cheese Cave in garage with lid closed = 53 F/12 C, and 87% humidity.

I have no natural cool place in the house, so I need to create a cool environment. So far the small Chest Freezer Cheese Cave is working best as household fridges and cooler plastic picnic boxes didn't work well for me, long term.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2008, 06:38:48 AM by Cheese Head »

Offline reg

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Re: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2008, 08:25:36 AM »
hi Ch. here in Niagara at this time of the year it is usually hot and very humid. the winters are cooler, right around freezing or lower most times.

i find making the cheese is one thing but aging is a totally different animal. during the winter spring and fall i can use my curing/drying room but at this time of the year my big coolers seem to work good. still have to maintain them every day but until i can come up with something better things will stay the same for now.

what i would like to have for an affinage cave is a stand up cooler arrangement, fridge size would be perfect. even if i find a commercial double door cooler i think i could work with that. install some wood shelving (removable) install a 'sock' where the cool air enters the cooling chamber to cut the forced air to about 20% of what it usually is. would prefer to have the interior panels all plastic. lot of things to think about first though

reg
reg

Offline DaggerDoggie

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Re: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2008, 02:35:06 PM »
Reg, even though you are only about four hours from me, you climate seems to be a little more temperate.   Ours ranges from hot, humid summers, with many days in the 90 degree range, but mostly in the 70's to 80's, still with lots of humidity (I have no air conditioning), to cold, white winters.  We get a fair amount of snow and will remain below freezing from December through mid March, with several days in the minus teens and twenties.

My basement was the perfect cheese cave until June hit and the temperature got warmer which is why I got the freezer to keep my cheese in.  My basement probably has too little humidity in the winter.

Offline Tea

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Re: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2008, 05:54:56 PM »
For me, as I have said in another post, I live in the tropics of North Queensland, and that means that summers are mid 90's with humidity between 85% - 95%.
Winters are mild and nights usually get down to around 8 - 12C with humidity in the 60's.
So attempting to age a cheese through summer is all but impossible and I lost everything that I first made through summer.
I have just set up an esky with a frozen milk bottle in it and the temp ranged between 12 -14c, and hopefully the condensation from the bottle will keep the humidity up too.
Just starting this, so it is still in the experimentation stage.
Lets hope.


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2008, 06:18:20 PM »
Wow, so far we have a large range of climates and cheese cave solutions. That better explains why what works for one person at one time of the year doesn't always for another.

Tea, it looks like so far I have closest climate but not as humid/warm as you. Like reg said above, aging cheeses at constant T & RH is a big problem especially in hot climates with no cool place to work with, the only good thing we have an abundance of humidity to work with :).

I've ended up after 4 different trials with my Cheese Cave #5 which is following DD with a small chest style non-forced air freezer and external thermostat. Expensive, but so far working much better that anything else. Good luck with the esky - cooler road.

Offline flea

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Re: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2008, 09:18:15 AM »
This is my first posting, so I hope I'm not repeating.  I live in Virginia and am a newbie at cheese making, but have been okay at Cheddar, some Stilton and not so good at Gouda.  I have a basement (actually there was a well built in underground that is no longer being used.  I'm trying to find a way to age 50-60 cheeses--I thought a wine cooler would work but the mfg says that I can't control the temp.  Any suggestions to creating a small cave--I know someone who could install a walls, refrigeration  etc.

Offline Brian

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Re: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2008, 10:43:44 AM »
You can use a wine chiller but you have to buy one of these:
http://leeners.com/cheeseequipmnt.html#controls
The thermostat lets you raise the temperture to 55F.  You would then only need to worry about humidity.
B

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Climate & Impacts On Affinage (Aging)
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2008, 06:08:27 AM »
flea & Brian, both Dagger Doggie and I bought one of those Johnson Controls thermostats here in USA for controlling temp of small chest freezers, but both found that as sealed machines, the humidity was too high.