Author Topic: My new cave  (Read 2501 times)

Offline Caseus

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My new cave
« on: April 28, 2012, 08:56:35 PM »
Woohoo.  This is my very first cheese cave.  It's a 4.4 cubic foot Danby DAR440BL, refrigerator only, no freezer.  I'm sure I'll fill it up before long and I'll wish I'd gotten something bigger, but honestly I'll have to get a bigger house to fit a larger refrigerator.  Regardless, I'm very excited to finally be able to age cheese at the right temperature. 

Speaking of temperature, I'm running it off of a Ranco ETC 111000-000 digital electronic controller.  I've got it set for a target temperature of 53°F with a hysteresis of 3 degrees.  That should give me an operating range of 50 to 56 degrees.  In addition to the Ranco, I've also got a Thermoworks RT817E remote probe thermo - hygrometer installed to measure humidity and to give me another temperature feed to compare to the Ranco.   I'm not too worried about the humidity right now since all my cheeses are waxed.

Those are my first four cheeses inside.  The red one on top is a farmhouse cheddar.  The yellow one next to it is a colby.  On the lower shelf, the red one is my most recent cheese, a plain Monterrey Jack.  The bigger yellow one is my first Habanero and Jalepeno Pepper Jack. 




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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2012, 10:49:42 PM »
WooHoo! Your on a roll! Nice mini cave. I like the mini caves I use two for different stages of aging. One is so small it sits on my microwave.

Offline Boofer

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2012, 12:32:51 AM »
Excellent! Looks good. Sounds like you have all the bases covered.

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Offline Caseus

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 01:26:19 AM »
I made my first cheese on 3/20, and my my most recent cheese on 4/22.  They have been in my regular refrigerator at a temperature of around 36°F until today when my cave came online.  Since 36°F is tool cold, I will just start counting my aging on these four cheeses from today.  Does that sound right?

Offline MrsKK

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2012, 01:39:21 AM »
Yeah, I'd say that's about right.  For my first three years of cheesemaking, my cave for the wintertime was a cabinet in my basement, where it stayed about 55 degrees all the time.  From April through November, though, the cheese had to be in my spare fridge, which was set to 38 degrees to keep the milk good and cold.  I forgot a cheese in there for over a year and it was lovely when I re-discovered it, but like a three to four month aged cheese.  That cold really slows down the ageing.


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Offline Caseus

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2012, 11:48:14 AM »
So when a cheese gets to a level of aging that you're satisfied with and you don't want it to age any more, you can put it in your regular cold refrigerator for "cryogenic suspended affinage".  Sort of.   ;) 

Does that "suspended affinage" work for soft cheeses too, like Camembert, Brie, Crottin, and so forth, or just for hard and semi-hard cheeses?  It seems to me like a big wheel of commercial Brie continues to age in my regular refrigerator over the two or three weeks it takes me to eat it.  Maybe it's not really aging so much as drying out, but it does seem to get stronger.  On the other hand, I had a 2 lb block of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar stuck in the back of my fridge unseen for nearly a year, and when I finally opened it, it seemed hardly different from one I'd just bought.

Offline knipknup

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2012, 02:47:24 PM »
nice cave *fighting the envy*
Cheesy man, totally cheesy

Offline Caseus

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2012, 06:25:12 PM »
I've been monitoring my humidity, and it had been at 48% persistently until just a little while ago.  It's climbed to 51%.  So clearly I'm going to need to do something to increase the humidity in order to have anything other than waxed or vacuum bagged cheeses in there.   Tonight when I turn the cheeses, I'll add a bowl of water with a towel wick and then watch for a couple of days to see what happens.

Offline anutcanfly

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2012, 08:53:19 PM »
Your going to have a lot of fun filling it up!  Sadly, you do eventually and then you have to figure out how to fit or justify a new cave! Cheese making is addictive!
Early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese!

Offline Boofer

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 08:26:37 AM »
I've been monitoring my humidity, and it had been at 48% persistently until just a little while ago.  It's climbed to 51%.  So clearly I'm going to need to do something to increase the humidity in order to have anything other than waxed or vacuum bagged cheeses in there.   Tonight when I turn the cheeses, I'll add a bowl of water with a towel wick and then watch for a couple of days to see what happens.
Again...ripening boxes ("minicaves") get the job done. Search on the forum.

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Offline Hande

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 12:58:13 PM »
Long ripening cheeses you need to use vac / wax or humidifier.
I use now ultrasonic + humidity controller http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,8708.0.html

Hande

Offline Caseus

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 01:22:50 PM »
Boofer, I have a Rubbermaid 9.4L (40 cup) plastic container that I bought for ripening, and it fits in the cave very nicely.  I takes up a whole shelf.  It looks like the right size for about 4 Camembert.  I'll plan on using that since my experiment with water in a bowl hasn't increased the humidity much. 

Hande, I really like your system.  I'm not quite ready to step up to a system like that, or to the committment to clean and change the water frequently.  But I might go that route in the future if I find the minicave approach too limiting.

Offline Hande

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2012, 07:10:17 PM »
Caseus, I mean if you like make some parm and ripening it, ->6 - 24 month's you need more air movement and humidity to get real thing.
And what is your humidity system anyway, you need keep it clean, even bowl of water and cloth :)

Hande

Offline Tomer1

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2012, 08:01:07 PM »
Long ripening cheeses you need to use vac / wax or humidifier.
I use now ultrasonic + humidity controller http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,8708.0.html

Hande


Do you add bleach to your humidifier when replacing the water or do you clean and wash the whole thing each time?

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Re: My new cave
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2012, 08:12:09 PM »
there are quite a few mini humidifiers at fairly cheep prices, short search brought up this,
it doesn't seem like some of them would take up to much room
act as if it were impossible to fail.