Nathan from Montreal here. This is my first post and am jumping into this thread because it seems closest to my enquiry.
My post is about setting up a proper cheese cave for my needs. I wish to upgrade from a very cramped bar fridge with a drippy little freezer, to something larger and better as my cheese production has become more diverse.
Mozzarellas and ricottas aside, I've made two Cambozolas, a Gouda and a Cheddar. The two pressed cheeses went off without a hitch and are both in waxy slumber right now.
The more picky bloomy rinds of the Cambozolas were more difficult to control. The cheese boxes I chose to age them in were for individual wheels and were much too small. ie. no breathing room and too much condensation buildup. The P. Candidium grew very well but after a few weeks, the rinds ended up getting grey, slimy sections that were too moist. In the end the first batch looked a little gross but was delicious. The second batch spoiled entirely.
So I'm starting fresh with bigger cheese boxes. and looking for a bigger fridge and better control for humidity and condensation.
My query applies to long and short term aging of different cheeses side by side; specifically bloomy rinds, waxed, pressed cheeses and non-waxed, pressed cheeses like Gruyere (my next project).
How much can we rely exclusively on cheese boxes for humidity? Is there a need for ambient, in-fridge humidity control if cheese boxes are used?
I've noticed from some posts on the site that Hande, amongst others, has set up an impressive humidification system with a controller which, I assume, is controlling the entire relative humidity in his cave/fridge. I am more than ready to do the same, but would like to know if this is necessary for my needs. A bloomy rind and a Gruyere will need a good 90% RH to age (in separate boxes of course), where my waxed cheeses don't need so much. Would boxes be fine for the high RH cheeses and ambient humidity for long term aging for the Cheddar and Goudas? I expect the changing seasons will make a difference as well.
If the general consensus is that an ambient humidification system is indeed best I would love to have any updated advice from your experiences on ideas for equipment (fridges, controllers, humidifiers etc.) as well as any tips on setting it all up.
Many thanks for your patience and assistance.