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GENERAL CHEESE MAKING BOARDS (Specific Cheese Making in Boards above) => EQUIPMENT - Aging Cheese, Everything Except Caves => Topic started by: Boofer on August 20, 2012, 08:54:11 AM

Title: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Boofer on August 20, 2012, 08:54:11 AM
You know, there's a product that (IMHO) none of the cheesemaking retailers carry right now.

I'm fairly certain that spruce boards to age cheese on are not in anyone's inventory. When I went looking, it was difficult to even find spruce lumber local to where I live. I had to travel up to Seattle to find mine. Other folks may want to put spruce ripening boards to work in their process but don't have a clue where to get the boards. If they were fortunate enough to locate a source for the spruce, then there's the cutting to size and finishing. I was lucky that my Dad has the woodworking shop to complete my boards. I think if someone offered boards in a couple sizes that would fit into typical ripening boxes, they would fill a cheesemaking niche.

Just sayin'....

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Tomer1 on August 20, 2012, 09:39:03 AM
Is spruch the same as cedar?  We have plenty growing around here. 
How do you use the board? (clean and maintain)
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: BobE102330 on August 20, 2012, 09:41:56 AM
Ooh! An excuse to buy tools!  I'll have to see if I can source spruce locally...
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: linuxboy on August 20, 2012, 10:06:32 AM
Boofer, why spruce and not any of the other fine species of wood we have in the PNW?
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: bbracken677 on August 20, 2012, 10:24:02 AM
Surely spruce (a type of pine) grows in the northwest...??

Cedar is very different from spruce and would not make a good choice at all. Too much cedar aroma ... I am sure that would taint your cheeses and cheese cave. Once upon a time chests were made of cedar to store clothes and such in since the smell of the wood would keep away moths.

Somewhere I read that birch would be a decent choice....white oak also. If I had my dad's woodshop I might make an attempt to fill the niche...he has/had virtually every kind of wood working gizmo you can think of.   LoL he had a shopsmith but got tired of changing the configuration so he set it up as a lathe and then bought a table band saw, etc etc.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Tiarella on August 20, 2012, 11:54:29 AM
I thought the boards were supposed to be rough cut boards, not planed or sanded at all.  That's what I've read.  Of course, the ends and edges could be planed and sanded I suppose....if one needed to have a good reason to buy tools!  (I have sympathy with you there!)
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: BobE102330 on August 20, 2012, 12:01:46 PM
I would think Birch is pretty neutral, but oak might impart a flavor that may or may not be desirable - think oaked wines.

Seems like rough cut would be good for aging a cheese with an established rind, but would be hard to clean when used for the early stages of affinage.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: opalcab on August 20, 2012, 12:18:17 PM
Spruce Is Hard to find any more because it was only used for trim around the eves of the house or around window or door trim
so you will have to fined it at a hard wood retailer becaues it is not use much on houses any more just for cabinets or fine wood working
sorry I know it is not about cheese only your wood topic.
have fun making cheese
Stan
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Tiarella on August 20, 2012, 12:34:39 PM
If someone wants some rough cut spruce I can ask around the small saw mills around here.  Shouldn't be too much of a problem. I'm in the North East and we have spruce here.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Susie on August 20, 2012, 12:49:45 PM
Spruce is easy to find where I live. This type of deal is very regional. I'm guessing there's lots of fir up in the PNW. Not sure at all which woods would be good or not for this. But spruce and tools? I have that. Hmmm.  8)
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Oude Kaas on August 20, 2012, 07:21:47 PM
Got a whole bunch of Spruce boards recently from a small local sawmill to put in my aging room. Now I am trying to fill these boards with cheese. I made my first two batches last week. Here is the result so far.

Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Boofer on August 20, 2012, 07:27:20 PM
Boofer, why spruce and not any of the other fine species of wood we have in the PNW?
Okay, suggestions for cheese ripening? I'm a newbie in this arena and all I've seen referenced are spruce. I think there's a thread or two that discuss possible alternatives.

From this thread (http://www.cheesemaking.com/includes/modules/jWallace/OnLineNews/NewsFiles/Cave/Cave2.html):
"The shelves I use here are a mix of pine and ash. These 2 materials I find to work quite well and are easy to keep clean. Other woods such as oak and maple are somewhat problematic in that they stain the cheeses."

I just thought it unusual that no one seems to sell boards of any kind.

Got a whole bunch of Spruce boards recently from a small local sawmill to put in my aging room. Now I am trying to fill these boards with cheese. I made my first two batches last week. Here is the result so far.
Yet another spruce devotee....

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: linuxboy on August 20, 2012, 07:44:42 PM
Our native hem and fir right over from Shelton or anywhere past that on 12 or nearby areas work just fine. So does pine. Find a sawmill and you can buy the rough cut slabs straight from the bandsaw.  Dry them out and you'll be set.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Oude Kaas on August 20, 2012, 08:22:44 PM
Got pine in the cave too. Just got spruce because sawmill had it handy. Not a devotee, sorry.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: hoeklijn on August 21, 2012, 01:25:12 AM
I still have to find out what it is exactly, but there are people here selling old wood from cheese warehouses for a lot of money http://www.vanderleedenhout.nl/index.php?id=oudekaasplanken (http://www.vanderleedenhout.nl/index.php?id=oudekaasplanken) (Sorry for the Dutch language...) I'm pretty sure it's pine, just like OudeKaas is using...

I have to correct something: Part of it they transformed into wood for floors, but they have also wood that is unchanged and originates from cheese warehouses. For that you pay about 3 euro's for a shelf of 25-35 cm deep, 110-130 cm long and 15-22 mm thick. And that's a nice price...
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: psearle on August 21, 2012, 05:10:18 AM
I use Tulipwood (American Poplar) which I buy rough sawn and put through a planer/thicknesser for lots of small woodworking projects.  It is easy to work, easy to clean and inexpensive compared to many other hardwoods.  I've been using some planed boards of this in my freezer based cheese cave and the cheeses are fine on it. 

Peter
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Oude Kaas on August 21, 2012, 06:03:21 AM
Quote
I still have to find out what it is exactly
That looks like pine, traditionally and commonly used in the Netherlands.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Boofer on August 21, 2012, 08:41:05 AM
Good discussion. So far, in the negative column, there's maple and cedar. Otherwise, it looks like pretty much everything else is usable for cheese aging shelves.

Up to this point I have been using a selection of plastic grids to elevate my cheeses in their minicaves (ripening boxes) so whey can drain and air can circulate. Should I rethink that now and begin ripening/aging all my cheeses on wood? What benefits does the cheese derive from sitting on wood? I know that the wood draws moisture out of the cheese. What else? Should anyone (everyone?) making cheese move to wood?

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Susie on August 21, 2012, 11:10:53 AM
I'm having thoughts about the rules for wood cutting boards - which types of wood are okay and sealing them with regular coats of mineral oil. How is this sanitary with softer woods like spruce?

Secondly there is a taste factor and it will be interesting to see all the thoughts and experiences offered on that. I can only say that I use hard rock maple for a cutting board; I've had oak cheese boards - the type with the glass dome on top for storing your cheese - that didn't impart a flavor and I once had a pine one that did. I pitched it.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: hoeklijn on August 21, 2012, 01:30:47 PM
Should I rethink that now and begin ripening/aging all my cheeses on wood?
-Boofer-

As Oude Kaas stated and can been seen from the amount that they are selling on the website I mentioned, it is used a lot in The Netherlands and Oude Kaas is also using it in his cave. I wouldn't know what the advantages are, besides price. In the Dutch situation it can't be a matter of giving a special taste to the cheese because all cheeses will be coated. Anyway, in my opinion plastic is more easy to clean.
Reminding some other discussions here on the forum (about wooden presses and other tools), I'm a bit surprised that wooden shelves are allowed in (parts of the?) US. 
If I'm going to get milk Saturday morning and the cheese maker himself is milking, I'll ask his opinion...
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Tiarella on August 21, 2012, 01:55:59 PM
But having read that the wood should be rough it doesn't make sense to seal it. 
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: smolt1 on August 21, 2012, 02:52:18 PM
   From a woodworkers ( and amateur cheese maker ) perspective all wood can collect little bad things in its cellular structure. If you take a very thin slice of any wood ( hard or soft ) and hold it to the light, you will see many spaces for little bad things to hide. For instance maple is much less porous than oak ,but maple still has lots of small voids.
   For this reason I wouldn't use a wood follower when pressing, but after a rind has developed storage on wood may be a different story.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: iratherfly on August 21, 2012, 04:20:28 PM
Boofer - I am on it!  Finding sprouce boards ASAP.

Oude Kaas - Really want to see the new space already!  Are these cheeses from the new moulds? Maybe I can get the Spruce where you get it.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Susie on August 21, 2012, 05:01:05 PM
Here is some info I found regarding concerns about sanitizing wood: (appears to be good news)

Survival of Listeria monocytogenes after cleaning and sanitation of wooden shelves used for cheese ripening
http://scienceindex.com/stories/164003/Survival_of_Listeria_monocytogenes_after_cleaning_and_sanitation_of_wooden_shelves_used_for_cheese_ripening.html#.UDPpUqlmSew (http://scienceindex.com/stories/164003/Survival_of_Listeria_monocytogenes_after_cleaning_and_sanitation_of_wooden_shelves_used_for_cheese_ripening.html#.UDPpUqlmSew)

COLIFORM COUNTS IN CHEESE
http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/High_coliform_counts_in_cheese.shtml (http://www.dairyfoodsconsulting.com/High_coliform_counts_in_cheese.shtml)
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: smolt1 on August 21, 2012, 06:12:55 PM
So on wood Listeria survives with washing but not with heat sanitizing. Susie, thanks for that good source of experimental information.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: linuxboy on August 21, 2012, 06:51:15 PM
Yes, also, there is not much special property around spruce. It's used because it's cheap and commonly available (epicea in Europe). Meaning for wood shelves, best to use whatever is commonly available and that does not impart strong flavor and is not dangerous (no mahogany, exotic woods, etc)
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: iratherfly on August 22, 2012, 12:26:46 AM
Don't forget that you would  be washing the shelves with salt AND boiling water. Salinity kills listeria too. Then you need to dry it in SUNLIGHT. The UV rays continues to disinfect it.

To add to Pav's comment, Spruce is nice not only for its density, strength and its bacterial resistance (though not anti bacterial). Unlike many other woods, it doesn't leave tannins and other woody off aromas/flavors on the cheese.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Sailor Con Queso on August 22, 2012, 07:31:35 AM
For anyone wanting to sell cheese professionally, keep in mind that many (most) inspectors will not approve of aging on wood. Even minor sanitation problems can make them nervous. It took me quite some time to convince my inspector to let me use wood. FYI - I'm using aged pine that does not leach sap or resins.

I have not heard what the FDA's official position is regarding use and sanitation of wood in the new Food Safety Act. But, given that they are so paranoid about Listeria right now, they must have a formal protocol in place. For example, they might require steam cleaning of the wood after every batch of cheese. I age natural rind for a month, so I rotate 4 sets of shelves - one for each week. To compromise with my inspector, after a shelf is used, I clean with bleach and that shelf "rests" for a week to air out before it is used again.

My next challenge will be talking my inspector into letting me age for a month on straw. Should be an interesting discussion. :)
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: linuxboy on August 22, 2012, 08:14:33 AM
FDA considers wood porous, therefore uncleanable, therefore unsanitary. Has been that way for many years. Salt does kill listeria, but the thing about it to consider is that is very readily forms biofilm, which is very persistent and hard to remove. Salt wouldn't be too effective against biofilm.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Sailor Con Queso on August 22, 2012, 01:56:10 PM
So.... under the Food Safety Modernization Act, is the FDA essentially banning aging on wood for commercial producers?
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: hoeklijn on August 25, 2012, 04:16:44 AM
When picking up milk this morning I asked about the shelves the farmer is using and he doesn't know what kind of wood it is. He's using them for ages and all he knows is that it isn't oak, beech or pine. Once in a while it's cleaned with bleach and once a year they are taken outside to clean them with a hard brush and abrasive. But remember, no natural rinds are used, all is coated...
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Boofer on August 26, 2012, 09:06:26 PM
I found this reference sleuthing around the net:

"Abondance, a name-controlled cheese from the Savoy region of France, is made with fresh partially-skimmed milk and formed into 20-pound wheels. Aged for three months on spruce planks, the cheese is repeatedly washed with a saltwater brine to develop the natural rind. This extraordinary cheese is similar to Gruyere de Comte, but more complex and buttery. It has a firm texture, nutty flavor, and a distinctive fruitiness. While the strong aroma of this cheese may be a bit off-putting, the flavor is divine. In addition to being a delicious table cheese, Abondance melts nicely and is often substituted for Raclette."

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: hoeklijn on August 27, 2012, 01:45:56 AM
I read this weekend an article about allergies and the fact that the amount of people that are having an allergy (specially for different kind of foods) is raising sky-high in the "civilized world".
As one of the main reason for this was mentioned that "modern" people are not enough exposed to yeasts and bacteria that used to be quite common. A statistically proofed fact here in the Netherlands is that children raised on farms suffer less from allergies than children raised in cities...
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: psearle on August 27, 2012, 02:46:55 AM
You have a good point there, Herman.  All my grandchildren and their little friends seem to be allergic to this, that or the other. 

The way I explain is that, when I was a young boy in the 1940s, my family was just too poor to afford allergies; if something was there to be eaten you ate it and you asked for more!  We also played outside a lot, got filthy dirty (and got walloped for it), got cuts and grazes and a liberal dose of dirt in them yet remained obstinately healthy! 

Peter
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Boofer on August 27, 2012, 09:04:39 AM
I would agree, Peter.

Back when I was growing up, we'd play outside until it got dark and Mom called us in to supper. We ate and fell asleep exhausted from our "play". If we got a scrape, we might have gotten a Band-Aid...maybe not. We exercised through this "play", slept sell, and ate unadulterated and little-processed food. That's another area where we humans have done ourselves a disservice: processed foods. Instead of fast food, kids (and adults) should be eating slow food.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Tiarella on August 27, 2012, 11:26:09 AM
@ Boofer,  yeah my childhood was like that too.  Outside playing all the time, mostly in the woods.  My brother and I played mountain man using sticks for our long rifles.  We got called in for dinner and sometimes went back outside to play.  We got dirty, built forts, had plenty of scrapes and bruises.  My great grandmother used to say that a child had to have consumed a pound of dirt to become an adult.  (not all at one time though!)  Actually, I remember playing house with my older brother.  I'd be the housewife baking (mud) cookies, serving him (mud) coffee and (mud) cakes, etc.  My  children played in the dirt a lot.  They also learned about anatomy from the guts of chickens on butchering days.  That was the life!  I wish children these days had less scheduled activities and more time to find out what they really felt like doing and then doing it.
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: hoeklijn on August 27, 2012, 01:25:57 PM
Yes, those were the days, my friend...
I grew up in a real town (The Hague) but as a child of "the working class". I was playing outside whenever it was possible, went fishing outside of town, playing football (sorry, soccer) and getting dirty. During the summer (and often at Eastern) I spend my holidays on the farm of my uncle and aunt, helping with the cows, sheep and digging up bulbs. I'm living now in what's about the last street in our village and I'm making sure my kids also play outside as much as possible. Yes, they watch TV, play or their Wii or DS, but they have limited "screen-time" per day...
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: smolt1 on August 27, 2012, 03:30:32 PM
Just to bring this full circle.

When I was in the 6Th grade ( countless years ago ) the vice principle had a wooden paddle in his office to instill second thoughts about misbehaving. I'll bet it was Spruce!
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Boofer on August 28, 2012, 08:09:42 AM
I'll bet it was Spruce!
First-hand knowledge?  ;)

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Susie on August 28, 2012, 04:37:56 PM
You guys are so much fun.  ;D
Title: Re: Boards, For Aging Cheeses On - Wood Type
Post by: Tiarella on August 28, 2012, 04:40:18 PM
Yeah they are!