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GENERAL CHEESE MAKING BOARDS (Specific Cheese Making in Boards above) => EQUIPMENT - Aging Cheese, Caves => Topic started by: Tiarella on October 16, 2012, 06:48:38 PM

Title: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on October 16, 2012, 06:48:38 PM
I'd love to see how others are doing these things.  I'll post a photo of my mini wine fridge and then a photo or two showing how I keep cheeses up above the bottom of the mini-caves by using an upside-down jar lid with cheese matting over that. The lid is about a half inch high and the matting provides air circulation option even for the bit of cheese directly over the lid. 

Please also post photos of your cheeses in the cave with notes about the care you're giving them or what you're going for.
For instance, I'll also post by Cabra de Vino style and show that it's got a few white spots of mold on it that I rubbed away with clean finger tips after the photo session.  Then there's the cheese massaged with a paste of smoked paprika and olive oil.  That one is developing molds on it (what shows up dark in the photo is moistness, not mold) and I'm not quite sure what to do about that one.  Any hints???  The paste is a bit moist yet to rub with any vigor so I guess I have to just pat it down.  Would LOVE ideas about that.

My cave inventory is a couple of Parmesans and a Manchego style that were lightly rubbed with a tiny bit of olive oil.  I have some vacuum packed Caerphillies and some Italian Basket style cheeses and a Valancay style (but wrong shape mold) as well.  The fancy leaf wrapped Valencay style have been moved up into the kitchen fridge although still in a mini=cave rather than paper wrapped.  I'll post a recent photo of one of those too.  The latest cheese visible in the wine fridge is another Caerphilly that I hope to do a natural rind on. 

Please note:  I wish I had more room for larger mini-cave containers but I don't.  With my lid and mesh technique I can keep the cheese up off moisture and by keeping the lid ajar I can allow more air circulation than a big cheese in a small closed box could offer.  I wipe down any moisture I find. 

I'm looking forward to seeing other styles and getting some ideas.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Al Lewis on November 25, 2012, 12:26:05 PM
Well I've just started out making cheese, as a hobby, in a small way.  Prior to actually making anything I decided that I needed a place to age the cheese in place before I could make it.  After looking at every small fridge in the area I stumbled upon a 6.9 cubic foot Igloo upright freezer (Best Buy $179.00).  It seemed perfect for my needs as far as size and configuration.  I also picked up a Johnson controls remote thermostat for $45.00 and installed it in the freezer by drilling a hole through the back and running the probe into the freezer and under the center shelf.  I then sealed the hole with silicone. To this I added a thermometer/hygrometer of the non-electrical variety which I attached to the inside of the door with industrial double back tape.  I set the thermostat for 56 degrees and let the freezer sit for several days to normalize.  Much to my happiness when I checked on it the temperature was right at 56 and the hygrometer read 85%.  Been making cheese like crazy since and am really enjoying it. ;D
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: H-K-J on November 25, 2012, 12:51:58 PM
Say Al you have whey (  ;) ) to much room in there, looks like to me yuh need to get more cheeses in there :o
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: bbracken677 on November 25, 2012, 01:02:01 PM
This is my setup, including some mini-cave solutions I am using:
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Al Lewis on November 25, 2012, 08:20:32 PM
Say Al you have whey (  ;) ) to much room in there, looks like to me yuh need to get more cheeses in there :o

I just started making cheese in October. LOL  Just tasted my first Camembert today.  Everything else is still aging.  I have added two more 4 pounds wheels and two 3 pound ones and have a 4 pound Swiss in the press. May be getting crowded soon at this rate. LOL
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on November 26, 2012, 06:09:27 AM
Yeah Al,  you'll be in trouble with space issues soon in your cave!   ;). Do keep posting photos of it!  I do really like your set up though.  My wine fridge is way too small and the shelves aren't of a good size for the boxes I've been able to find.  I am thinking of creating a small insulated cheese cave in the basement.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Gobae on November 26, 2012, 10:58:29 AM
I'm in the process weighing my options for building a cave now this is a great thread!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tobiasrer on November 26, 2012, 11:06:16 AM
I have also just started so trying to get going with minimal costs. So far i have been able to use just a tupperware box and store in my cold room. The temp has maintained between 10C to 12C for over a month now, I need to start keeping an eye on the moisture soon if I am not keeping it all in boxes to control it but then i guess if i vac pac all I need is really to worry about temp which seems ok so far. I Found a great container at Walmart by starfrit that has a rack in it, not as deep is I will eventualy need but working GREAT for my 2lbs cheeses, I will post soem pics soon.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Montie Derby on November 26, 2012, 08:32:22 PM
Here are some photos of my chest freeze, and one of my dorm fridge. (I have two 'caves').   I made 4 PVC shelves and zip ties to affix 'shelving' and needlepoint sheets. I did that so I could run through dishwasher etc.  I hope this helps / is of interest. 

1.  Without affixing the fluorescent lighting grid ..
2.  Sample shelf
3.  8" tomme mold to give example of clearance.

- Montie
Petaluma, CA, USA
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Montie Derby on November 26, 2012, 08:34:15 PM
Here are some more shots of my cave  - Montie
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: H-K-J on November 26, 2012, 08:40:22 PM
Montie that is cool 8) what a great Idea.
maybe one day I will have a real controllable cheese cave :)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Montie Derby on November 26, 2012, 08:56:16 PM
For what it is worth, here is my second cave... a dorm fridge...
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Al Lewis on November 26, 2012, 08:58:49 PM
I may be in need of one of those. LOL
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: H-K-J on November 26, 2012, 09:03:06 PM
I have to say the use of the egg crate  for shelving has given me so many ideas, can't believe I hadn't thought of it 8)
A cheese tuh you, great ideas ;D
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on November 26, 2012, 10:40:31 PM
Montie,  I like your set up!  In the chest freezer how do you have access to the cheeses on the lower levels?  Or do you reserve the lower levels for cheese not needing attention?  I use the fluorescent light grids too on one of my shelves but I still have those stupid wavy wine racks.  I need to replace those.  The lighting grids aren't strong enough for to use them without some other support......especially when I've got a lot of cheese.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on November 26, 2012, 10:45:35 PM
This is my setup, including some mini-cave solutions I am using:

BBracken, I like your set up. Where do you get those boxes with the grid/rack in the bottom?  Are they BPA free?

Gobae, What type of cave are you thinking about building?  Insulated room in house with air conditioner and coolbot?  Cellar room?  Cave?

Love hearing about how others are figuring the cave thing out!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Montie Derby on November 26, 2012, 11:09:59 PM
Tiarella:  I have to pull up and out each shelf and, yes, I do put waxed or bagged cheese down 'below' to age longer.  Keeping them deep below puts them out of mind and helps me combat the urge to 'bust open' cheese too early.   I had the same issue with the fluorescent grids but the solution I came up with is using metal mesh cake cooling rack.. you know the ones to cool cakes and cookies on.  I cut them with a hacksaw to fit the dimentions of my dorm fridge... I took out the shelves that came with the fridge  and slid the cake rack into the slots.  It was rigid enough to support the grid and the rack allowed air to circulate.   A little bend but nothing that messed up the cheeses. 

Upside of a chest freezer is that it retains humidity.  I find it easier to get it out (damp rid, salt) then to put it in like with a Dorm Fridge.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: bbracken677 on November 27, 2012, 07:45:36 AM
This is my setup, including some mini-cave solutions I am using:


BBracken, I like your set up. Where do you get those boxes with the grid/rack in the bottom?  Are they BPA free?




I got that (2 of them, the one with the 2 blues in it) at "The Container Store" here in Dallas...you can also buy online.  The container and grid come together, I just cut the legs off so it would sit lower. I then cut out the center of the lid so that I can adjust the humidity...I can adjust the RH from between about 60% up to 95%.
 
The larger one (with the cams) I got at target or walmart...forget which. The grid inside is a brie grid I bought online somewhere.

I looked and I do not see them listed on the website...but I did find this, which looks interesting for cheese: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodStorage?productId=10020413&N=176+1000041&Ns=p_price_sort%7C1 (http://www.containerstore.com/shop/kitchen/foodStorage?productId=10020413&N=176+1000041&Ns=p_price_sort%7C1)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on November 27, 2012, 08:45:46 PM
I'll check for boxes next time I'm near civilization.  I'm enjoying using the light grid inside the boxes I have.  And I just got an order from iratherfly and it included some stiff mesh that I'm liking very much.  it is stiff enough that I can just put it over a couple of bottle lids and it'll hold a cheese up.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Gobae on November 28, 2012, 09:37:19 PM
Quote
Gobae, What type of cave are you thinking about building?  Insulated room in house with air conditioner and coolbot?  Cellar room?  Cave?

I've got an old mini-fridge that was designed for soda sales (so it has glass sides and door). Once I take measurements to make sure it'll fit down the stairs, I plan to put it down in my basement.

Since the house was built in 1860 it's got a deep, dark earthen basement that stays about 50-60F on it's own but it can high or lower than that during seasonal extremes. The minifridge will take care of evening that out (at least during the summers). I haven't figured out what to do in the winters when the basement can get as cold as 40-45F though.  Eventually I want to take as much advantage of the cellar as possible and build two rooms; one for cheese and one as a root cellar.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Case at the Fæt on November 28, 2012, 10:11:31 PM
I bought some spruce boards for in my cave.  So far I've struggled to keep the humidity high enough, I've been averaging about 70% by putting a shallow pan in the bottom and dampening cotton strips and laying them on the wood, but it's still not enough.  Anyone know of a good mister or other humidifier that I could use so that I can keep the humidity up around 80% for my alpine style cheeses?[/img]
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Montie Derby on November 28, 2012, 11:27:36 PM
Case:  regarding humidity...

Here is a forum discussion from 2010 about improving humidity in mini-caves:

http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,2029.msg33198.html#msg33198 (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,2029.msg33198.html#msg33198)

I use this brand of personal humidifier.  It works for me ( just wish the cord was thinner):

http://m.walgreens.com/mt/www.walgreens.com/store/c/walgreens-compact-personal-ultrasonic-humidifier/ID=prod6040512-product (http://m.walgreens.com/mt/www.walgreens.com/store/c/walgreens-compact-personal-ultrasonic-humidifier/ID=prod6040512-product)

You use a plastic water bottle as the reservoir.

They have another, seemingly smaller unit:

http://m.walgreens.com/mt/www.walgreens.com/store/c/air-o-swiss-travel-ultrasonic-humidifier/ID=prod6042732-product (http://m.walgreens.com/mt/www.walgreens.com/store/c/air-o-swiss-travel-ultrasonic-humidifier/ID=prod6042732-product)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Mike Richards on December 21, 2012, 12:09:47 PM
I meant to post here last month, but forgot.  Here's the space under my basement that I turned into a cave.  I've got more cheese in it now, but it's still pretty sparse (5 cheeses, 17 lbs or so).

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on December 21, 2012, 07:53:07 PM
I meant to post here last month, but forgot.  Here's the space under my basement that I turned into a cave.  I've got more cheese in it now, but it's still pretty sparse (5 cheeses, 17 lbs or so).

Mike, I like it!  it's sort of what I might do but a cheese maker friend told me I'd outgrow and I should wall off a section of the basement to use.  Now I'm not sure....also wondering about burying a shipping container and dividing onto root cellar and cheese cave.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Mike Richards on December 21, 2012, 11:37:57 PM
I would have liked to have buried something, but with 0.16 acres, a trampoline, a hot tub (broken--it was here when we got the place) and all the kids that like to play in what we have of a yard, that just wasn't an option.  Next time we move we will hopefully get a place with some more space--maybe enough to have an animal or two (besides the kids and dog...).
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: sofusryge on December 27, 2012, 04:55:49 PM
This is my cheesecave/winecellar. It's dug out under my garage, and shares a wall with the basement of my house. The temperature fluctuates somewhat through the year, i have recorded it to between 15,5 Celsius (summer) and 9,8 Celsius (winter). I could probably even it out a little by limit the airflow through the room. The humidity is kept in the high eighties to low nineties by pouring out water on the concrete floor at intervals. The walls and ceiling are limewashed.

As i have only been crafting cheeses for a few months, i haven't really got a feel for the caves qualities and limitations yet, but i guess it will come in good time.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on December 27, 2012, 05:04:57 PM
Wow!  That is BEAUTIFUL!!!!  I'm very happy for you!  Wish I had something like that.  Thanks for sharing your photos!  My cheeses are currently all in mini-cave boxes in a cold room in my basement and that works for winter but I'll be in trouble in the summer when the temps rise.  I'll need some new idea before then.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Al Lewis on December 27, 2012, 05:48:40 PM
Floor looks like the floor of a old milking shed we use to keep our Formula Fords in over in England.  Trough ran the length of the place.  Would love to have that setup here.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: mbox on December 27, 2012, 11:13:27 PM
This is the larger Cave
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-FKEaBXrE__g/UNJ870K9jgI/AAAAAAAAJDw/pT5PUUBCB4M/s512/DSC_0145.jpg)

this is the slight smaller Cave :
(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-5ktBYvRSbSw/UNJ-Hpw2dCI/AAAAAAAAJFU/ZdScnaFDkWw/s512/DSC_0148.jpg)

and this the smallest "warm" Cave ( used for temperatures that promote swelling of emmenthal/jarlsberg.. --- yes, it used to be my small barfridge too  :'( ) actually the cheese inside are the 2 jarlsberg
(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-z3jcuNahwpM/UNJ9U16qxDI/AAAAAAAAJEc/mWwX32ECw8A/s512/DSC_0146.jpg)

Please note the "high tech" Gauges for temperature taking :-)

mbox
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: sofusryge on December 28, 2012, 03:37:05 AM
Wow!  That is BEAUTIFUL!!!!  I'm very happy for you!  Wish I had something like that.  Thanks for sharing your photos!  My cheeses are currently all in mini-cave boxes in a cold room in my basement and that works for winter but I'll be in trouble in the summer when the temps rise.  I'll need some new idea before then.

Thanks Tiarella. It was quite a hassle to renovate the cellar, a lot of dirt and concrete to carry in baskets up and down a narrow staircase. It was really just a damp and uninviting root-cellar when we bought the house, i had to excavate a part of the cellar to be able to stand up straight down there.

Floor looks like the floor of a old milking shed we use to keep our Formula Fords in over in England.  Trough ran the length of the place.  Would love to have that setup here.

The trough is actually excavated to be able to stand up straight in the cellar. I did it only down the middle of the room partly to minimize the amount of dirt i had to carry up the stairs, partly due to the fact that I'm digging below the foundation of the house and it's built on unstable ground.

Here are some pics taken during the renovating:

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on December 28, 2012, 05:57:08 AM
Floor looks like the floor of a old milking shed we use to keep our Formula Fords in over in England.  Trough ran the length of the place.  Would love to have that setup here.


The trough is actually excavated to be able to stand up straight in the cellar. I did it only down the middle of the room partly to minimize the amount of dirt i had to carry up the stairs, partly due to the fact that I'm digging below the foundation of the house and it's built on unstable ground.

Here are some pics taken during the renovating:

You really have done a great job transforming that into a useable space. Well done.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on December 28, 2012, 06:40:14 AM
What an impressive amount of work!  Looks wonderful and it's a nice illustration of having a vision and then putting in the sweat it takes to make it happen!  Thanks for the photos of the cave in progress.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on December 28, 2012, 06:42:39 AM

Please note the "high tech" Gauges for temperature taking :-)

mbox

Oh, you have the same type of "high tech" gauges I use!   ;D  I like how many fridges you have.  I'm heading in that direction when warmer weather comes and my cold basement room no longer stays cold. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Al Lewis on December 28, 2012, 10:58:54 AM
Looks like you did a lot of work and got an excellent result.  Awesome job!!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on January 08, 2013, 08:51:03 AM
I just saw this thread. Nice photos. A lot of work there....

Someone that dedicated to the art deserves a cheese. ;)

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: sofusryge on January 08, 2013, 09:27:46 AM
Boofer: Much obliged  8)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: High Altitude on February 28, 2013, 05:27:11 PM
Way late to this thread I realize, but here's my little "cave" with air drying cheeses in top box, 3 black waxed cheeses on the top shelf, and going down a Fontina, 3 Parms, a Gruyere, and finally some soaking sponges on the bottom to boost humidity.  Looking forward to waxing something in yellow and red to add some variety in there...and the waxes showed up in the mail today, yay!

(The pic will probably be small (complaint from the illustrious Boofer ;-) until I figure out a quick way to enlarge for these posts.)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on March 01, 2013, 09:47:05 AM
(The pic will probably be small (complaint from the illustrious Boofer ;-) until I figure out a quick way to enlarge for these posts.)
Sorry to be such a nag. :P

Most of the time the pics we take nowadays are too large and must be resized down, not resized up. What are you using to snap your pics?

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: High Altitude on March 01, 2013, 06:42:50 PM
Boofer, just snapping them on my Droid phone, forwarding to my e-mail to download on my laptop...and then onto the forum. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: sdbennett on March 17, 2013, 10:08:57 AM
My humble little cave.  Inside are my first Brie which is coming along nicely and an Emmental in the cool phase of affinage.

I also have Pepper Jack,Gouda, Havarti and a Colby waiting patiently to be gobbled up. In the spare bedroom is a Jarlsberg in its warm phase of affinage.

sdb
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on March 17, 2013, 02:46:39 PM
Looks great!  Nice to see all those nice cheeses waiting patiently to make your day!   :D. Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: shotski on March 17, 2013, 04:47:50 PM
Well this was to be my cheese cave.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: H-K-J on March 17, 2013, 05:11:39 PM
All you guy's suck! this is what I have to deal with :( :-[
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: shotski on March 17, 2013, 05:35:46 PM
 ;D LMAO. If it wasn't for the wife I would have a room. That said she loves the cheese.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Albert on March 23, 2013, 01:37:21 AM
Hi everyone. This is my mini-cave. It's a little wine cooler with some adaptions. You can see my last batches of hard goat's cheeses. The darker one its a Cabra al Vi, I did a wine bath with some of the local amazing wines. Hope you like it.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on March 23, 2013, 07:16:22 AM
Hi everyone. This is my mini-cave. It's a little wine cooler with some adaptions. You can see my last batches of hard goat's cheeses. The darker one its a Cabra al Vi, I did a wine bath with some of the local amazing wines. Hope you like it.

Those look wonderful!   :D  Thank for sharing the photo with us. I would like to see some closer photos of your cheeses because I do natural rind goat cheese.  If you have close photos of your rinds maybe you could post them here?  it's rare for me to get to see other goat hard cheese with natural rinds. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Albert on March 23, 2013, 11:37:00 AM
Hi Tiarella. I show you two pics of my natural rinds. One at 9 weeks old and the other one at 5 weeks. Hope you like it.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on March 23, 2013, 12:02:50 PM
Hi Tiarella. I show you two pics of my natural rinds. One at 9 weeks old and the other one at 5 weeks. Hope you like it.


Oooh, Thank you!!!!!!    :D  Do you brush them often?  They look great.  Mine are being aged in small boxes in a cold workshop area of our cellar so the moisture isn't perfect for them.  They don't get enough airing out I think.  I still like how mine look but I get more B. linens than I like.  Winter has also made draining the cheese more difficult because the air is so dry from heating our house with firewood that curds don't stay moist enough to keep draining as long as would be best.

Here's a post I did about some of the rinds on cheeses I am aging. 
http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10923.0.html (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,10923.0.html)

I'm still learning how best to handle rinds during aging.  It's fun!   ;)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Albert on March 24, 2013, 02:35:56 PM
Hi again Tiarella.

Yes, I brush them, but not many times, only when the moulds appears. I try to do the same things to all my cheeses, but I don't have always the same results. It's difficult...
Thanks for your comments.
Best regards from Catalunya, southern europe.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on March 24, 2013, 05:17:25 PM
Nice, Albert! :)

Great rinds.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on April 02, 2013, 09:15:08 PM
Hi again Tiarella.

Yes, I brush them, but not many times, only when the moulds appears. I try to do the same things to all my cheeses, but I don't have always the same results. It's difficult...
Thanks for your comments.
Best regards from Catalunya, southern europe.


Albert,  I think I have some nice natural rinds now also!  You can see them here:  http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,11244.0.html (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,11244.0.html)
Maybe you could put some photos there too?  I'd love to see what your cheeses are looking like now.  Or if you have more....   :D
I've been brushing and sometimes rubbing with olive oil.  Sometimes I have had B. linens so bad that the whole basement was stinky!   :o  I tried washing those under running water to make it a bit easier to breath.   ;)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: jwalker on April 03, 2013, 08:43:02 AM
Here's mine , so far , new Swiss top left , three two pound Goudas top right , four one pound Cheddars bottom left , and a two pound Blue in it's own container.

Oh yes , and a Lonzino cured pork loin) in upper rear.

It is a wine cooler that I tweaked to stay at 50-55 degrees , works well so far.

Will probably have to expand to a larger one next year though.

Cheers , Jim.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on April 03, 2013, 10:12:56 AM
Jim, When you expand will it be into another fridge?  Or a freezer with Johnson Control  (or whatever those things are called)?  I have a chest freezer I'm going to have to convert unless a real cheese cave magically appears.  (the easter bunny didn't bring one but I'm eternally optimistic)  These days I have an entire workshop to age cheeses in because it's easy to keep cold in winter.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: CheeWilly on April 11, 2013, 09:47:37 PM
Just finished up my cave tonight.  No cheese yet, because I needed this cave completed before ruining some experiments.  I will be asking alot of questions as I dive into this unique world of cheese.
Picked up a smaller freezer off craigslist for 50 bucks
 (http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130409_125249_zps7841993a.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130409_125249_zps7841993a.jpg.html)
Had an old emergency light box laying around, so I cut some holes to make room for a PID controller to hold the freezer temp steady and to control humidity.
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130409_125322_zpsa4540c55.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130409_125322_zpsa4540c55.jpg.html)
Here are the controllers slid in place to see if the units would fit.
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130409_125349_zps49254dbe.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130409_125349_zps49254dbe.jpg.html)
Cut holes in the back of the box for some plug inserts.  Checking size of holes.
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130409_125442_zpsd808cf56.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130409_125442_zpsd808cf56.jpg.html)
Had to build a bracket for the thermocouple. Good ol aluminum.
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130409_125545_zpsf38bc2a2.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130409_125545_zpsf38bc2a2.jpg.html)
Installed the thermocouple and humidity sensor
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130409_131728_zps53c5760b.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130409_131728_zps53c5760b.jpg.html)
Mounted the box after wiring it up and powered it up.  No smoke
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130409_222144_zps27707ba1.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130409_222144_zps27707ba1.jpg.html)
Drilled a hole in the bottom/back area of the fridge to let fresh air in.  A 1 1/2 PVC coupling fit perfect to line the hole
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130411_201947_zpse957a57d.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130411_201947_zpse957a57d.jpg.html)
Covered the fresh air inlet with a piece of stainless mesh and some air conditioner filter material to keep dust and beasties out. I hear little critters like cheese.
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130411_202022_zps976c5a73.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130411_202022_zps976c5a73.jpg.html)
Next cut in a fan to help dehumidify the cave if the humidity spikes.  This will be controlled by the humidity PID along with the humidifier.
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130411_202053_zpsd93629e5.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130411_202053_zpsd93629e5.jpg.html)
Last was the humidifier installed in the lower area of the cave.
(http://i1284.photobucket.com/albums/a563/tuffsstuff/IMG_20130411_201903_zpsa2463ae7.jpg) (http://s1284.photobucket.com/user/tuffsstuff/media/IMG_20130411_201903_zpsa2463ae7.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on April 11, 2013, 10:10:58 PM
Wish you lived closer.  I'd beg you to come configure something for us here.  I'd trade goat milk?  But alas, you are way far away.  I'll have to do something more simple....      ???
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: CheeWilly on April 12, 2013, 12:35:06 AM
Wish you lived closer.  I'd beg you to come configure something for us here.  I'd trade goat milk?  But alas, you are way far away.  I'll have to do something more simple....      ???
I would gladly do it for you if I was near.  If you have access to a freezer or fridge, you can get the controllers pretty easy online.  I could walk you through it.  The controllers , fan, thermocouple, humidity sensor, and humidifier were about 150 dollars total for everything.  Anyway, if you do decide to do it, I will help anyway possible.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on April 12, 2013, 06:52:38 AM
Wish you lived closer.  I'd beg you to come configure something for us here.  I'd trade goat milk?  But alas, you are way far away.  I'll have to do something more simple....      ???
I would gladly do it for you if I was near.  If you have access to a freezer or fridge, you can get the controllers pretty easy online.  I could walk you through it.  The controllers , fan, thermocouple, humidity sensor, and humidifier were about 150 dollars total for everything.  Anyway, if you do decide to do it, I will help anyway possible.

Thank you!  What a totally lovely and generous offer.  I may take you up on that.  it would probably have to be after I survive kidding and lambing seasons. 

A forum member (Green Zebra) just had her cheese fridge die on her and the repair guy said her Johnson Controller had made it cyclen off and on too much and fried the compressor.  That made me nervous about setting up a similar system but other members seemed to think may e that guy was wrong and the fridge had just outlived it's useful life.  I think she said it was 8 years old?  So, do you have a recommendation if I am looking on Craig's List for a likely candidate?  Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: CheeWilly on April 12, 2013, 03:02:14 PM
The controllers will handle any size upright freezer you choose.  So you will have to pick a size for your room.  My freezer is 59 inches tall, 24 inches wide, and 27 inches deep.  Once everything is set up, the freezer will only run for about 30 seconds every 5 to10 minutes.   The humidifier will run as needed, depending on the load you have in the freezer.  I had a towel placed in the freezer to act as a load of cheese or sausage and after the initial set point was reached, the humidifier stayed off for over an hour, holding 80% humidity and 55 degree temp.  The only thing I would recommend is getting a freezer with removable shelves.  This was an oversight on my part.  Let me know if you want to pursue and I will help you locate the controllers and draw up a wiring diagram for you.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on April 12, 2013, 03:08:15 PM
A cheese to you, CheeWilly, for such unbridled enthusiasm and the ability to craft such a project. 8)

Now...where's the cheese? :)

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: shotski on April 12, 2013, 06:03:50 PM

A forum member (Green Zebra) just had her cheese fridge die on her and the repair guy said her Johnson Controller had made it cyclen off and on too much and fried the compressor.  That made me nervous about setting up a similar system but other members seemed to think may e that guy was wrong and the fridge had just outlived it's useful life.  I think she said it was 8 years old?  So, do you have a recommendation if I am looking on Craig's List for a likely candidate?  Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
[/quote]

I just asked a friend of mine that services appliances and he said that he has replaced 2 year old compressors. He did say that it is not good for the compressor to cycle to frequently, meaning that if it runs and shuts off for 5 minutes than runs again that is fine. I also remember when I worked at Camco the average life expectency for a fridge was 10 yours, that was back in the 80's. I don't think it had to do with the johnson control.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on April 12, 2013, 09:01:06 PM
The controllers will handle any size upright freezer you choose.  So you will have to pick a size for your room.  My freezer is 59 inches tall, 24 inches wide, and 27 inches deep.  Once everything is set up, the freezer will only run for about 30 seconds every 5 to10 minutes.   The humidifier will run as needed, depending on the load you have in the freezer.  I had a towel placed in the freezer to act as a load of cheese or sausage and after the initial set point was reached, the humidifier stayed off for over an hour, holding 80% humidity and 55 degree temp.  The only thing I would recommend is getting a freezer with removable shelves.  This was an oversight on my part.  Let me know if you want to pursue and I will help you locate the controllers and draw up a wiring diagram for you.

Thank you! I will contact you when I get closer to the project.  I also have to decide whether to go the freezer route or to see if I can afford to wall off and insulate a small room in our basement to be my cheese cave.  If so, I wouldn't want to buy something I can't use in that project.  not sure how I'd cool that room but if it's well-insulated might be able to just run a small dorm fridge in there with the door open.  that's what someone told me they did for a root cellar. 

A cheese to you for your generosity and tech-ability!  Thank you.   :D
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Keyser Soze on May 22, 2013, 06:04:41 PM
Mr. CheeWilly.
I'm also interested in your fine looking setup. I wonder if you would have a list of materials you used that you could publish.  I'm going around in circles trying to find humidifier controls and temp controls that are line voltage units so I can make my Cheese and Sausage cave.  I can't start making anything till I have a place to put it and it's makin me nuts.

Thanks,
Eric
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: CheeWilly on May 22, 2013, 08:52:35 PM
Here is the pid controller
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=1 (http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=1)
This is the humidity controller
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37&products_id=263 (http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37&products_id=263)
This is the thermocouple
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=20_3&products_id=101 (http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=20_3&products_id=101)
I started with a steam vaporizer, but the hot steam would cause the freezer to cycle more frequent.  I recommend a cold mist vaporizer now.  I have had real good luck since changing it out.  Hope this helps.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: jwalker on May 23, 2013, 07:34:37 AM
That's a great setup , I will be building something along those lines myself this fall.

What kind of humidifier did you use , does it take up much room? , most of the ones I have seen are fairly big.

The PID is rated for 1200watts , does the average fridge?freezer draw less than that?

Very innovative !

Cheers Jim.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: BobE102330 on May 23, 2013, 11:15:14 AM
You can get PID controllers that will drive a solid state relay (SSR), which can be sized for virtually any load.  I bought 25 amp SSRs with heat sinks for around $15 IIRC.  Good practice is to allow a safety factor of two, so 12.5A (1500W) would be a reasonable load for these.  Bigger heat sinks would allow operation closer to rating.  Driving my 3-4 amp dorm fridge the SSR doesn't even get warm.

I've had an issue with thermocouples being very sensitive.  It sounds like a good thing, but in practice you want a little hysteresis to keep the controller from cycling too quickly. Undamped, the controller cycles the compressor very rapidly. Put the thermocouple in a test tube of water or use an RTD (which is less sensitive) 

To me, a PID is overkill for temperature control.  A Johnson controller is accurate enough for our purposes and much easier to set up.  I like the PID humidity control, though.  There doesn't seem to be a Johnson temperature controller equivalent. 

Tiarella, I am not too far from you - about 45 minutes north of Albany, NY.  I'd help you set up for a little goat milk, or a just day on the farm. 

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: jwalker on May 23, 2013, 01:07:58 PM
How about a regular line voltage mercury switch thermostat mounted in the fridge ?

It's good for 110/220 and 4500 watts.

I have one in my trailer that goes down to 50 degrees , for air conditioning , I'll bet I could adjust it to go 40 degrees or lower.

Or would the cut in / cut out spread be too much , I believe it's set for about 5 degrees now , my current cheese cave seems to be about the same.

It would be cheap and easy , but would it work?

I'm always looking for the easy way. ::)

Cheers , Jim.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: BobE102330 on May 23, 2013, 02:37:21 PM
I think 5 degrees is tight enough control, but perhaps one of our esteemed experts will chime in. 

Your mercury switch mounted on an angle probably would do the trick. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on June 22, 2013, 09:03:23 PM
You can get PID controllers that will drive a solid state relay (SSR), which can be sized for virtually any load.  I bought 25 amp SSRs with heat sinks for around $15 IIRC.  Good practice is to allow a safety factor of two, so 12.5A (1500W) would be a reasonable load for these.  Bigger heat sinks would allow operation closer to rating.  Driving my 3-4 amp dorm fridge the SSR doesn't even get warm.

I've had an issue with thermocouples being very sensitive.  It sounds like a good thing, but in practice you want a little hysteresis to keep the controller from cycling too quickly. Undamped, the controller cycles the compressor very rapidly. Put the thermocouple in a test tube of water or use an RTD (which is less sensitive) 

To me, a PID is overkill for temperature control.  A Johnson controller is accurate enough for our purposes and much easier to set up.  I like the PID humidity control, though.  There doesn't seem to be a Johnson temperature controller equivalent. 

Tiarella, I am not too far from you - about 45 minutes north of Albany, NY.  I'd help you set up for a little goat milk, or a just day on the farm.

Bob, so sorry but I'm just seeing this post I think.  I just went back to this thread because I REALLY have to do something to make my small chest freezer work for aging cheese.  Are there different kinds of Johnson Controllers?  And if you want to come on over and see us and our goats you're welcome to.  Send me a PM so we can set a day.  Now if I can just figure out shelving or something.  or better yet an extremely cheap (or free) upright freezer to adapt.   ;)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on June 23, 2013, 12:30:29 AM
Kathrin, there are a few controllers that do about the same thing.

Here are a couple:
I'm using an older pre-digital display Johnson controller and it works fine. I'm also using a digital display Ranco on my other cave and it's even nicer. It's adjustable by pushing a button to select the function (F/C, temp, delta) and then pushing an "up" or "down" button to set it.

Just stick the thermocouple inside the freezer and set your preferences. That's it.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on June 23, 2013, 06:00:00 AM
Thanks, Boofer!  One thing those product descriptions don't mention is whether how the unit is used.  Do you just plug the freezer into the unit then plug the unit into a wall outlet?  Didn't see info about that.  I DO like the idea of a digital display.  I do prefer to spend less money but do want reliability of course.  I'll wait until I have time at my desktop computer and see what I can find.  I see a cheaper Ranco but seems you have to wire it yourself.  I could wire it to an extension cord but one less thing to do is welcome.     ???

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: BobE102330 on June 23, 2013, 08:00:34 AM
There are a number of different controllers available, I think Johnson was the first, so it's almost become the generic term, like Kleenex and Xerox.  I bought a LUX digital controller for my second fridge from Amazon for $40 or so, it works great.  It's set temperature reads differently than the thermometer next to my sensor, but so does the PID in the other cave.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on June 23, 2013, 09:02:23 AM
Do you just plug the freezer into the unit then plug the unit into a wall outlet?
Yep. It serves as an intermediary, negotiator, or electronic switch.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on June 23, 2013, 01:44:34 PM
Thanks SO much, Bob and Boofer!  Bob, can you suggest a particular model of the Lux?  I like the price but want to make sure I get a model that will work for me. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Al Lewis on June 23, 2013, 02:31:21 PM
On the LUX WIN100, how long is the cable on the temperature probe?  Also, what happens when the batteries die?

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: John@PC on June 23, 2013, 03:50:30 PM
Here's my cave.  Cheese is sparse right now but working to get it back into shape.  Only one mini-cave that has a Reblochon (with a booster b. linens wash) that is only a couple of weeks old but smells like it's ready for a change of socks.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: BobE102330 on June 23, 2013, 04:21:31 PM
I got the Lux WIN100 for $35.  The leads are very short, only about an inch.  But, if you are reasonably handy it is easy to splice in a length of zip cord to meet your length requirement.  It's on the low voltage side, so there isn't much to worry about other than voiding your warranty.  I opened it up and disconnected the spade terminals to the sensor lead and spliced some zip cord in with crimp splices.  You could also use wire nuts or solder and wrap in electrical tape.

It's cheap, but there are other options available for $10-30 more if you're not comfortable modifying the length of the lead.

In answer to your question, Al, I don't know what happens when the battery dies.  I've only had it 6 months.  The battery is just a backup to retain the settings when the mains power goes out.  As long as there is power, the system works fine.  I'll probably replace the battery once a year, but it should last longer.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: John@PC on June 23, 2013, 06:45:11 PM
Here's my cave.  Cheese is sparse right now but working to get it back into shape.  Only one mini-cave that has a Reblochon (with a booster b. linens wash) that is only a couple of weeks old but smells like it's ready for a change of socks.

It's me again trying to get an upright picture here.    Saved it as a .gif so if this doesn't work I'll make sure to take pics in regular portrait mode and crop as needed. Sure wish the pics could be previewed like the posts :-\.

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: BobE102330 on June 23, 2013, 07:47:24 PM
John, it looks like you need to get busy making cheese.  ::) 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on June 23, 2013, 08:19:01 PM
John,  It looks like your fridge has it's tongue hanging out at the bottom.   ;D
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on June 23, 2013, 09:37:43 PM
John, it looks like you need to get busy making cheese.  ::)
Hello...hello...hello....<crickets>

 :P

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: John@PC on June 24, 2013, 06:05:46 AM
John,  It looks like your fridge has it's tongue hanging out at the bottom.   ;D

Yeah, my cave sticks out it's tongue at me when it wants more cheese ;D.  My first cave was a dorm fridge and this one's an old frost-free, but with both I had problems with water condensing and collecting at the bottom.  I got tired of wiping out the water and decided to see if I could "wick" it out.  The tongue is a towel, and the water wicks into the towel and drains by capillary action into the pan even when the door is closed.  Works like a charm.

And yes Boofer, I'm working as hard as I can re-stocking.  What happened is that when I changed to this fridge there was a slight but distinct fridge odor to the rinds.  I decided to stop making for awhile and move all the cheeses out (or better yet, eat them) and do a complete sanitizing of the fridge including removing the freezer panels and cleaning out the air plenum and coils.  The attached pic showed some of the "stuff" I found.  Cleaned all junk out, wiped all surfaces with a pine oil cleaner and followed up with a bleach/water/detergent spray.   No off odors now, and some samples cut from the new cheeses seem to indicated problem solved.

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on June 24, 2013, 08:58:39 AM
 Alright! Cleanliness is next to cheeseiness.  :D

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: shotski on June 24, 2013, 08:39:57 PM
Alright! Cleanliness is next to cheeseiness.  :D

-Boofer-

Right on brother :D
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: BobE102330 on June 24, 2013, 10:15:16 PM
Here is one of my dorm fridges - this one PID controlled.  Housing a mixed bag of cheeses, mostly vacuum bagged.  For natural rinds, I have a 7 month Montasio on top left, this weekend's Manchego on the shelf below. Bagged cheeses include a couple Goudas (4 months and 3 weeks old), a 6 month cheddar, Caerphilly, another chunk of Montasio, a raw milk Tomme and some chipotle cheddar.  Generally running at 55F and 80-85% humidity.  Guess I should have wiped the bottom before taking the picture.   :-[

My other fridge is a hair larger, and only half full, running on a Lux controller.  It holds a couple of natural rind parmesans, Stiltons, Gruyere and a tomme.  It uses a drip pan with a wadded up microfiber cloth to try to keep the humidity up.  So far it's only been able to hit mid 70s.

I also have my second Jarlsberg in its warm phase. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on June 25, 2013, 04:51:50 AM
Impressive, Bob!  That's a LOT of cheese!  Do you eat a lot of cheese, have a big family, share a lot with others or just suffer from the usual forum member malady of being addicted to experimenting/experiencing cheese making?   ;D.  My fridge contents look positively lonely.   ???
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on June 25, 2013, 08:11:28 AM
...or just suffer from the usual forum member malady of being addicted to experimenting/experiencing cheese making?   ;D.
Hey, wait a minute! Who's pointing fingers?  :)

Bob, that's a nice collection. No one's asked "Don't you have enough cheese?" That normally follows the eye roll here.  ;)

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: jwalker on June 25, 2013, 08:35:30 AM
Bob , it looks like all or most of the cheeses in there are vacuum packed , is that how you age your cheeses , or do you use any other methods , like wax , coating with oil , cream wax , natural rind etc. ?

I am just ordering a vacuum sealer now , hoping to try it out soon.

Cheers , Jim.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: BobE102330 on June 25, 2013, 06:02:43 PM
My kids are adults and living on their own, but they and my Dad get cheese shipments. I also have friends who like my cheese. Yes, Tiarella there is a bit too much "I want to try making that" and trying to age out some. 

My current total is about 40 pounds, not too much.  ;)  Yes, my girlfriend gives the entire hobby an eye roll.  Not that she and her extended family haven't made requests for particular cheese. 

Jim, I vacuum bag many of my long aging cheeses to make maintenance easier.  I have waxed, but bagging is easier, and quicker to identify weeping cheeses than wax.  I may wax the Goudas just for style points.  My other fridge has more natural and oiled rinds. I have done Camemberts, and will do more once i get the Stiltons eaten.  I am tempted to buy an upright freezer to give me more space for mini caves.  Not to mention it would be nice to have half my cheese at eye level and not need to bend down so much.  Ah, the joys of aging. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on June 28, 2013, 08:31:06 PM
Can someone please reply with a link to  a digital temp controller on Amazon that doesn't require any wiring work?  I really just need something simple right now.   :P. Cheap is good too.  I was thinking a Lux brand.  I want something reliable of course but budget is limited.  I'll be plugging a small freezer into it.

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Sailor Con Queso on June 28, 2013, 09:26:21 PM
I use 7 different Ranco digital controllers on my cave, milk coolers, etc. I wouldn't use anything else. Flawless, reliable operation. Buy the pre-wired version. The few extra bucks is well worth it.

Ranco Controller (http://www.etcsupply.com/ranco-etc111000000-prewired-digital-temperature-controller-p-87.html)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on June 29, 2013, 05:19:49 AM
I use 7 different Ranco digital controllers on my cave, milk coolers, etc. I wouldn't use anything else. Flawless, reliable operation. Buy the pre-wired version. The few extra bucks is well worth it.

Ranco Controller ([url]http://www.etcsupply.com/ranco-etc111000000-prewired-digital-temperature-controller-p-87.html[/url])


Thank you, Sailor!!!!  I appreciate you suggesting a model number.  It gets confusing when there are too many options.   :)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: John@PC on June 29, 2013, 08:58:24 AM
I use 7 different Ranco digital controllers on my cave, milk coolers, etc. I wouldn't use anything else. Flawless, reliable operation. Buy the pre-wired version. The few extra bucks is well worth it.

Ranco Controller ([url]http://www.etcsupply.com/ranco-etc111000000-prewired-digital-temperature-controller-p-87.html[/url])


I would second Sailor's suggestion even though I don't own one.  I use a Johnson Controls (http://www.amazon.com/Johnson-Controls-A19AAT-2C-Temperature-Controller/dp/B0002EAL58/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372513615&sr=8-1&keywords=johnson+controls+temperature+controller) non-digital.  It does the job but I should have gotten digital.  For the extra $20 the temperature control is much better and you have a flexible sensor cord instead of that stupid copper capallary-tubing thing to deal with.  I actually did order the Johnson Digital from another vendor and it didn't work and sent it back.  The ETC/Ranco does look like a good value, but DO get the prewired!  The model Sailor suggested is a single stage, which means it has one switch available that can be used for heating OR cooling.  They do have a pre-wired two stage controller (http://www.etcsupply.com/ranco-etc211000000-stage-prewired-temperature-controller-p-110.html) that can do both heating and cooling simultaneously.  Most of us would not need this, but if your fridge/cave is somewhere where the ambient temperature drops below 50 deg. F for very long (say on a porch) you can plug a low wattage light into the "heating" side to prevent over-cooling.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Digdagdug on October 14, 2013, 11:24:00 PM
This cave was to be a root cellar so I left the floor raw with a layer of pea gravel. It has an intake and outflow to the outdoors. Despite the raw floor, I need the humidifier.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on October 15, 2013, 06:31:14 AM
Oh, that is very nice!!!!!  I would like one like that too......and a root cellar also.   :D

I might use different shelves in case I want to disinfect since I do a lot of natural rind cheeses and those can get pretty wild at times.......  I do think I'd put raw wood on top of the shelves too......and remove it to sunshine if I needed to clean it well.
Thanks so much for sharing your aging space!!!!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Digdagdug on October 15, 2013, 09:35:28 AM
Yeah..I cheaped out on the shelves and will now have to replace them with something like what you described. The pine shelving is already growing a dusty blue mould of its' own.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on October 20, 2013, 07:44:19 PM
I was asked to share pics of my caves...so here are my modest cheese accommodations.

I had a white dormer fridge way back, loaned to family members, but which was recovered and found new life in the cheesemaking world.
I added a laptop cooler (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,2029.msg14934.html#msg14934) that helps stir the air inside the white cave. After four years continuous service, it's still running just fine.

I added the black cave in February 2011. The white one is controlled by an analog Johnson controller. The black one was able to use a newer technology digital Ranco temperature controller. Much nicer. ;)

Not a lot going on in either cave presently. A half dozen wheels and some baby Goudas in the black cave and Saint Paulin #3 (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,12050.0.html) plus some baby Goudas in the white cave.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on October 20, 2013, 08:13:08 PM
I now have Boofer cave envy...  :o
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: scasnerkay on October 20, 2013, 08:19:15 PM
Boofer, is your humidity coming just from the cheese in the cave, or is there extra water or a humidifier in use?. Do you have any trouble with condensation from the freezer part of the frig? What brand is that black one? Does it have a fan built in already?
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on October 21, 2013, 08:33:57 AM
Boofer, is your humidity coming just from the cheese in the cave, or is there extra water or a humidifier in use?. Do you have any trouble with condensation from the freezer part of the frig? What brand is that black one? Does it have a fan built in already?
If I had it to do again, I'd stay away from the refrigerator/freezer units. If you're going in that direction, try to find a refrigerator only. The freezer takes up space that could be used for cheeses, condenses water from the air that must be dealt with, and otherwise serves no practical use. These are around 4.4 cu. ft.

You can see some minicaves (ripening boxes) in the caves. They work extremely well to shield the cheeses within from neighboring inquisitive cultures, collect weeping whey, and control humidity near the cheeses.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on October 21, 2013, 09:46:00 AM

If I had it to do again, I'd stay away from the refrigerator/freezer units. If you're going in that direction, try to find a refrigerator only. The freezer takes up space that could be used for cheeses, condenses water from the air that must be dealt with, and otherwise serves no practical use. These are around 4.4 cu. ft.

-Boofer-

Boofer,  why not a freezer only unit?  Hooked into a temp controller of course.  I've been wishing someone had compiled a list of models/makes or a way to be sure to get one that doesn't use the shelves as condensing coils.  So far, squinting at small photos on Craig's List I look for shelves that appear moveable, avoid ones that are clearly tubing and then dither and do nothing.  Then I look at sales circulars at appliance places.....squint some more and then dither again as sort of the chorus of a long freezer searching song.  Helpful hints from knowledgeable folks are desired because they might end the song which, although melodic, is not very satisfying.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on October 21, 2013, 01:28:08 PM
Buying a cheese cave is my next step. I've been wondering why some people seem to be staying away from wine coolers? Is there a reason or is it just preference?
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on October 21, 2013, 01:35:46 PM
Buying a cheese cave is my next step. I've been wondering why some people seem to be staying away from wine coolers? Is there a reason or is it just preference?

I have a wine cooler but it fills up too fast!   ???  At least, it does if you make cheese often and like to age them out.  Some like 2 wine coolers so you can do blue cheeses in one without as much worry with cross-contamination.  Plus, the wine coolers come with those foolish wavy wire shelves and they waste space that could be occupied by cheese.  I haven't yet figure out a good replacement flat wire shelf system that can be disinfected easily. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on October 22, 2013, 08:14:47 AM
I've been wondering why some people seem to be staying away from wine coolers? Is there a reason or is it just preference?
I used to be into wine coolers, but that was back in the day. Bartles & James were icons of that industry. ;)

Boofer,  why not a freezer only unit?  Hooked into a temp controller of course.  I've been wishing someone had compiled a list of models/makes or a way to be sure to get one that doesn't use the shelves as condensing coils.  So far, squinting at small photos on Craig's List I look for shelves that appear moveable, avoid ones that are clearly tubing and then dither and do nothing.  Then I look at sales circulars at appliance places.....squint some more and then dither again as sort of the chorus of a long freezer searching song.  Helpful hints from knowledgeable folks are desired because they might end the song which, although melodic, is not very satisfying.
OMG...this is sooo complicated!! I think I'm going crazy!

No, actually, I was quite moved by that passage. 8)

I have used a controller on my chest freezer as a beer lagering system. So, I don't see a problem there.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on October 22, 2013, 09:45:10 AM
I have a small chest freezer hooked up to a digital Johnson Controller and it's an inefficient way to age cheese in my experience.  I haven't built shelves but there are two baskets that come with it.  Plastic grid covered with cheese matting cover the bottom.  With this I am aging 8 whole cheeses.  Whoopee!!!!!   ::). AND, the humidity is out of control....way too high unless I daily wipe down the condensation that appears on a ten inch swathe along the upper wall region of it.  This is with a fan running in it.   :o. I have to reach into the bottom of the freezer to handlel the cheeses and I'm glad I'm tall but it's still not exactly the best set up although I am considering a stretch and exercise video all based on cheese chores.  Think it will be a hit?   ;).

I'm not using mini-cave boxes because of the condensation issue in those......and needing to wipe out each one daily.  They also use up more space which makes them less efficient.  An upright freezer looks like the best thing Santa could give me but I don't think I have that kind of Santa in my life........sigh.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on October 23, 2013, 08:07:44 AM
I have to reach into the bottom of the freezer to handlel the cheeses and I'm glad I'm tall but it's still not exactly the best set up although I am considering a stretch and exercise video all based on cheese chores.  Think it will be a hit?   ;).
I'm not going to be wearing spandex to make my cheeses! ::)

Agreed, I wouldn't be using my chest freezer for that very reason. I believe member Al has a standup freezer for his cave. As I recall, it had a nice setup of shelves.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on October 23, 2013, 09:21:43 AM
Sorry to hear about the spandex, Boofer.   8)   About 2 decades ago I was carrying an awful lot of firewood up some very steep and narrow stairs and used the time to think about a special step aerobics video and the spandex outfit would be available in a lumberjack plaid.  (which would probably scare some lumberjacks  :o )  I thought there'd be a coupon that the buyer could use to mail away for 3 pieces of firewood for only $19.99 plus shipping ($40 shipping).  Yes, I really did spend too much time carrying wood to feed the 3 wood stoves that were my heat and cooking appliances.  Pity that I was someone who didn't really need any additional exercise when considering I was farming about 80n hours a week.  I would have gladly let someone who needed the exercise carry ALL my firewood for me!   ???
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on August 03, 2014, 11:29:26 PM
I finally have a full cave. 7 months in the making  :D 40lbs of cheese :)

It's a 35-bottle beverage cooler with a Johnson temperature controller.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: ArnaudForestier on August 04, 2014, 06:46:27 AM
Timely post, Eric.  Congratulations on your cave, looks like a wealth of fine cheese!

I'm going through the growing pains of starting a new cave. 

2" rigid board insulation everywhere except along the back wall, which is masonry/cement.  Wall was whitewashed.

(http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/pkphotodo/DSCN2126_zps4973c09a.jpg) (http://s131.photobucket.com/user/pkphotodo/media/DSCN2126_zps4973c09a.jpg.html)

I'm using a coolbot.  Not a fan of trying to add humidity with a standard AC, but of all the things I've considered for this situation (small room, and we rent, we don't own), this seemed the least intrusive, least costly, and most portable method of all the things I've considered.  The hole seen was from my initial window AC - one left behind when we moved in.  It was clearly undersized for this room, which is about 6'x6'x6'.  I've bought a GE 14,250 BTU AC, guided by the coolbot company recommendations. 

Also, unhappy with the velocity output from the AC, I put together a ductwork system - a jury-rigged housing over the AC outlet, 2" PVC rise to 2"x 4' PVC run along the ceiling, holes drilled into the pipe and a fabric air-sock, after a fashion.  Air nicely slowed and evenly distributed. 

Humidity is particularly frustrating.  My digital evaporative humidifier, controllable to 90% RH, is no longer made.  It worked very well in my refrigerator-caves, but it's undersized here.  I did try to add a couple ultrasonic humidifiers, but they didn't do anything.  I believe they, too, were undersized.  Some good guidance by Pav led me to think on adding in two more for a total of 4, but the cost of acquiring daily distilled or RO water in the quantity I'd need is $4-5 daily, not something I want to do. 

There is an atomizing unit, the "Hermmidifier (http://www.trioniaq.com/products/index.aspx?prod=residential_AES_707U)", recommended by Peter Dixon in his materials.  It's a perfect solution - particularly intrigued by teeing into my duct/air sock line, another great suggestion provided by Pav (thanks, buddy).  But the unit requires hard plumbing and electrical that is likely beyond what I can do in our rented house.

I bought this  (http://www.shroomsupply.com/grow-room-supplies/digital-humidity-controller-wh8040-range-1-99-rh)and will likely just control a large evaporative, wick-based whole house humidifier.  I've had some durability issues with this type of sensor so will likely commit to a serious, ceramic sensor (http://www.controlconsultantsonline.com/H7636A2022-Room-RH-Transmitter-3-RH-Accuracy-0-50-10Vdc-or-4-20-mA-Selectable-Output-Plus-1097-ohm-Temp-Sensor_p_2245.html), once recommended by Francois.  Fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on August 04, 2014, 09:34:58 AM
Hey Paul!  Nice to see you!  For humidity, would it work to have a wicking fabric hanging with it's end in a container of water  (that you'd boiled or whatever to make it suitable) and one of those 4" fans at the bottom of the fabric angled at the fabric so that it's blowing up along it and not aimed at any cheese?  I'm mostly without milk these days so not doing a lot of cheesemaking but next year I'll be flooded.  I'll probably beg you to come to the Django in June concert and make cheese here so I have time to breath a bit.   :D  I HAVE done an interesting thing with raw milk.  Taking raw goat milk, milked from clean udder/goat and into a pan, not filtered  (nothing fell in) and put in a clean jar and never chilled.  The  native cultures work on the milk and then I add a few drops of rennet and leave it on the counter another 24 hours.  It turns into a sweet custard consistency type cheese that would be at home in a fruit tart but since I'm too lazy to make tarts this custard gets to make it's home in a fruit cake, that being me!   ;)  I can't believe how sweet it tastes.  It's as if I added sugar to it. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: ArnaudForestier on August 08, 2014, 05:51:46 PM
Tiarella, sorry for the lateness.  Thanks for the suggestion.  Originally, I was doing all kinds of things to get the RH up, including your suggestion (two pans, actually), as well as splashing the cement wall and floor. 

Now, been trying everything to get my fairly monstrous AC in the cave (14,250 btu) to not trip circuits (maddening - everything mislabeled on the circuit panel.  >:().  Finally, everything seems to be working perfectly.  My evaporative humidifer was not doing the job, so I've placed my two UHs and let them go.  Between the coolbot (working perfectly!) and these UHs, I am getting great results.  Climbed yesterday to 80%, and this after an hour of going in and out of the cave a ton of times.  Woke up this morning to 51-53F, 95% RH, which held steady for hours.  I actually dialed the UHs down a tad, and now holding steady at 92%. 

The only drag now, if I stick with the UHs, is having to pay for RO water.  Our local coop is great - $0.43 per gallon - but I go through about 5 gallons per day.  An undersink RO filter isn't an option, as we rent this unit.  I'm thinking on a steam vaporizer, but it's become a tough decision - the cave is performing brilliantly and I do hate to mess with it.  One hope I have, is that by just packing it with cheese, the humidity issue will become well, a non-issue. :)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Hidri Mohamed on August 14, 2014, 03:02:17 PM
Hi all

these are the pictures of my cellar and my production

(http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/18/96/61/05/th/img-2013.jpg) (http://servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=4&u=18966105) (http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/18/96/61/05/th/img-2014.jpg) (http://servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=5&u=18966105) (http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/18/96/61/05/th/img-2015.jpg) (http://servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=6&u=18966105) (http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/18/96/61/05/th/img-2016.jpg) (http://servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=7&u=18966105) (http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/18/96/61/05/th/img-2017.jpg) (http://servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=8&u=18966105) (http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/18/96/61/05/th/img-2018.jpg) (http://servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=9&u=18966105)

what do you think ?
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: ArnaudForestier on August 14, 2014, 03:56:00 PM
Looks great, Hidri - cheese to you!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on August 15, 2014, 06:04:35 AM
Paul, does it have to be RO water?  Could you boil water and cool it to use?  can't remember if you tried ultrasonic humidifiers but I do remember hearing they put a small particulate into the air that was not the greatest to breathe.  Likely wouldn't bother cheese.......and unless you spent all your time keeping your cheese company, reading to them etc. it probably wouldn't effect you but just mentioning it.   ???

Tired here.....but want to hear more about your cow herd..........I'm going to work up some photos to do a post in that old thread that was titled something like "posting photos of your life here and now"  in the Lounge.  Soon.  Wish I was still asleep but chores start soon.  Garlic harvest in, hay taken off the field, migrating flocks of birds move through daily......life is an adventure.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Hidri Mohamed on August 15, 2014, 11:20:14 AM
Looks great, Hidri - cheese to you!

thx ArnaudForestier
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: ArnaudForestier on August 22, 2014, 01:17:36 PM
Paul, does it have to be RO water?  Could you boil water and cool it to use?  can't remember if you tried ultrasonic humidifiers but I do remember hearing they put a small particulate into the air that was not the greatest to breathe.  Likely wouldn't bother cheese.......and unless you spent all your time keeping your cheese company, reading to them etc. it probably wouldn't effect you but just mentioning it.   ???

Tired here.....but want to hear more about your cow herd..........I'm going to work up some photos to do a post in that old thread that was titled something like "posting photos of your life here and now"  in the Lounge.  Soon.  Wish I was still asleep but chores start soon.  Garlic harvest in, hay taken off the field, migrating flocks of birds move through daily......life is an adventure.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Hey Tiarella, sorry for the belated reply.  Been busy dealing with a bit of a medical setback and otherwise focused on finishing the cave. 

These ultrasonics are great (I have two), they put a ton of humidity into the air.  Yeah, the only drag is that it has to be either RO or DI water, otherwise you're right - it's white dust everywhere, not good for people or cheese...!  So I've been weighing buying it (drag - but cheap, $0.43 the gallon) or putting in an RO system...however we rent and something tells me the LL wouldn't be too keyed on the idea.  :o 

I looked into a lot of other systems, but of them all, for this scale, it seems the best choice for me.  I now have a PID controller keeping the RH at a perfect 92-95%, and the coolbot keeps the cave right on 50-51 F.  Now that the PID is installed, it's also nice because the UHs run a lot less, consequently I don't need to refill as often. 

Want to clarify, I don't yet have a herd...working on it!  I'm jealous of all you folks who are stewards of animals now (yours are the best, Tiarella...still love that vid).  Looking forward to those pics.  Keep it up!  Summer's waning!

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: OzzieCheese on August 31, 2014, 05:46:37 PM
Here is my obsession...

It now has a Caerphilly, a St Paulin, a Gouda and a waxed Cheddar.  Alas, the CAMs have gone to meat their obvious demise and you have to smile when a  'died in the wool' cheddar only eater is lickin' the plate when all is gone.

I got busy with my router this weekend and all the horrible plastic will be replaced with wooden shelves.  They are still rough sawn at the moment and will need to be cleaned and given a bit of sunshine before I introduce them to the beautiful bugs I want to see if I can get into the 'cave'.  I have ordered  a phycrometer (twin bulb wet and dry Thermometers) and a circulating fan. Gunna change up gear..  O0

CheeseOn   
 8)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on August 31, 2014, 07:50:14 PM
Nice cave, Mal! The wooden shelves will be a nice addition.

Do a search on fans before you buy one. I believe some people have noticed little change in temp differential with a fan. Cave size? fan model? Just a thought.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: OzzieCheese on August 31, 2014, 08:38:26 PM
Hi Spoons,  The fan, I am hoping is to circulate air to try and keep the RH constant - I'm not sure the little bowl (Blue One) is having much effect - I thick the sheet of ice at the back is more of an issue. Not sure what to do with that.  What do you suggest ? My thoughts are trying to move the condenser sheet away from back of the fridge. - Carefully of course. 

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on August 31, 2014, 09:01:09 PM
About the water bowl:
The more water surface is exposed to air, the more RH you'll get. So a small bowl won't do it. A wider bowl (not deeper, just wider) will produce better RH. You can also add a clean cloth like a disposable J-Cloth and use it as a wick (one part of the cloth in the bowl and the other part raising upwards). This will increase water surface, but it takes room in the cave to do it.

I thought of buying one of these types of humidifiers:
http://www.amazon.com/Air-O-Swiss-7146-Travel-Ultrasonic-Humidifier/dp/B001JL4LZ4/ref=pd_sbs_hg_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1HKQ04ZAHXD2HVHDJW5A (http://www.amazon.com/Air-O-Swiss-7146-Travel-Ultrasonic-Humidifier/dp/B001JL4LZ4/ref=pd_sbs_hg_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1HKQ04ZAHXD2HVHDJW5A)
http://www.amazon.com/Satechi-Portable-Humidifier-v-2-5-Regular/dp/B00J3AX6R2/ref=pd_sbs_hg_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1HKQ04ZAHXD2HVHDJW5A (http://www.amazon.com/Satechi-Portable-Humidifier-v-2-5-Regular/dp/B00J3AX6R2/ref=pd_sbs_hg_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1HKQ04ZAHXD2HVHDJW5A)
But these scare me a bit. What if you knock off the bottle? There's an electric current there.

About the freezing:
I haven't looked that up yet. Not quite there. I have an auto-defrost on my cave (similar to yours), but I gave up on the RH when I couldn't control the frosting. So right now I'm doing a bit like you and put each cheese in a container to control RH. It takes up more room though.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: OzzieCheese on August 31, 2014, 09:29:28 PM
Thanks Eric, I think I'll keep away form the USB devices.  Thanks for the wicking idea, I was thinking . . . .  how about placing a long thin plastic container at the back of the fridge - there is a 1/2 inch gap at the back behind the shelves.  Run say 2 inch strips from the container down the back into another tray - I have room.  Place one strip in and wait for the RH to stabalise - if not enough add another and keep adding until it works or get a bigger set of strips. if it starts to get too high - depending on the cheeses in the fridge at the time - remove as necessary.  True, it is probably a bit of maintenence but it's cheese.. :)  maybe with the little fan and the wicking I might be able to turn the sterile wine fridge into a wonder cheese factory. 

I'll keep you posted..

--Mal
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: ArnaudForestier on August 31, 2014, 09:54:15 PM
Update. 

(http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p316/pkphotodo/DSCN2141_zps8fba81a1.jpg) (http://s131.photobucket.com/user/pkphotodo/media/DSCN2141_zps8fba81a1.jpg.html)

Cave is up and running.  This was a root cellar in really lousy shape - black mold and rotted wood everywhere.  After a thorough cleaning, a slapdash job with R10 rigid board insulation, foam, and exterior enamel, 2 coats; floor in deck and patio sealing paint, again 2 coats; caulked all seams, and ceiling insulated with faced fiberglass batting, and 1" rigid board.  Back poured concrete wall, only a double coat of white wash.  I had an issue with moisture leakage, originally, but believe it's now well-sealed, top to bottom (function, not beauty - those foam globs, "eh.")

Temp controlled with the coolbot.  Performs brilliantly.  With a room at only 216 c.f., the AC of 14200 BTU is way over the top, but that was by design, really - with the opening and closing the door in such a small space without a kind of transition zone, this sizing means I get back to 51F within 60 seconds or so.  And especially given the insulation, the compressor really doesn't run all that frequently. 

Humidity is controlled via a 120 VAC PID controller, which I've simply wired to a plug in which I've two ultrasonic humidifiers (Crane "Teardrop"), which really pour the fog on, as needed.  Now that I've got the controller, I've halved my RO water usage, which is the only real drag to using these humidifiers.  But I didn't get very good results using my existing, 4 gallon Graco evaporative humidifer. 

Anyway, cave runs at 51F, with RH between 92-94F (there are some zones, which oddly started today....I switched the cheeses to a new shelf as I do have some mild black mold spots on the top shelf, and the affected shelf was taken outside for a boiling water, salt scrub, sunshine bath.  This upper zone now reads 85F, but I wonder if it will even out overnight.  92-94% everywhere else.  I don't really mind, however, as it's nice to have a shelf with this lower RH, and it is also a kind of sacrificial shelf, in case I get some ceiling condensity (so far, after a few weeks, no condensation anywhere, knock on wood).

The last phase before I can really kick into my desired gear is the completion of a true alpine, screw-style cheese press.  It will handle my Abondance form of 20", and I'll be doing 20 gallon vats soon.  I hope to have it finished over the next couple of weeks, as I'd really like to capture the last of the summer milk.  I use rennet paste currently, but am working with my French supplier to get dried veal vells.  I use a twin temp incubation whey starter, thanks to Pav, Alp, and Jim Wallace of New England Cheesemaking Co. for helping quite a bit in informing my thoughts here.  I also use a very small percentage of Alp-D.  (This is for my Abondance-form cheese).
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on August 31, 2014, 10:04:37 PM
Wow! That is some awesome work, Paul! Inspiring!

A cheese for you!  :)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: ArnaudForestier on August 31, 2014, 10:09:45 PM
Thanks Eric!  Now it's time to kick back the black mold I'm sure is just salivating, so loading those shelves is first priority! (Those are some rebs working, and there's a 6# alpine style there as well.  Going to be loading up with a lot of alpines, lots of Beaufort rind morge washes, etc.  Fingers crossed!

Thanks again buddy. :)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: John@PC on September 03, 2014, 05:31:26 PM
Great job Paul and thanks for update.  Please keep them coming (esp. if there are cheese pics included ;).
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: OzzieCheese on September 05, 2014, 08:04:10 PM
Can one have Cave envy ?? If so I do :.  Excellent cave Paul.  Well, after a couple of hours with the router and chisel, I have finally removed all the silly bottle holders and thin little sheets from my Mk1 cave.  Now have fully dressed pine shelves, Psychrometer, (fan is coming) and the cheeses already look happier.  Treated the boards with Bleach solution, vinegar and sunshine before shelving. 
With plenty of room.. The bottom shelf can be reconfigured for short term stayers like Brining or a stack of Cams.  Room for 7 -10 more - better get cracking..

CheeseOn  8)
 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: ArnaudForestier on September 08, 2014, 04:01:22 PM
Very cool, Ozzie, and cheeses look promising.  Cheese to you!  Happy makes!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: OzzieCheese on September 08, 2014, 09:33:56 PM
Saturday . . . . I'm stuck for choice.   Something new I think...SOmething to make use of all that lovely wood,  Any suggestions ??
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Boofer on September 09, 2014, 08:31:03 AM
Reblochon, Mal.

-Boofer-
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on September 09, 2014, 11:43:19 PM
Nice work on the shelves, Mal! I woudn't be surprised that the RH% would be a little higher with so much wood in such little space. Another benefit for wood shelves.

A cheese for you  :) Well deserved!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: OzzieCheese on September 10, 2014, 01:31:02 AM
@Boofer - a stinky - I'll have to get some more cultures - and warn my wife - but it sounds interesting. 
@Spoons - I have already noticed an inprovement, without the fan.  which makes Boofers suggestion possible - it wasn't before :)

-- Mal
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Fundy Mental on September 13, 2014, 07:38:23 PM
Mal

you used dressed pine for your shelves. Raw pine? Did you source from Bunnings or similar?

I think we have the same wine fridge / cheese cave as I also had the ice issue.

FM
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: OzzieCheese on September 14, 2014, 10:14:18 PM
Yeah.. Solid pine planking from Bunnings cut to fit and rebated for the Shelf groove. Picked through to find the cleanest and knotless ones in the stack.  Then I washed them with a light bleach - rinsed - sun dried - washed with Vinegar - dried again.  Manic I know !!  Yeah the icing is bit of a issue.  If you have the same one, I'd also check the little evaporation container on the back of the fridge.  I had some really funky smells issing from the fridge space and the contents were gagworthy.  It now gets done weekly :)

-- Mal 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Fundy Mental on October 18, 2014, 08:30:59 PM
this is my current setup. wine fridge with a cave cube and controller from John at Perfect Cheese.

Camembert in the plastic containers, a Caerphilly in the front and a cheddar behind that.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: John@PC on October 19, 2014, 07:25:54 PM
Nice set up indeed and worth a cheese.  2 questions:  What size PVC pipe are you using and are you experiencing high humidity (saw the Ever-drys so just assuming).
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: LadyLiberty on March 25, 2015, 10:25:54 AM
where do you get the fluorescent light grids?
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on March 25, 2015, 11:14:11 AM
where do you get the fluorescent light grids?

Building supply stores like "Lowes" or "Home Depot"
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: qdog1955 on March 25, 2015, 02:18:17 PM
Some of the lowes and home depot---guess it depends where you live---don't stock the grids any more unless you use their online order---but you have to order a whole case----like I really need a whole case >:(
Qdog
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on March 25, 2015, 04:02:47 PM
Some of the lowes and home depot---guess it depends where you live---don't stock the grids any more unless you use their online order---but you have to order a whole case----like I really need a whole case >:(
Qdog

Hey after kidding and lambing season I could buy you some and cut it into smaller, more shippable pieces and send them to you if you are desperate.  What are cheese-making buddies for???   :)  Let me know if you want to do that.  My local Lowes had it last time I looked.  If they still have it I don't mind doing this as long as you pay for the grid and shipping. 
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Stinky on March 25, 2015, 04:06:46 PM
For buying other cheese buddies light fixtures? ???
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Tiarella on March 25, 2015, 07:54:45 PM
For buying other cheese buddies light fixtures? ???

No, we're talking about the plastic grid that is used on those long fluorescent light fixtures.  Some of us use that plastic grid in the bottom of ripening boxes to keep the cheese up off the bottom puddle of whey.  I advise using the plastic mesh stuff on top of the plastic grid since the mesh is food safe and the other might not be.
Sorry I don't have a photo of it handy.  Maybe someone else does?  I know I've posted it before somewhere.......    ???
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Shane on March 25, 2015, 08:27:25 PM
I think it's referred to as egg crate. At least that is what I've heard it called in Australia.

Shane
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: awakephd on March 26, 2015, 08:30:34 AM
Do a google search for egg crate light diffuser and you will see lots of pictures. Here is a link from Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lithonia-Lighting-White-Eggcrate-T12-Troffer-Replacement-Diffuser-L2GT-PLTS-R5/100579509 (http://www.homedepot.com/p/Lithonia-Lighting-White-Eggcrate-T12-Troffer-Replacement-Diffuser-L2GT-PLTS-R5/100579509)
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Stinky on March 27, 2015, 10:50:12 PM
I'm at 23 pounds and will max out at 25 with the sort of maybe Emmental?

Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: awakephd on March 28, 2015, 11:32:00 AM
Follow-up -- inspired by the discussion above, I bought a sheet of egg crate light diffuser from Lowe's yesterday. It cost around $13 for a rather large sheet -- I now have a lifetime's supply! It is easy to cut out pieces to size, using just a pair of sturdy scissors. A sharp knife will trim the "nubbins" left behind.

One thing that surprised me -- I couldn't find this on the Lowe's website when I searched for it, but since I was by there I stopped in on the off chance. It turns out that it is not sold in the lighting section of the store, but rather in the building materials as a type of ceiling panel.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on March 28, 2015, 05:57:11 PM
An update on my caves:
1 x Smoked Paprika/olive oil/coconut oil rubbed Friulano
1 x Friulano
2 x Double Gloucester
1 x Experimental parm/cheddar cheese
2 x Parm/cheddar hybrid (my own creation, so far very good at 9 months but will keep aging)
2 x Lancashire
3 x Gouda
2.5 x cheddar
1 x Pumkin Ale Cheddar

Only reason why I prefer sealing a cheese: They're stackable.
Also, just like Andy, I use the egg crates for my ripening boxes.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Stinky on March 28, 2015, 06:10:18 PM
Ah man I want that cheese.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: scasnerkay on March 28, 2015, 08:26:26 PM
Spoons, if you are willing to share your recipe for the friulano (never heard of it) and for the cheddar parm hybrid, that would be lovely!
Mine are:
Tomme
Bitto
Gouda x 3
Cheddar x 2
Hispanico
Caerphilly x 2
Havarti
1/2 of a 4# cheddar from August
1/2 of a 4# gouda from August
I would say it is about 25# of cheese. The oldest unopened is the Tomme from October 2014. I will open it for the Caldwell class in April!!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Stinky on March 28, 2015, 09:09:32 PM
Spoons, if you are willing to share your recipe for the friulano (never heard of it) and for the cheddar parm hybrid, that would be lovely!
Mine are:
Tomme
Bitto
Gouda x 3
Cheddar x 2
Hispanico
Caerphilly x 2
Havarti
1/2 of a 4# cheddar from August
1/2 of a 4# gouda from August
I would say it is about 25# of cheese. The oldest unopened is the Tomme from October 2014. I will open it for the Caldwell class in April!!

Oo, nice. How patient will you be with the bitto?

As far as I can tell Friulano is very similar to Montasio.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: scasnerkay on March 28, 2015, 09:47:39 PM
I probably will open the bitto really soon. The make did not go as well as I wanted, and the form was not the right size. So I have been ignoring that cheese for awhile. It was made November 4, and feels quite firm. It may be a grating cheese...

Stinky, where do you live in California? There is still space available in the Caldwell Class in Sacramento!! I would love to meet some other forum members there!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Stinky on March 28, 2015, 10:12:05 PM
South San Francisco. :) I got your note, unfortunately I don't think I'll be able to make it. It looks fantastic though.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Spoons on March 29, 2015, 12:55:05 PM
Susan, As Stinky mentioned, a Friulano is a Canadian version of a Montasio, but sealed and only aged 100 days. Texture and taste is somewhat similar to mozz, but has a nice slight ''Italian, or thermo'' tang to it.

I'll share my hybrid Parm/cheddar experiment when I'll open it in June for it's 12 month anniversary. I'll post all the details then. But in the meantime, I'll PM you the recipe. Don't want to hijack the thread. LOL. I'll PM the recipe to anyone interested until I open it in June. It was very good at 9 months BTW!
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Stinky on March 29, 2015, 02:23:43 PM
Susan, As Stinky mentioned, a Friulano is a Canadian version of a Montasio, but sealed and only aged 100 days. Texture and taste is somewhat similar to mozz, but has a nice slight ''Italian, or thermo'' tang to it.

I'll share my hybrid Parm/cheddar experiment when I'll open it in June for it's 12 month anniversary. I'll post all the details then. But in the meantime, I'll PM you the recipe. Don't want to hijack the thread. LOL. I'll PM the recipe to anyone interested until I open it in June. It was very good at 9 months BTW!

I am interested as well.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: cheesehombre on April 21, 2015, 05:39:15 PM
 O0
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Pavla on April 26, 2015, 04:12:59 PM
Just wanted to ask is it better to convert to cheese cave fridge or freezer
Thank you Pavla
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Al Lewis on April 26, 2015, 05:30:48 PM
I'd say it's easier with a freezer.  A fridge has a freezer to control and a fridge.  My freezer cave is only one thing to control and has a small footprint, if that is an issue.  Also easier to sanitize I would think.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Shane on April 26, 2015, 05:41:46 PM
I think Danbo suggested an upright fridge with no freezer was better than an upright freezer as the compressor wasn't as aggressive, therefore provided better temperature control.

Shane
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Al Lewis on April 26, 2015, 06:27:25 PM
I simply turned mine down to the lowest setting.
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Shane on April 26, 2015, 06:48:59 PM
That's just the thermostat setting isn't it? The compressor will still run at full speed until it reaches the target. In our case though we'd cut power to the compressor before it reaches the internal thermostat temperature set point. I believe wine fridge have a tiny compressor so that all temperature changes are slow and relatively constant. I'm not sure how the compressor differs between a fridge and a freezer though.

Shane
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Kern on April 26, 2015, 07:04:52 PM
Just wanted to ask is it better to convert to cheese cave fridge or freezer

I went with an upright freezer.  I looked at upright fridges but the freezer seemed "cleaner".  I think if you compared the "guts" of both a freezer and fridge with no freezing compartment you'd find that they are pretty much identical.  Mine is controlled by a unit from Perfect Cheese.  The internal controls are set for the lowest temperature which means the the freezer is always running if it has power, which it only does when the external controller gives it power.  There is no such thing as "first, second and third gear" in these units.  They are either on and cooling or they are off.  Mine claims that it has a "max cooling" setting to get down fast when first fired up.  The only difference I've found with it is that the fan is circulating more air when this is set on.  Since I'm not trying to blow dry my cheeses I leave this off.  It's set point is 54F so it goes on at 55F and goes off at 54F.  If I open the door and get it to 56F the alarm sounds and the SWAT team is called.  Oh wait!  That's another story.  Where was I?  Oh yes, the alarm goes on and it takes about 90 seconds to drop the two degrees back to 54 with the "momentum" dropping the temps down to about 53.5.   8)   
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Shane on April 26, 2015, 07:22:46 PM
I'm curious as to whether anyone is using an inverter controlled fridge or freezer as a cave. Control would be a little trickier, but it might give good results.

Shane
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: Kern on June 16, 2015, 12:44:07 PM
I finally got around to taking a photo of the interior of my cave described two posts above.  You can see the controller wires entering through the hole drilled through the back wall.  This was very carefully located and a 1.5 inch hole saw used to punch through the liner, foam insulation and steel back wall.  A short piece of PVC pipe was laminated in using a two-part polyurethane sealant.  The controller wires were then shoved through the pipe, which was then stuffed with some insulation foam.  The hole was big enough so that the humidity probe could fit through without cutting the wires.  All controllers came from http://www.perfect-cheese.com/ (http://www.perfect-cheese.com/).  The unit itself is a 16 cubic foot upright freezer (Whirlpool) purchased on sale from Lowes.  I am happy with the way everything works.   ^-^
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: jmason on June 16, 2015, 03:16:08 PM
Dang Kern, look at all that empty space.  I'll have to send cheeses over to you and you can age em and do the affinage. ;D

John
Title: Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
Post by: mswhin63 on November 30, 2015, 07:11:57 AM
Hi, I am new here and very new to cheese-making.

Made a few soft cheese with varying success (mostly successful), and decided to get into hard cheeses.

This is my hard cheese fridge I made recently, although have not yet finely tuned the humidity the temperature is working well.
I have also created a video of my effort if any one is interested.
https://youtu.be/K-djyDMVb0Y