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GENERAL CHEESE MAKING BOARDS (Specific Cheese Making in Boards above) => STANDARD METHODS - Aging Cheese => Topic started by: Shalloy on February 03, 2013, 07:36:50 PM

Title: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Shalloy on February 03, 2013, 07:36:50 PM
Ive just made my first blue cheese and have salted for 3 days now am ageing it in a maturation box in my fridge set at 10C using a temperature controller. After 5 days there is a slight blue mould starting to form. I dont have a hygrometer  yet so am a little worried that my humidty may be too high or not high enough. Here is a picture of my maturation box with the lid on and you can see how much condensation is inside the box. I know its a bit hit and miss but just wondering what you cheese experts think? Does it look like it might be humid enough in there for my blue?  95% humidity. I had the lid slightly opened but it seemed to be too dry so closed it right up.

Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Shalloy on February 03, 2013, 08:11:15 PM
Also just to add I have a starsan soaked cloth sitting in the bottom to keep the container moist. Is this okay to leave the cloth in there? After a while the starsan will probably fail and stop being sterile, so will bacteria start to grow on the cloth and spread to the cheese?
Should I be replacing this cloth every few days?

Thanks again.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Mike Richards on February 03, 2013, 09:59:25 PM
With all the condensation, if the temp throughout the box is close to the same, you are at 100% relative humidity.  Water condenses when the air temperature drops below the dew point--the temperature where the relative humidity is 100%.  If water is condensing on the sides of your container, then the air near the container wall is at 100% humidity.  If the temperature throughout the container is even, then most of the container is at about 100%.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Shalloy on February 03, 2013, 10:13:24 PM
The temperature inside and outside the container should be the same I suppose as the container is always sitting inside the fridge. It's set at 10.5c
So if its 100% humidity should I be cracking the lid a touch to drop it to 95%?
Or will 100% be fine?
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Mike Richards on February 03, 2013, 11:27:49 PM
I've never made a blue before, so I can't answer that question.  If you want to get to 95%, you should crack the lid a bit (and wipe out all the condensation that's already in there...
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on February 04, 2013, 02:34:43 AM
As Mike said, wipe the inside daily and crack the lid to bring the humidity down.
You should get some condensation on the sides but if you get it on the lid it may be too humid.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Tomer1 on February 04, 2013, 06:00:31 AM
get it down a bit to 90% or so, otherwise moisture will likely form on the rind and soon it could become slimy from yeast growth and you will need to give it much more attention then you would otherwise.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Shalloy on February 04, 2013, 03:15:54 PM
Thanks gents. I only have condensation on the sides not the lid and the cheese itself looks fairly dry. Not moist and slimy. I've cracked the lid. Should I remove the wet cloth I have sitting in the bottom?
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Al Lewis on February 04, 2013, 03:52:48 PM
As long as the cheese remains relatively dry, just a bit tacky to the touch, you'll be fine.  RH should be 85-90%
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Tomer1 on February 04, 2013, 03:54:42 PM
Yep, also wipe down the container. (I usually take out the cheese and just swing the container in the air to get the droplets out :) )
The cheese itself will supply all the moisture the small container needs to maintain high moisture.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Shalloy on February 04, 2013, 04:42:35 PM
Okay thanks for that. This is my first cheese so very hard to work out how much moisture is too much. I didnt have the wet cloth in there originally and had the lid cracked but was worried it was too dry so closed the lid and put a wet cloth in the bottom.

i really need to get a hygrometer with remote sensor so I can fit it ino my cheese container. problem is I also want to do some camemberts in another container so will have to buy two hygrometers and I know the units on ebay that are cheap are also crap and dont work very accurately.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Shalloy on February 06, 2013, 12:00:36 AM
I took out the wet cloth and kept the lid cracked open but all that side of the container was completely dry. Only the opposite side walls to where the lid was cracked was moist. So I closed the lid back up. Hopefully the moisture in the cheese will keep the humidy right. Its moist to touch but only slightly, not damp and no visible moisture on the surface.

After 6 days it looks like this.. is this about right?

Thanks for the help.

Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Schnecken Slayer on February 06, 2013, 12:03:22 AM
That certainly looks good to me.

Well done.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Al Lewis on February 07, 2013, 04:07:33 PM
Looks fine.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Shalloy on February 08, 2013, 08:12:24 PM
I brought a wireless hygrometer. It was a Chinese cheapo but seems to be accurate enough.
My humidity was only around 75%. So I've put a wet cloth in the bottom and its now increased to around 85%.

Will see how that goes.
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: george (MaryJ) on February 10, 2013, 05:15:46 AM
There is a thread somewhere by DJDebi about how to test the accuracy of a hygrometer - I think it's in the Library forum.  Search around for it - useful if you're not sure about your new toy.   ;)
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Tiarella on February 10, 2013, 11:29:31 AM
I think watching the condensation might be more accurate than a cheap hygrometer or at the very least a back up assessment tool for it.  No one mentioned this specifically but I'd recommend wiping all the moisture off the inside of the container every day and giving it a chance for an air exchange.  (opening the container for the wipe down should allow for that air exchange.)  Not sure if there's an issue with the Starsan on the cloth in there for moisture.  No one else mentioned a problem so maybe not.  Are you supposed to turn these daily?  I haven't made any blues yet although I get lots of wild blue mold on my cheeses that I have to wipe off.

Good luck with these and keep us posted.  With photos of course!   ;D
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: H-K-J on February 10, 2013, 12:22:56 PM
Here is the link from DjDebi on checking a hygrometer (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,9522.0.html)
Title: Re: getting humidity right (First Blue)
Post by: Shalloy on February 10, 2013, 03:03:31 PM
Thanks for the tips. Ive been wiping the side walls of the container daily but the lid is always dry. The recipe doesn't say to turn these daily, but Ive been turning them every 5 days or so anyway.

Thanks for the links to the hygro calibration will check it out.