types of wood for aging boards

Started by eric1, January 16, 2024, 12:34:08 AM

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  I am curious what types of wood y'all would recommend for different parts of the cheesemaking process. I am thinking about aging boards right now but also would like to know what would be the best for stirring spoons, cheese followers and any types of wooden molds (like gouda type molds or the thin strips of wood that get pulled in a ring for an Alpine style mold). I know some people use other materials, but I would like to use wood for some of these things and if possible I would like to use wood from my family's property. The types of wood that I could get big enough boards from would be: white oak, red oak, beech, red maple, southern yellow pine, hickory and tulip poplar (which isn't a true poplar). There are others that I could get smaller pieces from but the ones listed would be easiest to get and to get in some size. I have been using bamboo slats (~1/2" wide spaced about three inches apart) that I split out of large bamboo canes into strips for aging cheeses on. That seems to have been working well and I'll probably continue to use them at least during the first few weeks of aging when there is still more moisture on the rinds.


In a post from about 10 years ago a Swiss cheesemaker on here said the following for a board for aging: "Spruce or fir is ideal, but pine is also fine."  I'm sorry I do not have the link to that thread...  I ended up just copying the information he had posted about washing cheeses Swiss style into a word doc on my computer...   Personally, I have recycled some old wood boards that my grandmother had used to make a makeshift bookshelf years ago.   Boards set on bricks, which we dismantled when she passed away.  I cannot tell you what type of wood they are for sure, but I would guess pine. 

When it comes to stirring spoons... I use a large restaurant grade metal spoon (can boil along with other equipment for sanitation), for large batches, and for smaller batches I will use an old wooden spoon, once again inherited from my grandmother an no idea what type of wood. 

I can't help you with the cheese molds & followers.  I use molds purchased from cheesemaking.com & Hozprom.



I'm using ash boards, so far they seem to be fine.

B e n

White oak will work great for press building, and spoons as long as you pay attention to the grain, if air dried it should carve ok. The tulip poplar will make good spoons, and should carve beautifully, the red maple will work as well but may be a bit tougher to carve. Hickory could work too, but carving it can be an adventure, unless you are using power tools. Pine for aging boards. Hickory, beech, maple for smoking your cheese. The beech or maple may work for your ring molds, but I would try it as a pressing board to start and see how it behaves.

Softwood seems to work better for aging boards, for whatever reason the hardwoods I have tried tend to stick to the rind and tear it off during flipping. Give it a shot though, see what you get. Since Tecla said ash worked there is a good chance your red maple will work as well.


I use Cedar grilling planks as an aging board.


There is a nice discussion and list of potentially good vs bad boards to use on NECM's website, it should give you some ideas.



anyone else see a hidden mickey mouse in Aris' photo?   ;D

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