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improvised spaces for aging cheese?

 
gardener
Posts: 1916
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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I am having trouble keeping the temperature down in the corner of my basement where I am trying to age cheeses.  The temp was low enough until the humidity began to fall.  I raised the humidity and the temperature rose.  At 80 % RH and 70 degrees, the mold can grow like cotton candy on the young cheeses.  

I'm considering buying a refrigerator or freezer off craigslist and a temperature control devise that is retrofitted, but I wonder what everyone else is doing .  And has anyone hit on a low tech way?

There is a closet in the corner of my basement.  there is concrete separating the back and side walls of the closet from the earth.  Then there is a sliding door that isolates this space from the rest of the basement.  I put an old dresser in the closet, and that is where I have the cheese that's growing such a prolific crop of mold.

A couple of days ago I smeared the cheeses, manchego type, gouda type, and alpine type with organic grass fed lard, then bandaged as Asher describes in The Art of Natural Cheesemaking.  

Hi tech or low, I wonder what everyone, anyone else is doing.

 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Ah, I remember smearing those cheeses, but forgot this thread.  The cheeses went in to a closet in the basement, where I have a cool mist humidfier outside a closed set of  wooden shelves.  The humidity through the winter was about 70 %, but as summer comes on, it is hard to keep the humidity above 45.  It is very arid here.  The temp in the winter is in the 40s, but in the summer, it gets into the 70s.

I've discovered that cheese rubbed with lard,or butter or any solid fat, absorbs the fat, and the cheese slowly dries.  It ends up being sort of crumbly and very hard, like a parmesan type or a grating cheese.  With a very find flavor.

I have gone back to beeswax, just to see if I can make a moister cheese, but have begun to not worry about whether I am making "gouda" or "cheddar" or any other traditional well known cheese.  Those cheeses developed in the conditions of where they were created/discovered/developed.  I just need to name my cheese what ever I want, and not worry about anything else.

In my improvised space, things are dryer and warmer than I would like but it still makes good cheese.  To get a moister cheese, I have been trying other things. I drain the curds a shorter period of time, leaving them moister as they go into the mold. If I am cooking the curds,I cook them a shorter period of time, I stir them less, all aiming for a curd that takes more moisture with it to the cheese press. The first experiment came out tasty at 70 days, but it was softer than an aged cheese usually is.

I am still curious what other aging spaces others have improvised.
 
Posts: 18
Location: Colorado Frontrange
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Have you tried a sealed container for the aging process? (I've seen it called a ripening box on some websites.) You can make it really humid by putting an open bucket of water in the container with the cheese. A friend of mine has been making cheese that way on the Frontrange for a number of years and seems to work well for him. He opens each container once a week to flip the cheese and let the air in the container get exchanged.
 
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