Cheese Cave

June 5, 2012

My husband Burtle had been wanting to brew a lager for a while, but the yeast really needs 50⁰. As a result, we took our old refrigerator and bought a device that controls the temperature for lagering.

Let me explain – the device plugs into the wall, which you then plug the refrigerator into the device. The device also has a cable with a thermometer on it that you place in the refrigerator. Refrigerators are designed to cool things to around 40⁰ before turning off, which is much too cold for lager yeast. This device instead cuts the power to the refrigerator when the temp gets down to 50⁰. We did add some jugs full of water to help fill the space and make the warming up period take longer.

But isn’t the title of this blog post “cheese cave”? What does setting up a refrigerator to be 50⁰ have to do with cheese? Well, actually, 50⁰ is the preferred temperature for aging cheese. Burtle got the lower portion to ferment and chill his beer, and I got the upper portion to age my homemade cheese.

I took one of the old drawers from the refrigerator and used that as my cheese cave. I put wax paper on the bottom of it, and I put a small bowl with a damp cotton rag in the back. The damp cotton rag, as it attempts to dry, will release moisture. The ideal humidity for cheese is around 70-80%. I found a cheap thermometer with a humidity gage on it and placed it in the front so that I can just glance at it and see what the conditions are in my cheese cave. From there, I covered the whole thing with cellophane to trap the moisture.

I have the ideal conditions for making cheese now!

Hmm, humidity is a little low. Time to change out the cloth!

One Response to “Cheese Cave”

  1. […] I have a proper cheese cave, I finally did it – I made a cheese with rennet that required aging. I made Gouda, which I […]

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