Friday, August 2, 2013

Maturing cheese in a cheese fridge

When our cows first calve, we have to milk them daily and end up with so much milk, we nearly have to make a cheese daily to keep up!  The occasional cheese can be matured in the back of a normal fridge.  Sure the temperature is a bit low for proper maturation, but there's no point turning on another fridge just for one or two cheeses.  But when we start to have 10 or 20 cheeses, we need the cheese fridge so we have somewhere to put them all!


Fortunately for us, we had a spare bar fridge, that wasn't being used for anything and wasn't really worth selling.  We set that up with a thermostat and can easily adjust the temperature to suit cheese maturation.  Ideally cheese should mature at around 8-12degC, which is warmer than a normal fridge temperature of 5degC.  We just plug the fridge into the thermostat, and the thermostat into the socket.  The temperature sensor goes in the fridge and we set the temperature on the dial to about 10degC.  A second thermometer in the fridge is a double-check on the thermostat.  The cheeses are either vacuum sealed, or more recently I've ventured into waxing the cheese.  There's also jars of feta in olive oil in the door.




How do you mature cheese at the right temperatures?

monday's homestead barn hopFrom The Farm Blog HopHomegrown on the Hill  Small Footprint Fridays - A sustainable living link-up  blog gathering

13 comments:

  1. I would love to put up hard cheeses. It is on my "someday" list!
    For now it is just soft cheeses.
    Thanks for the information :) something to tuck away for future use :)

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  2. oh how awesome to have a cheese fridge!

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  3. Wow! For how long do the cheeses mature in the fridge?

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    1. I just pull out the oldest one when we need one, but apparently the longer the better. Some like parmesan are supposed to age for months, and as long as several years. The flavour develops as the cheese manures.

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  4. I used to have a designated shelf in the fridge (one Dexter cow's worth of cheese) but I love the idea of a cheese fridge! Sadly, my much loved cow died a few years ago and the feed on our new block will not sustain a cow, maybe a goat in the future. We also live on stand alone solar, so the addition of a few more panels and a larger battery bank would be required to run even one fridge.
    My grandfather, who lived in St Albans, Sydney, had a cheese cave on his property; it had niches in the wall and a sandy floor.

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    Replies
    1. sorry to hear about your cow. I would love a cheese cave! If I can work out how to create a stable temperature in our sub-tropical humid climate I will try it.

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  5. Saying 'I'll just go check the cheese fridge' is even more awesome than saying 'I'll just go check the wine fridge' :D

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  6. Your cheeses look gorgeous! How does the wax work out?

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    1. I haven't tried a waxed out yet, still working through the vacuum packs, it was fun painting on the wax though, very messy!

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  7. Looks like a great set-up. I have a spare fridge, but it has to be used for other things besides cheese, so I can't set the temp at optimum cheese levels.

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  8. Can you explain more about how the thermostat is used and how it all works? I like that idea better than an expensive wine fridge.

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    Replies
    1. The thermostat has a temperature sensor which is in the fridge, and a setpoint (mine has a dial, you can also get digital versions). The thermostat maintains the temperature at setpoint by turning the fridge on and off (and therefore turning the cooling on and off). If you buy one, just make sure that its a "cooling thermostat", from experience, we have tried to use this cooling one for controlling a heat lamp and it doesn't work, so I imagine that a heating one won't work for cooling either! It cost about $100 from a homebrew shop, but you can also find them online.

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  9. Thank you for sharing at the HomeAcre Hop. I hope you'll join us again this Thursday.

    ~ Kathi

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions. Sorry you have to log in now, I was getting too much spam :( if you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile.

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