Saturday, May 24, 2014

New cheese cave installed!

Woo-hoo!  We found a great deal on a new "cheese cave"  that fits our needs perfectly!   The cave is really a frost free stand up freezer with a special add on temperature controller.   But hey...  It works like a cave!

Frost free is necessary because we age cheese at 53 degrees.  A normal stand up freezer has coils under the shelves.  When the compressor runs,  the cools cool and frost over.  When the compressor quits,  the 50 degree condition melts the frost and....  Dripping water from each shelf.  Not good!  Frost free has coils in the back which eliminate the problem.

The temperature controller is from an online home brew store.  It accepts a 110v plug,  and through a seperate bulb temp sensor allows setting of gemperature from about 30 to 70 degrees.  Works quick and easy!  Just plug the freezer into it,  and plug it into the wall,  set whatever temp you like and it just works.

Why a freezer?  Space!  Fridges almost always have built in freezers.  That is wasted space for us.  You can't keep both at the same temp,  so only one is useable.  Freezers are a big box all the same temp :)

Humidity?  We are monitoring that....  Might need to add humidity for cheese aging,  since the frost free nature removes internal humidity.  But then again.  Because of daily openings allowing fresh air in,  and higher temp meaning less running,  maybe not.  Remains to be seen.

So here it is.  Cheese cave!  We have our first 6 blocks of goat cheddar aging now,  each wrapped in a coating of bright red cheese wax.  The one on the shelf is yesterday's block being salted daily while waiting for waxing.

Taste tests are very positive!  And we are learning....  But well on our way.  The plan for now is to keep producing 2 to 3  blocks of cheese,  about 6 lbs each,  of various cheddar flavors.  Jalapeño will be next!  But my goal is a nice mild blueberry cheddar desert cheese :)

All of our cheese are raw organic high nutrient goats milk from our own milk,  aged at least 60 days before sell.   The clock is ticking!

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