Cheese Makers Forum FAQ Equipment part 1 Equipment part 2 History

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Update on my Cheese Cave

Last year in April I dug a hole in the ground and sunk a 40 gallon plastic garbage can to be used as a cheese cave. In that container I placed a five gallon bucket with cheeses sealed in individual plastic containers. Here is what I discovered:
  • First, no bugs got to the cheese. Over the course of more than a year they did penetrate the first layer, but not the five gallon bucket or the individual containers.
  • Even though the cheeses were wax sealed, they still wept. Each container had perhaps a half inch of liquid in them, so the cheeses should be elevated even in the final container.
  • 1 year 3 months is too old for most cheeses in this environment, but all but one were quite edible. Very strong, very 'blue' tasting, very fragrant, but only a single cheese was actually bad. This was after more than a year of aging.
  • Aging this way really can work if your cheese has a low lactose, low moisture level. Wash the curd to remove lactose, and give it a good rind before burying and you will be good.
  • Don't age cheese through an enormously hot summer like we had last year :D
Here is the original post of the cellar:
Here are some pictures of the cellar I built a week or so ago. The thing on the side of the wall is a wireless temperature/humidity monitor, so I don't have to open it up to check out the environment. It's been raining pretty steadily since it went in the ground, and no water has made it in. Unfortunately I won't know if it is a success or not for another couple months, but I do have my blue cheeses stored out there. Two upgrades that I'm planning are to add an air out take, so I can better control temperature and humidity, and perhaps a few run-off holes in the bottom in case of puddling. I need to devise a better system for stacking, since I don't want things piled on top of each other, and I also don't want to get on my hands and knees in the mud to get things out.

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