My New Cheese Cave

The cheese drought has broken, and I am back in business!

I mentioned this in my last podcast or two, but finally I saved up enough money to replace my ailing cheese fridge with a brand new small bar fridge with external thermostat.

To recap, this is the old cheese fridge.

It was just a wine fridge that worked using a thermoelectric system, which performs best in homes that are not kept much warmer than 24°C (75°F).  Unfortunately, my home get well about that, that the temperature of this unit would drift at least 10°C above what I had it set at.  This was not satisfactory for cheese making, and some cheeses even started to weep oil.  
So I had to place the two cheeses I made in early December into the normal kitchen fridge, until I saved up for a replacement.
Thankfully, that day was today.  Last week I purchased a small bar fridge for a couple of hundred dollars, and found a suitable external thermostat for A$21.  

The fridge has three racks inside and room for about 30 wheels of cheese.  More than enough, I think.

The thermostat is very basic.  Plug it into a power socket, then plug in the fridge.  Set it to cool by holding in the centre button for 4 seconds, then set your desired temperature with the SET button.  Pretty simple, although I have noticed that it sits about 1°C below its setting.

This shot shows the probe, which is the grey cable with a white probe on the end to the left.  I placed my normal hygrometer next to it to check if it was reading true.  This the display was still cooling down at the time.  I have just dangled the sensor probe through the fridge seal and tied gently to the middle rack.  Nothing too technical like drilling holes through the side of the fridge.  I wanted to keep it simple.  
This method does not seem to be affecting the temperature, as it is sitting at a comfortable 13°C now, and has been for the last hour with the fridge turned off.
Once the temperature had stabilised, I placed the two cheeses, a Romano Pepato and a Cotswold, that I had stored in the kitchen fridge.
Speaking of temperature, the weather cooled down sufficiently (24°C) on Sunday for me to make two wheels of cheese.  
It was glorious.  I felt so, so, so refreshed.  It had been over six weeks since I made cheese, and it was starting to get withdrawal symptoms. 😉
More about the cheese I made in the next post, but suffice it to say, it was great fun running my fingers through curds and whey once again!
Have any of you recently set up a new cheese fridge/cave?  What did you use to control the temperature?

Comments

  1. Adam says

    What you also have there Gavin, when you have no cheese on, the go is a temperature controlled fermenter for your homebrew. Controlling the fermentation temp makes a big difference to the quality of the brew.

  2. says

    I feel you enthusiasm and thanks for the info on the external thermostat. I just have one question in regards to liquid and tablet rennet, is one better or easier to use than the other?

  3. says

    Hi Gavin.
    I have an older ordinary fridge, as my husband has fitted an additional thermostat in. The temperature varies between 11.4 and 12.6 C, I have attached a thermometer which also hygrometer in the inside of the door so I can always check both.
    I think it fit fine for me. When it's winter, we have an unheated room upstairs where I can put my stilton and brie. It has also been ok with about 10C …
    Congrats with youre new cave.
    Hugs here from Denmark, Aase

  4. says

    Hi Gavin, I am new to cheesemaking and was just about to buy a wine fridge for my cheese cave. do you belive this is a better option?
    How would this go through winter? would it get too cold?
    Do you still have to ad a bowl of water in the bottom to add extra humidity still?
    Thanks for your help and advice.
    Andrew

  5. says

    Have had a dedicated cheese fridge for a while but it has been a challenge keeping the temperature correct using the built-in thermostat. Thanks, Gavin, for the link to the 240v controller with probe – did not know about them so one has now been ordered.

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