The cheese drought has broken, and I am back in business! I have a new cheese cave.
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 cave? What did you use to control the temperature?