Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Cheese Cave

Yesterday Michael put my little old dorm fridge outside so I could clean it up and get it ready for cheeses.  I had briefly used it as a cheese cave 2 years ago and it promptly populated my cheeses with gobs of blue/green mold.

This time I cleaned out the fridge with warm soapy water and then sprayed every inch of it down with starsan ( I love that stuff for sterilizing cheesemaking equipment, also good for sterilizing beermaking stuff).  It dried out in the sun for an hour or so and then we hooked it up to the Johnson controls thermostat set at 45F ('cuz the darn thing needs to be set 10 degrees lower so it will cool the fridge to 55F).   The stirred curd cheddar I made earlier this month is sitting in the cheese fridge now in its waxed glory.  The next resident destined for the cave is the monterey jack cheese air drying on my kitchen counter on a cutting board and sushi mat.  The brine for the manchego cheese is sitting in the cave coming down to 55F so it will be ready when the cheese is removed from the press.. 

To keep the mold beasties at bay, I'm going to keep the cheeses in individual plastic containers on their own little cheesy mats!  That should also help with humidity control as fridges are notoriously dry environments.  We will see if that works.  I sincerely hope so.  If not, I'm not sure what the next steps will be.  Stay tuned for more cheesy adventures!

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