Cheese Fridge

Up until now, I have not been able to make rind cheeses like Parmesan or Gruyere.  Nor have I even thought about making mould ripened cheeses like Camembert, Stilton or Gorgonzola. 

That is until now!  After a fair bit of discussion on my part, and much research on Kim’s part, we are now the proud owners of a Cheese Fridge.  OK, I confess.  It is really a wine fridge with the racks replaced so that cheese will sit on it flat!  I believe that we paid $295, and unfortunately had to buy it new because we couldn’t find a cheap, economical one on ebay or in the trading post.  Freecycle did have a normal fridge but it would have been too hard to change the thermostat to get it up to the temperatures required to ripen cheese.

That aside, it has the right temperature range, it is very economical using about 0.4 kWh per day (yet to measure a full day so this may be lower), and it has a nice light.  I have set it to 12C (nice cheese weather), and will check the energy statistics tomorrow night.  Being on Solar PV, I don’t expect it to be much of a strain on our resources.  Kim found some powder coated racks that were laying in the cupboard which fit very well.  I had to bend the ends so that they fit, but at least I can lay sushi mats down for the rind ripened cheeses and plastic mats for mould-ripened cheese to rest on.




This will allow us to make and ripen cheese all year around, and to be able to make all types of cheese and not just waxed ones.  So far in the fridge we have two wheels of Pepper Jack, a Pyrenees with green peppercorns, a Wensleydale sage, half a wheel of Gouda, and a quarter of a wheel of the original Wensleydale.  As you can see I left in two bottle racks just in case I find some local Red Wine worth storing.  The image below is taken without the flash on.  You can see the temperature and the little LED light that you can turn on/off when necessary.  I placed a normal thermometer in the fridge just to see if it was reading accurately.  It is about 1 degree higher, but that could be my crappy thermometer as well.



Once the other types of cheese matures and I get a few friends to taste test, I will investigate what it will take to sell some at a local farmers market.  I know I have to get a food handling certificate, but other than that I am clueless about the procedure.  Of course I won’t sell it all, but it might be a bit of extra pocket money in the future.  I have a mould-ripened cheese making course on the 21st June, so the fridge arrived just in time.

Who knows where this may lead?  Wallace and Gromit might come over for a visit and a nice piece of Wensleydale!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. says

    When you’re ready to step up to a larger fridge for your commercial-sized batches, try using a mains thermostat like the FridgeMate. I used one to turn my chest fridge in to a chest freezer:

    http://green-change.com/2009/05/23/chest-fridge-conversion/

    You can set it to any temperature you like, and position the temperature probe anywhere in the fridge/freezer you like and control it very precisely. Plus you can just use any old fridge or freezer, instead of having to get a specialist one with a wide temperature control range.

    The cheeses look great, though!

  2. says

    Nice one Darren! Now you tell me about the conversion. I didn’t even think about doing one myself.

    I suppose the main reason I chose the wine fridge was because it has no compressor. It is simply a heat exchanger in the back so therefore no refrigerant to act as a greenhouse gas. That is my excuse and I am sticking to it :-)

    Gav

  3. says

    The lack of a cheese fridge turned me off making cheese. I made a couple of batches of Camembert and they were delicious, but oh, the palaver to produce them was a real pain. I live in a dairy region so it’s good to support the locals, even though that raw milk does call to me every now and then.

    Your cheeses look great Gavin. Well done.

  4. says

    Gavin I am so envious of your cheese making. Its on my list of things to do but I would like to do a workshop first.The more I read of your exploits the more determined I become. Keep up the good work and keep us posted about your successes :-)

  5. says

    Gavin, I am really impressed with your pressed cheeses.
    Am ready to move on to these from soft cheeses, and
    I had thought the building a press was going to be the issue, but with the press ready to go, I’m struggling to find a wine fridge that has the 12-13 deg for pressed and the 7-8 degree setting for blues. I was wondering if you would share the brand/model that you purchased, and advising if if does the 7-8 deg also.

Comments build lively communities. Let me know your thoughts, but keep it clean and green! Spam is removed instantly.