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.
Who knows where this may lead? Wallace and Gromit might come over for a visit and a nice piece of Wensleydale!
Darren (Green Change) 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:
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!
Darren (Green Change) says
Err, I meant “turn my chest freezer into a chest fridge”!
Got that bass-ackwards. 🙂
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 🙂
Well if you do end up hitting the markets let me know if you are coming to the Ballarat Lakeside Market I would love to buy some!
Rhonda Jean 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.
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 🙂
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.
How do you keep the humidy level high enough?
Gavin Webber says
Hi Anon. Put a container of water in the bottom of the fridge. It raises the relative humidity.