Cheese Cave and ageing conditions for long-aged cheese (Fresh cheese types do not need ageing)
A cheese cave can be any humid space for ageing or preserving cheese. A cheese cave can be anything from an actual cave to a refrigerated warehouse to an in-home microclimate box.
Fresh acid cheese rarely, if at all, needs a cheese cave; however, most aged cheeses need a cheese cave.
For the cheese cave, you can use any wooden or plastic container. It can be kept in the refrigerator during the hot season and moved out to a cold room during other seasons. Remember, the temperature should be constant and between 5 and 15 degrees. The ideal temperature is between 8 and 12C degrees, and the humidity of 70% to 90%
The temperature of the cheese cave or during ageing slows down or increases the speed of ripening as it helps the growth of the bacteria and fungi. The refrigerators can also be used; however, the low temperature will boost the development of the “Penicillium roqueforti” used in blue cheeses and decrease “Geotrichum candidum” (that makes the white rind) that prefers warmer conditions. So the colder conditions make the white cheeses susceptible to blue cheese fungus. However, the opposite could happen - the warmer conditions can make blue cheeses white instead. Warmer conditions also can liquify the cheeses and also make them look greasy.
Many kinds of cheese can ripen with no air; for this purpose, they are waxed or brined as they are ripped from the inside out. However, fungal-based cheeses need air to ripen.
The refrigerators are ideal because they cool but are too dry, so some containers with water need to be added.
Cigars humidifier. They are with the proper humidity but not cool enough. So if you have one and want to use it, place it in a cool room.
A wine fridge could do the job, as well as special cheese boxes designed particularly for ageing cheeses and famous in Italy, Spain and France.
You can also use large Maison Jars for a small amount; however, some aged cheeses need flipping, which can be tricky when jars are used.
Wooden board for ageing the cheese: Wood has been used as a material for making and ageing cheese for millennia long before people understood the science behind cheese. Wood is an excellent cheesemaking medium because it’s absorbent and helps maintain humidity without condensation on its surface. It can also be cleaned and sanitised easily and then inoculated with the desired cultures, assisting the cheese to mature appropriately and preventing potential pathogens. Please consider that this cheese board should be used for making cheese only and do not use with raw meat or other food.
Any food-grade cutting board will work anyway; however, wood is the prefered material by many cheese enthusiasts.
Ageing conditions: If a block of cheese is kept in a humid environment will increase the fungal cultures
The drier caves will reduce them. The ventilated cheese caves create different cheese compared to non-ventilated ones. The flipping or not of the cheeses also changes the cheese.
The part of the cheese that is in the air will ripen fungally. The other part will ripen bacterially.
Fungi will find their way, and different surface treatment techniques are used - oiling, brushing, vaxing, bandaging, submerged in the brine. All of those reduce the growth of the fungi, reducing the fungus itself or reducing air exposure.