Homemade Cheese Cave

We have an old, white freezer that we picked up along with an old green freezer a couple years ago. I think we paid $50 each for them. The green freezer we have filled with veggies and beef right now (along with several more freezers) but the white one is sitting empty and has not been used recently.

Needing a place to properly age my cheese and not wanting to spend a lot of money for a cheese cave, I have decided to buy an external over-riding thermostat. The thermostat will plug into the outlet and the freezer will plug into the thermostat. Then, I will be able to set the temp in the freezer to the correct aging temperature for whatever cheese I am making. I did a search online for one, and found one for $80 through a cheese making supply site, but after researching a little further, I found one through a brewing store that does the same thing for $58.99 plus shipping.

I made a number of cheeses last winter but did not have a good place to age them so I used my refrigerator where the temperature setting was actually too low. I have since read that it is better to age cheese at a higher temperature (such as a cool room in the basement) rather than to age them at too low of a temperature where the flavors won't develop properly. (Caution: Temps that are much too warm will cause the cheese to have an off flavor and not be pleasant to eat. It's a delicate balance and thus the importance of having a cheese cave!)

On a side note, I stopped to consider with the nine to ten gallons of milk that I am now getting a day, I have around 63 - 70 gallons of milk going through my kitchen in one week! And, it's still not enough! I am still not to the point where I have enough to feed the hens the several gallons a day of clabbered milk that I was feeding them. They are lucky to get the buttermilk left over after I finish making butter!


Deb said...

Oh boy, I can't imagine having that much milk a day! Mabel isn't giving even close to that, she has really cut down I think lately, not sure exactly why. She never did give us LOTS, like we hear they can, even before winter started.

I've seen those thermostats, and wondered about them, but I don't have an old fridge/freezer to use it on...and wouldn't have enough cheese for a big one anyway I don't think, least not that this point. LOL A small dorm one might work though, or a small wine cooler. I've heard that those work, cause they can be set a little warmer than a fridge can...I just gotta come up with the money for whatever it is I'm going to use now. Thanks for the link for the thermostat, that’s cheaper than what I've seen them for to. :)

Jessika said...

That is a good price! I use an old fridge too, and with much tending can get it to stay around 45-50 but thats work!
I hope to build a real cave this summer....

Tammy Renee' Cupp said...

Deb, I have three cows in milk right now. Two of those are standard size and one is a miniature. Soon I will have five in milk! ;-) I wonder if you could find a dorm size refrigerator on Craig's List for cheap and use the thermomstat since you don't need a big cave?

Jessika, do you have this external thermostate on your refrigerator? Please share your plans for you cheese cave as I would love to know how to build a "real" one! Maybe you can dedicate a post on your blog to it! (hint, hint)

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

Sounds like a great plan Tammy!
DH uses one of those for a fermenting fridge. I would love to find another fridge so I can have one designated for cheeses.
Keep us posted on yours!

Tammy Renee' Cupp said...

Mike read this post and commented that we only paid $60 for two freezers. So, that means the one we are not using only cost me $30. Guess I can't go wrong giving it a try!

Deb said...

Wow, three cows would be more than enough for us to try to deal with their milk I'm sure. LOL I can't imagine 5 of them...We would be giving lots to our animals too I would think. I would like one more cow, but with it just being the two of us, unless I acually got GOOD at making cheese and we would eat it I can't see needing more than that. (Even if I gave some away to my parents I doubt we would need more than two...course not sure if DH will be happy with that many. *giggle*)

I've looked at craigs list, and will probably go that route once I get a little extra money...if that ever happens around here, there are several things we need to be getting soon, and I'm trying to figure out how we can. LOL Thanks for the info.

Regina @VestPocketFamilyFarm said...

External overriding thermostat, filed for later use in my brain. I am going to have one of those!