After studying the variety of cheese cave environments and trying the approach of aging on wire racks for a year, we decided to go with the European tradition of aging on hardwood shelves this year. George custom-cut new shelving from Southern Yellow Pine (very hard wood) and installed them this month. They smell and look so great!
Our cave is not as large as a true commercial operation…only enough room for about 50 wheels.
We’ll age the brie and other bloomy-rinded cheeses in a special box so that the aging cultures don’t migrate from one cheese to another (see table at the end of the cave):
The cave was built five feet into the ground (just to the top of the water table) and extends 3 feet into the air, then there is another five feet of clay and sandy soil piled on top, for insulation. It stays a cool 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 – 85% relative humidity during the aging season.
Wheels should start appearing down here by early April. Looking forward to the sights, smells and tastes!