Keepin’ It Cool
Check out my thermostat!
My cheese cave is finally properly equipped and I can affinage like a pro! I was relying on the dumb temperature knob inside my dorm fridge and a suction-cupped thermometer to keep the temperature right for aging cheese, but it tended to be too cold, even when set at its warmest, and fluctuated a lot on the refrigerator’s normal cooling cycles. Now, with this little gadget, the right temperature (usually 55-degrees) is easy to achieve and keep steady.
This box plugs into the wall and the refrigerator plugs into it. The thin cord at the bottom has a sensor on the end that goes inside the fridge-cave and tells the box when to turn on and off, overriding the fridge’s own cycle, and making sure things stay at the right temp. As you can see, there’s a knob where you can adjust the temperature to whatever is right for the cheese you’re making, or even to different temperatures at various stages of aging.
Cheesemaking supply businesses sell these gadgets, but I actually got mine (thanks to my dear old beer-making Dad) from a brewing supply place (William’s Brewing) and it was much less expensive (like $25-35!). There seem to be some slight differences in how it works (like incrementally set temperature selections rather than a gradual adjustment knob, an option for cooling in stages rather than all at once, and even a heating function, which I assume is specific to beer-making), but it gets the job done. Now I can be sure my cheese is just the right amount of cool, and comes out looking, tasting, and smelling totally cool, too!