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Thread: Cheese Caves

  1. #1
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    Bennington Vt.
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    Cheese Caves

    We have a good customer who manufactures cheese. He is asking us to get a working model of a cheese cave so they will able to age their cheese in a three month period.

    We have an upright soda bottle cooler that we would like to use as a prototype.

    The parameters that we are looking to maintain are 55F and 80%-90% R.H.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on this project ??

  2. #2
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    Maple Grove, MN
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    It sounds like you need something similar to a "retarder". They are somewhat common in pizza joints and other places that make a lot of bread dough.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Interesting idea, not sure how feasible it is for a prototype.

    55 @ 80% RH has a dew point of 49 (52 DP @ 90%RH) so you will need to have your coil right around 50-51 to not dehumidify. That's a TD of only 3-5. You will need supplemental humidification to ever achieve those high RH levels. Given it is food I'd say pad style humidification is out of the question so steam perhaps, how would you distribute it so you don't create condensation problems.

    If this were to be done on a large scale I'd imagine you would need reheat coils and some serious controls to run it.

    I'd take a look at the Johnson 350 series of controls for the prototype.
    You will also need a larger coil than it already has and a smaller compressor.

    Sounds fun, keep us posted, I'd love to see pics if you build it.

  4. #4
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    Maybe design it so that the evaporator drains to a small heated condensate pan, placed inside on the floor of the unit

  5. #5
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    Western KY
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    Like the name says"cave" put it under ground. Constant temp will take care of its self. Work the humidity issue from there.

  6. #6
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    Jun 2012
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    Tenn
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    55 degrees and 80%-90% humidity sounds like an air conditioned egg incubator job. The load isn't that great. It's controlling the humidity. My wife and I have made some goats milk cheeze and all we used for storing is a well air conditioned and dark closet. We made softer cheeses, but humidity wasn't even something we monitored for the chavez cheese. Because moisture ladened air will frequently need to be brought into the Cheese Cave, I don't know if converting something as well sealed as a soda cooler would bring nearly the results that cooling something that allows breathing, such as an incubator. As with the incubation, I would place the water source low in the Cheese Cave.

  7. #7
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    Spokane, Washington
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    I had an old walk in cooler that I converted to an aging room by adding a defrost element to the back of the evaporator coil and a humidifier rigged through a power strip which was controlled by a humidistat/thermostat combination (greenhouse supplier). Once I got it dialed in it worked really well. I never realized how much moisture "new" cheese released until one day it was literally raining in the cooler and the evap couldn't get rid of it all, hence the defrost element before the evap. Just takes a little "backwoods" engineering! There is a massive swing in humidity control from beginning to end.
    A smooth sea has never made a worthy mariner
    English proverb

  8. #8
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    Bennington Vt.
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    Wow!.. Thanks for all of the responses.. As far as humidity goes we are trying to stay away form open "bowls " or standing water due to any water borne nastiness.

    We dont think the steam idea is going to work due to the extra B.T.U.'s it will produce.

    We are going to try a combination Temp -RH% control and drill a small hole into the case with a small produce nozzle that will be spraying inside the evap. cabinet near the evaporator fan as to distribute the vapor better. The nozzle will have a solenoid to control the drop in RH% ...

    Thank you Helioson for the reheat idea. The over humidification could have sunk us, as we dont exactly know what to expect form the aging process. I am wondering who you got the combination Stat from? And does the stat de-humidfy and humidify all in one control or did you set up a separate control for the reheat coil? Any thoughts or where we can get a relatively in expensive combination control ? Those puppies aren't cheap ---

    Thanks again guys

  9. #9
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    Got an early "freezer down" call this morning, but I'll get back and try to find the info, it's was 2003/7 so it has been awhile.
    A smooth sea has never made a worthy mariner
    English proverb

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helioson View Post
    Got an early "freezer down" call this morning, but I'll get back and try to find the info, it's was 2003/7 so it has been awhile.
    Absolutely no rush... Thanks in advance

  11. #11
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    Wow, I'm getting Oldtimers in the brain! I had a Green Air Products THC-1 Humidity Controller controlling a humidifier and a Esapco Corrosive Enviornment Thermostat controlling the condensor (ammonia output). I did not have a dual controller. The THC-1 has a switch to go from humidify (going to the humdifier) and dehumidify (which went to the heating element). The THC-1 could call for humidity up to 95% RH. My wife reminded me that she spent a great deal of time monitoring it because she was aging several different batches at a time (the humidity was up and down alot). If you stay with small single batches it would be much easier. I haven't searched the net yet, but out paperwork showed the THC-1 from Superior Growers at $145 and the Esapco for $58, of course that was 10 years ago. You dont have to go with the CET Tstat (I always lean towards the expensive stuff). Our friends back in Wisconsin recommend to check out "cheeseforum.org" for some good info as well. I wish you the best! Good luck!
    A smooth sea has never made a worthy mariner
    English proverb

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helioson View Post
    Wow, I'm getting Oldtimers in the brain! I had a Green Air Products THC-1 Humidity Controller controlling a humidifier and a Esapco Corrosive Enviornment Thermostat controlling the condensor (ammonia output). I did not have a dual controller. The THC-1 has a switch to go from humidify (going to the humdifier) and dehumidify (which went to the heating element). The THC-1 could call for humidity up to 95% RH. My wife reminded me that she spent a great deal of time monitoring it because she was aging several different batches at a time (the humidity was up and down alot). If you stay with small single batches it would be much easier. I haven't searched the net yet, but out paperwork showed the THC-1 from Superior Growers at $145 and the Esapco for $58, of course that was 10 years ago. You dont have to go with the CET Tstat (I always lean towards the expensive stuff). Our friends back in Wisconsin recommend to check out "cheeseforum.org" for some good info as well. I wish you the best! Good luck!


    That will do just perfectly ...Thank you so much for the info.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2012
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    2,741
    Imagine a cheese cave with a 90 inch screen tv and a stripper pole in it. YEA.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

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