Cheese aging tips
Friday, Aug 28th 2015

Like many of life's delights, fine cheeses have an extremely specific creation process. Making different kinds of cheese requires different levels of mastery, but one thing all fine cheeses require is proper aging.

To understand why cheeses need this, it is important to note what is happening during aging. Basically, mold or bacteria in the cheese breaks down fats and proteins with something called an enzyme, or a product often made by living organisms to bring about a specific biochemical reaction. As this happens, the different kinds of mold and bacteria use different kinds of enzymes to break down the cheese, and these different enzymes bring about each cheese's specific smell and taste. 

So, basically, bacteria or mold is doing all the hard work in terms of aging the cheese. That being said, there are very specific guidelines that need to be followed in order to correctly age cheese.

How to set up a 'cave'
Even though the enzyme-producing mold or bacterium is doing all the heavy lifting here, there is still a good amount of work to be done in order to set up the right environment for aging cheese. The cheese aging area, known in the business as a "cave," is pretty simple to set up.

Although a refrigerator could be used as a cave, they're generally too cold and have a tendency to suck out the moisture of a cheese. A chilly cellar might be a better option, with a damp paper towel stuck in the lid of an airtight container. This is to allow the air in the container to be dampened, but make sure to avoid letting the paper towel touch the cheese. 

Another bit to take into consideration is what kind of cheese is being aged, as different types of cheeses require different temperature monitoring. Rindless cheeses like fresh mozzarella and feta need to be stored between 35 and 39 degrees Fahrenheit, natural rind cheeses like Parmesan and aged Provolone need to be kept between 40 and 45 degrees, and finally washed rind cheeses like Gruyere need to be kept between 40 and 50 degrees F. Making sure the temperature data on these cheeses is at the right level is key, and a temperature sensor is an absolute must for those that wish to age their cheeses at the correct temperature. 

Thankfully, ITWatchDogs has a host of products designed specifically to monitor temperatures. Not only will these products allow for up-to-date temperature monitoring, they also have a high temperature alarm built in so that a text alert is sent out if any cheese reaches an undesirable temperature level. 

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