Want to take your passion for cheese to the next level? Try aging cheese at home! With just a little know-how and a few pieces of equipment that can control temperature and humidity, it’s easy to ripen store-bought or homemade cheese in your own kitchen.
The Best Temperature and Humidity for Aging Cheese
One of the most critical factors in aging cheese is the temperature of the aging space. Cave-aged cheeses are ripened at temperatures between 45 and 70 degrees, depending on the style and desired characteristics. Many of our favorite cheeses are aged somewhere between 50 or 55 degrees.
Cheese temperature affects other factors, like its rate of ripening, microbial growth, and humidity. Relative humidity is inversely proportional to temperature because the warmer the temperature, the more moisture the air can hold. Cheeses held between 50 and 55 degrees should be kept at a relative humidity somewhere between 70% and 99% during aging.
How to Measure Temperature and Humidity When Aging Cheese
Before you can carefully control the temperature and humidity levels in your home cheese cave, you need to be able to measure them accurately. The easiest way to do this is with a digital hygrometer thermometer, which displays instant readouts of the relative humidity and the temperature in the aging space.
The Cheese Grotto is great for aging cheese at home because it provides the humidity cheese needs to age and store properly. You can place our Polished Gold Digital Hygrometer Thermometer flat on one of the shelves or lean it against one of the walls of the Grotto so you can see its display through the front window. When the humidity dips below 70%, simply soak the reusable clay brick to replenish the moisture.
If you have a cool basement or cellar that’s appropriate for food storage, storing your home cheese cave there is a great way to keep the temperature in that cool-but-not-too-cold range. The most precise way to control temperature when aging cheese at home is to use a Cheese Grotto kept inside of a wine fridge.
At What Temperature Should You Store Cheese?
To store finished homemade cheese or store-bought cheese for up to three weeks unwrapped, simply place your Cheese Grotto in the refrigerator. It’ll keep longest when kept at a temperature between 35 and 45 degrees.
If you’re planning to eat your cheese relatively quickly and your kitchen isn’t too warm, you can keep your Cheese Grotto on the counter at room temperature (roughly 60 to 70 degrees). That way, it’s always supple, flavorful, and ready to eat. However, if the temperature hits 70 degrees or above, it’s best to pop your Grotto back in the fridge. (If space is tight, check out our smallest model, the Piatto, which is perfect for smaller kitchens.)
At What Temperature Should You Serve Cheese?
Cheese should be served at room temperature (roughly 70 degrees). This is because cold temperatures mute the flavors and aromas we love in cheese and make its textures firm and waxy. Your cheese will taste best—and you’ll get the most bang for your cheese dollar—when you enjoy it at room temperature.
At what temperature do you store your cheese? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!