- What’s the Best Humidity and Temperature for Cheese?
- How to Measure Cheese Humidity
- The Best Digital Hygrometer Thermometer for Storing or Aging Cheese at Home
- How to Make Your Own Cheese Cave and Age Cheese at Home
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your favorite cheeses taste amazing is to keep them in a Cheese Grotto, which provides the humid environment cheeses need to last longer. To level up your cheese storage game, use a digital hygrometer to measure cheese humidity. Here’s what you need to know about cheese humidity and how to measure it, whether you’re storing or aging cheese at home.
What’s the Best Humidity and Temperature for Cheese?
In general, cheese needs pretty high humidity to taste its best. That’s true whether you’re storing cut pieces of cheese or aging cheese at home. Just make sure that moisture doesn’t collect and come into contact with your cheese.
The ideal humidity level for storing cheese is between roughly 70% and 90% relative humidity. This range applies whether you’re storing cheese in your Cheese Grotto on the counter or in the fridge.
The ideal temperature for storing cheese is 38 to 41 degrees to keep it for two to three weeks in a Grotto inside your refrigerator. If you have the ability to get closer to cheese cave temperatures (50 to 55 degrees), you can store cheese in the Grotto at this temperature for up to two weeks.
Cheese can also be kept unwrapped in a Cheese Grotto on your countertop for up to seven days as long as your kitchen is below 70 degrees. That way, your cheeses are always ready to enjoy at the perfect serving temperature.
Cheese needs a pretty high level of humidity to age properly, too, usually between 75% relative humidity and 99% relative humidity when kept at temperatures between 50 to 55 degrees.
Note that the warmer a space is, the more moisture the air can hold, so relative humidity and temperature have an inverse relationship. For example, the amount of moisture in the air at 70% relative humidity in a 45-degree space will be less than 70% relative humidity in a 60-degree space.
How to Measure Cheese Humidity
The best way to measure cheese humidity is with a hygrometer. This small, inexpensive device looks like a thermometer, with a sensor and a dial or digital readout that displays information.
Just like thermometers, hygrometers can be analog or digital. An analog hygrometer has a dial that indicates the relative humidity of a given space with a needle. A digital hygrometer will show this information with an electronic or LCD panel.
We typically recommend digital hygrometers to measure cheese humidity because they tend to be more accurate, easier to read, and easier to calibrate. Many digital hygrometers also measure and display temperature as well as relative humidity.
The Best Digital Hygrometer for Storing or Aging Cheese at Home
Our favorite digital hygrometer is the Polished Gold Finish Digital Hygrometer Thermometer. We love it because it’s accurate, compact, and simple to use. Its easy-to-read LCD face shows temperature and humidity at a glance. Plus, its shiny gold bezel looks gorgeous against the beautiful wood of any Cheese Grotto.
To use a digital hygrometer, install the batteries and place the device in the space where you’re storing your cheese. If you’re using it in your Grotto, try propping it up against one of the walls or between shelves so that it’s easy to read through the door. You can also lay it flat on a shelf.
When your hygrometer senses a relative humidity of below 70%, it’s time to boost the humidity in your cheese storage space. With the Cheese Grotto, this takes just a few minutes. Simply remove the clay brick, then soak it in fresh, cool water for two minutes. Remove the brick from the water, wipe off any residual moisture, and place it back on the floor of your Grotto.
How to Make Your Own Cheese Cave and Age Cheese at Home
If you’re ready to take your love of cheese to the next level, consider aging your own cheese at home. You can do this with whole wheels of cheese purchased from your favorite cheesemaker or cheese shop or make your own cheese to age at home.
To age cheese at home, you’ll need to recreate the conditions of a cheese cave: cool but not too cold and very humid, ideally with the ability to raise or lower humidity and temperature as needed.
How to Control Temperature and Humidity in Your Home Cheese Cave
A wine fridge (or even a wine cellar, if you’re lucky enough to have one in your home) is the perfect place to keep your fully stocked Cheese Grotto. The cool, humid conditions in these spaces are designed to store wine, but they’re also great for storing cut wedges or ripening whole wheels of fresh or aged cheese.
What You Need
- A wine fridge or wine cellar large enough to hold a Cheese Grotto
- A Cheese Grotto, preferably the spacious Classico (or a custom-built Grotto for larger batches)
- A digital hygrometer thermometer
- Young, unripened wheels of cheese
Before you create your home cheese cave, ensure that all materials and work surfaces are scrupulously clean and sanitized.
Step 1: Plug in your wine fridge and set the temperature to 55 degrees. Give the wine fridge some time to cool down before the next step.
Step 2: Place unripened cheeses in your Cheese Grotto. Remove, soak, and replace the Grotto’s reusable clay brick, then place the digital hygrometer in the Grotto according to the instructions above. Close the Grotto door.
Step 3: Place your fully stocked Grotto into the cool wine fridge. Check the digital hygrometer daily to ensure that the cheese aging space is at the proper humidity (75%-95%) and temperature (50 to 55 degrees)
Step 4: Monitor the cheese daily for signs of ripeness, such as white mold blooming on the surface and softening cheese texture. Check out our tutorial on how to ripen fresh cheese in the Grotto for more info.
Step 5: When your cheese is ripe, dig in and enjoy! Be sure to clean the Grotto thoroughly before stocking it with a fresh batch of unripened cheese.
Have you tried using a digital hygrometer with your Cheese Grotto? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!