Preserving Different Styles of Cheese in the Grotto, Pt. 4

Ambient climates

Room Temperature

Today's lesson in cheese preservation focuses on storing styles of cheese at room temperature, or between 41 and 69 degrees Fahrenheit.  The rate of fermentation and ripening of a cheese is directly related to the temperature in which the cheese is stored.  So, if cheese is stored in a warmer climate, warmer than refrigeration temperatures, it will undoubtedly ripen faster.  Now, this is not a negative thing if you are looking to enjoy your cheese within a few days of purchasing.  In fact, many cheese specialists leave their cheeses in the Grotto on the kitchen counter because they love enjoying their cheese at temp.  Over numerous days, a cheese at room temperature can actually blossom in flavor and texture.  

One example of this: You purchase a whole wheel of camembert, but it feels quite firm.  If you place it in the Grotto for a day or two, the wheel will ripen further, the cheese enzymes will continue to do their work, and the result will be that unctuous, gooey Camembert texture we all love. Now, this can also happen if the Grotto is in the fridge, but it will take weeks to ripen, as opposed to a couple of days.

The Actual Climate

Bear in mind that the Grotto is a breathable box: it is not hermetically sealed. Because of this, it is important to monitor the Grotto more closely when placing it in a wine cellar or a cellar of any kind.  Our kitchens and cellars are wonderful opportunities for microbes to grow, and sometimes, they will latch onto the cheese. If this happens, simply pat down the cheese rind. DO NOT leave it and forget about it, especially when storing cheese for the first time in a new environment.  This method takes a bit more know-how than placing the Grotto in the fridge, but can provide wonderful results. 

Another thing to consider is the environment's natural humidity level, as that will impact the Grotto.  If you live in a location where the humidity is naturally 90% or more, the Cheese Grotto will also maintain a 90% humidity or more with the cheese added.  Because of this increase in humidity, your cheese may ripen faster.

Many Europeans store their cheese outside of the fridge, it simply requires a bit more cheese knowledge to do so. 

My recommendation is to purchase a hygrometer/thermometer to help monitor the ideal conditions: 75% to 85% relative humidity and below 70 degrees F.  I am going to be selling my favorite one on the website very soon!

 

 


2 comments

  • Hi Toddie, Absolutely, will write a blog post about this! I will also follow up with an email to address an specific questions you may have.

    Jessica Sennett
  • I just got a Cheese Grotto for my birthday and am very excited to start using it! I love to eat cheese, cook with cheese, and share cheese with my family and friends but I know very little about storing cheese. My husband also got me the hygrometer but I know even less about what to do with it and there was no instruction booklet for the hygrometer! Can you write a post with “Hygrogrometer for Dummies” kind of information that helps me know when and how to use it and with what kind of cheeses. I hope to learn a lot more about storing cheese and I experiment with my new grotto and I expect to look here for lots of information and guidance. Thanks!

    Toddie Peters

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