Converting an Old Milking Parlor into a Cheese Cave?
Call me crazy, but this space ticks a lot of boxes for a cheese cave.
Here is a photo of the old milking parlor.
There’s a good amount of research online for building your own cheese cave and I think that this would make an excellent place for aging cheese.
With cheese caves there’s no need to use wax or another substance to form a protective rind on your cheese.
Aging slowly in a cheese cave environment allows the cheese to develop a natural rind and creates more intense flavors.
I found “Current Options in Cheese Aging Caves: An Evaluation, Comparison and Feasibility Study” (PDF) by Silvery Moon Creamery most helpful.
Cheese caves have several important environmental characteristics that we can replicate in the old milking parlor:
- Average humidity of 75-95%
- Temperature range of 50º
- Gentle air flow
Since the room is partially underground we can take advantage of the cooler ambient ground temperatures.
It is all made of concrete and can be insulated (R-24 to R-30) to keep the cold temps in.
A humidifier can be used to keep the moisture up depending on the season.
Lots of cheese cavers just throw water on the floor in Summer to increase humidity which is super low-tech.
There are two drains installed on the floor which makes clean-up easier.
Passive venting can be used to create the gentle air flow which helps the cheeses age and ripen evenly.
Cheese cave floor space:
500+ Wheels of Cheese?
The dark grey section above with the 5′ width is the pit (for lack of a better word) where the milk man would be at a good udder height for milking.
I would use the pit as the main pathway between long shelves of wood. Perfect for turning and inspecting wheels of cheese.
The shelves could be 32′ long and 4 shelves high. If I estimate at least 2 wheels of cheese per board in this arrangement, that would be 64 wheels per shelf and 256 wheels per side, and 512 as total storage capacity.
This number also matches up well with another calculation I have involving 20 wheels of 1kg cheese per week for 26 weeks of lactation for 7 Icelandic Sheep.
Of course, I could be way off! But there is no way to really know until you try, right?