My future cheese cave

Cheesecave 102809 Boing Boing guestblogger Connie Choe is a health and culture writer by day and a professional kimchimonger by night.

If you're not already planning to convert that old fridge into a kegerator, perhaps you should consider making your own cheese "cave." Why? Because cheese deserves your adoration, and you could use another hobby. I am planning to steal my husband's mini-fridge for this purpose (this is probably news to him) because it would be so appropriate for the rock star of dairy products to hang out in a unit that looks like an amp. If anyone can figure out how to effectively lower fridge temperature without purchasing a separate thermostat, I would be happy to send you some amateurish homemade cheese.


    1. Sweet that’s the exact same controller as on the site just $20 cheaper.

      I have a wine fridge which I use to age my home made cheeses and cured meats, it’s perfect. Good luck with your endeavors.

  1. I’ve got this bookmarked for future reference…happily, I live in the middle of the Brie region in France, so drive less than a half hour to buy it from people who do all this stuff for me! (and woo….fresh Brie.)

  2. Wouldn’t you want to raise the fridge temp? I always though cheese was stored at a warmer temperature than a standard fridge.

    If that is indeed the case, you could just use one of those socket timers you use for plant lights to limit the amount of time the compressor is running.

    You’d have to do a bit of experimenting to find the proper timing for your desired temperature, but I can’t imagine it’d be that hard.

  3. “Shut up! What did he say?”

    “I think it was, ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers'”

    “What’s so special about the bloody cheesemakers?”

    “Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally. I’m sure he means any manufacturer of dairy products.”

  4. Grainger Industrial Supply has this item for $50
    BTW, I would be a bit cautious about using this on a residential fridge, as it doesn’t seem to have an adjustable deadband, ie, the temperature “area” where it doesn’t control. This keeps the cooling device from cycling on and off rapidly. This could cause a compressor to overheat, certainly causing failure (and maybe a fire!). These things are made for fans, not active cooling devices. WMMV, IMHO.
    Questions? No Problemo. I’m an expert in temperature control. ( No, really. I’m an electronics and thermodynamics metrologist for the world’s largest research lab)

  5. It really shouldn’t be hard to use a programmable logic board (like the basic stamp or arduino).

    And on the topic of fridge temp…

    My fridge (19 cubic ft) works fine when it’s 65-80F in the house, but colder than that and the freezer warms up. Why? Because what it’s really measuring is the fridge temp. And when the temp drops, so does the duty cycle to keep the fridge cool, which means the freezer gets less cold air…. Sometimes I hate being an engineer, it makes me hate the asshole engineers who designed in the first place.

  6. There are lots of low-cost temperature control hacks that homebrewers use and your best bet is probably to talk to a homebrew shop that knows about cheese. Woodland Hills Homebrewing Supply is the only one I know of down there that fits the bill (I’m in NorCal, no connection, I was an occasional WHHBS shopper when I lived in LA.) They also handle cheese-making, winemaking, and I think charcuterie.

    You should be able to find a small fridge for $20 on craigslist if you’re patient and you can get a digital temperature controller off of eBay and wire it yourself (The grey one you picture is more trouble than it’s worth, I’ve dealt with them plenty in 15 years of homebrewing and the digital models are money well spent.)

    The forums on and elsewhere are a good place to look for info on temperature controller models and for instructions on doing the wiring. I don’t want the post geeking out any more than it already has…

  7. pushing daisies anyone?
    “…Charlotte did not refer to a refrigerator as anything other than a cheese box.”

  8. Probably the cheapest thing to do is move the thermocouple in the fridge insulation so it picks up a little more ambient heat…you’d have to play around with it to get the temperature where you want it, but it wouldn’t cost anything but time.

  9. @ #5 Oy vey, you are totally right! I should be trying to raise the temp. For some reason I always think of lowering temp as getting warmer… silly brain.

    Thanks for all the great tips and links, everybody! Mmmmm, cheese.

  10. I can’t tell by the pic, but if that is a frost-free fridge, a timer is probably your best bet. If it isn’t frost-free, the thermostat usually has a pretty good range between the zero setting and the defrost setting. I have done this with several refrigerators for fermenting cheese, salame, proscuitto, olives, beer, etc. Non frost-free models are better for cheese, because they do not dehumidify the air as much. Good luck with your cheesemaking! It is so much fun. Find a good source for fresh raw milk and you will be very happy.

  11. When using an old cube refrigerator, beware of the little freezer they usually have. I used a separately purchased thermostat (I wanted to make sure the cheese came out just right, rather than trusting to luck), but I didn’t think about the freezer. It dripped on my lovingly crafted blue cheese and completely ruined it. I plan to disconnect the freezer section, possibly take it out entirely, since I think it’s just screwed in. If you can’t take out the freezer section and its separate controls, then make sure you cover any cheeses underneath with something waterproof.

  12. I bought a cheapie wine fridge at the mart of walls for $100. Keeps my cheese at a constant 55°F. Holds 16 bottles, or a metric crap ton of fromagey goodness.

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