Most cheese products require some aging to achieve the flavor you expect. Depending on the recipe you follow, this time could range from a few days to a few years.
Fresh cheese, such as a 30-minute Mozzarella, doesn’t require a ripening box to achieve results. Some home cheesemakers get stuck in the world of new recipes because a ripening box seems too expensive or challenging to create.
If you have a wine fridge at home, you have a natural ripening box that can help you to create the best aged cheese. Old refrigerators and coolers are also an option, especially if you have a cold basement or cellar for storage.
Here’s the best way to create a safe (and affordable!) was to start aging your cheese at home.
Steps to Follow When Creating a Ripening Box
1. Secure a reasonably air-tight container. You want something that can let air move around your cheese without altering the temperature of the environment. An old refrigerator is often the best choice.
2. Instead of plugging in the refrigerated unit (or a wine fridge), leave it disconnected in a somewhat cool environment. A garage isn’t the best choice unless it has a finished area for you to use. A cellar is the best option, followed by a basement or a quiet location on the ground floor of your property.
3. Place frozen water bottles in the refrigerated appliance. This step creates two benefits: it provides humidity for the ripening cheese, and the moisture creates condensation within the unit.
4. Turn the cheese daily during the ripening process. You’ll also need to replace the frozen water bottles to ensure humidity levels remain consistent.
5. Store different cheese recipes in separate containers. This step reduces cross-contamination issues while ensuring the humidity levels for each product reach the required standards. A lid may be optional, based on the recipe you follow.