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I enjoy home cheesemaking, and often make fresh cheeses at home, including ricotta, paneer, queso fresco, and microwave mozzarella. I've stayed away from hard, aged cheeses to date because they appear to all require aging in a special cheese fridge. That is, every hard cheese recipe I've seen requires at least some aging at 55F / 13C. A regular fridge is too cold, and room temperature in our apartment ( 65F / 17C ) is too warm. But I live in a San Francisco apartment, so building a cheese-aging fridge is out of the question. There's no room.

Does anyone know of cheese types or techniques for making semi-soft or hard cheeses which can be aged either at regular fridge temperature, or at 17C room temperature?

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There's enough makers in S.F. that you might be able to commission someone to hack a small fridge so it keeps a warmer temperature. I'd think that one of the car travel fridges that use a Peltier rather than a compressor would be easy to modify. –  Joe Sep 12 '11 at 14:02
    
@joe- fridge control is very easy and home brewing shops will carry plug in controllers for less than $50. The problem, as Fuzzy posted above is the space required for a minifridge just for cheese aging. –  Sobachatina Sep 13 '11 at 22:24
    
@Sobachatina : the fridges I'm thinking of are maybe 1 cubic foot (outer, not storage) ... if you don't have room for it stashed on a shelf or under a table, it might be time to consider putting up a shelf at plate rail height (a foot or two below the ceiling) and moving your less frequently used cookbooks up there. –  Joe Sep 13 '11 at 23:04
    
@Joe- that's awesome. I've not seen them that small. –  Sobachatina Sep 13 '11 at 23:28
    
@Joe: I have a 700sqft apartment with only one 20amp electric circuit for general use. Adding a cheese fridge is really out of the question. No space, no power. –  FuzzyChef Sep 20 '11 at 2:16
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The cheeses that just plain won't work in the fridge are those that make use of bacteria or mold with "special needs". Swiss, camembert, and any blue cheese come to mind. The bacteria that produce the holes in Swiss need specific, relatively warm, temps for specific times. Likewise the molds on the rinds or through blue cheeses need warmer but still cooler than room temperature.

Most semi-firm to firm cheeses can be aged just fine in a fridge. Many generic cheese recipes such as:
http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese98.htm
or
http://www.cheesemakingrecipe.com/Dutch.html
either say to age in the fridge or don't give a temperature at all and just say "age in a cool place".

In particular cheddar or gouda like cheeses age just fine in the fridge. Parmesan should also work but I personally haven't had the patience to wait the year necessary to try it.

Of course if generic-cheddar-like cheese isn't good enough and you want to recreate some particular cheddar that will be harder. Those recipes usually call for something like "Age for 6 months in this particular cave in France".

As for room temperature. I don't know. Room temperature at my house is 80F and no cheese will work with that.

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It's a new suburban hobby, buying non aged cheese, and ageing it in the fridge. Works fine for the plain (Colby, cheddar etc.) varieties –  TFD Sep 14 '11 at 3:22
    
Thanks, Gouda or cheddar-like cheeses would be fine for my experimentation. I'll give it a try. FWIW, room temperature here is usually 60F to 65F. –  FuzzyChef Sep 20 '11 at 2:18
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