I did a ton of research when I decided to upgrade from my wine cooler. I thought I would share with what is working very well for me. This is by no means the only way to come up with a functioning cheese cave… it is just how I did it, and I hope it might give you some ideas that might work for you.
I tried the small wine cooler, but I could not hold the temp, and I either had not nearly enough humidity, or so much humidity that water was dripping out from the bottom.
Step 1: Need a Small Upright Freezer or Refrigerator
So….. I bought a small upright freezer. I like this One as I lose no room from racks or shelves built into the door like you would normally have with a refrigerator as well as some small freezers.
Step 2: Need a Controller
Now, I needed to control the temperature and the humidity. So I bought this. With this controller I can plug the freezer into it and set it for 54 degrees. It has a sensor wire I ran through the door and it turns the freezer on and off to keep the temperature fairly constant.
Step 3: Add and Control the Humdity
Next I bought a pond fogger to create humidity. I plug the fogger into the controller and set the controller for 88% humidity. For the fogger, I bought this. Do not get a pond fogger that has lights as I have read it can cause algae issues.
Step 4: Water Basin to Create the Humdity
I then bought this to hold the water. This is a 4" 2/3 size steam table pan like they use at buffets. The controller turns on and off the fogger as needed to keep the humidity where I want it. The water vapor (fog) rises to the top of the freezer and condenses into water droplets. These droplets then fall back down into the water container. My one issue is the pan is not as wide as the freezer shelf it is sitting on and does not catch all the droplets falling back down. I had an expandable office drawer pencil holder that I set to the length I needed and then caulked the joint so it also collects the water droplets. It is the long white thing in the picture above. With it, I now have the whole shelf covered with a way to catch the condensing water. My only limitation is at 4 weeks the white pencil holder is full of water and has to be emptied. Otherwise it just recycles the water.
Step 5: Maximize Shelving
Next is maximizing shelving. I bought these, then cut the legs off to the heights I needed to get more shelves. At least for the freezer I bought, they are the perfect size. The larger freezer shelves have two of them side by side.
Step 6: Monitor the Cave
Step 7: Finished
And here is 2 final pictures of my cave: We just ate 3 cheeses last week, so I am down…… got to make cheese…. Got to make cheese…..