WI Dairy News: Cave-aged cheese - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

WI Dairy News: Cave-aged cheese

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Affinage is a French term that means the act of maturing and ripening cheese, an art that enhances both the flavor and texture of cheese.

In recent years, some Wisconsin cheesemakers have taken the age-old practice and put a new twist on it; by building temperature and humidity controlled affinage caves to age out their products.

"The reason that I built the cave is that whenever you heat or cool a space the humidity goes all over the place," says Bleu Mont Dairy cheesemaker, Willi Lehner.  "In this space when the temperature is constant so is the humidity and that's crucial for good rind development."

Lehner insists that the mold spores in the cave impart specific flavors that help give his cheese a unique identity. 

But Lehner isn't the only cheesemaker to jump on the cave bandwagon. Chris Roelli, of Roelli Cheese, built a cave into the back of his property last November because the demand for his artisan cheese made it a necessity.

The Roelli's new affinage cave uses modern technology to control the temperature to the half degree, and keeps the humidity at consistent levels to control how the cheese ages.

"All the way around, the affinage process is more controllable, the product is a better quality," says Roelli. "I'm not losing as much product due to dry down and air movement. We've got little to no air movement in these rooms and it really makes all the difference."

 

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