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Old 06-09-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
BrooklynTrout
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Default First Attempt: Idea for a Make-shift Press

I just finished making the Farmhouse Cheddar recipe from the Hard Cheese Kit from Ricki at New England Cheesemaking Supply. It seems like many people here started with that one, including the sticky post at the top.

I have just two thoughts to add that may help other newbies who try that recipe:

1.) I used store bought skim milk mixed with heavy cream. I had to add the other half of the Rennet tablet to get the curd firm enough. If I used that milk again I would start with 3/4 of a tablet from the get go.

2.) It's really tricky to get the weights to balance on your make shift press. The cheese starts out every so slightly out of kilter and then gets worse as the weight then presses more on that side. Soon the weights fall off. My solution was to use round exercise weights in a sanitized plastic planter. A bucket would also work. Putting the round weights in a cylinder forces them to "self correct" as they get out of level. There's a picture of my press here: The Final Press Solution on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

You can see all the photos from my first attempt here: Making Cheese | Brooklyntrout.com

The curd was a little less than firm and it produced a ton more whey when I broke it up, but so far it seems like I achieved some sort of cheese-like object.

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Old 06-10-2009, 08:05 PM   #2
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I really like that idea. In fact I like it so much, I'm likely to steal it and use it for myself.

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Old 06-10-2009, 08:09 PM   #3
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Setting up an infrastructure first is the key to any hobby venture.

Making a simple drilled follower board keyed to a doweled stationary board is the minimum.

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Old 06-11-2009, 07:49 PM   #4
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I plan on eventually building a more complicated press, but for a first time, the $.99 planter and some free weights were an ideal solution. The finished block looks pretty good:
Drying the Cheese on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Let's hope it tastes good!

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