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Old 11-29-2012, 02:38 AM   #1
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Hi all,

My wife has been making very tasty soft cheeses for the last couple years, and we're thinking that it might be time for Santa to deliver a press to make hard cheese (I loves me some aged Cheddar).

Unfortunately I'd rather not have Santa's bill go on a second mortgage, and I was wondering what sort of presses people are using.

One experienced cheese maker I know was suggesting that the Dutch Press is the way to go. All I know about it is that it uses a lever mechanism rather than springs to apply the pressure.

In general most of these presses (Dutch or not) seem to run >$100, and can easily get to $200. Does anyone out there have a line on a quality press that is at least to the lower end of that range?

Recommendations appreciated!
Thanks


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Old 11-29-2012, 03:56 AM   #2
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It needs some work and I haven't used it yet. Made it for maybe $25 in materials, and that's with buying more than I used. Took lees than 2 hours. It sure looks like a cheese press.

I've bought cheese molds and still need to make a pusher, a follower and will cut an old food grade plastic cutting board to go over the wooden bottom.

It's not weight rated. Need to read up on how to do that or press by sight. We'll be using it by Christmas.


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Old 11-29-2012, 01:23 PM   #3
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I made one with a bottom plate, and a top plate. The bottom plates have 4 threaded rods screwed into them to hold the rods upright. The top plate has holes cut where the threaded rods can slide through them. The objective is to place weights on the top plate and have it push down on a press plate, which fits into the mold. (You can buy molds and press plates as a kit online for not a lot of money).

There are many different designs and they all work. I chose this one because I found some scrap plastic at work and I liked not having to figure out how much pressure I was applying. I just load the correct amount of weight.

I cut a depression where the mold sits to help hold it in position and to allow the whey to drain to one edge.

I have not tried it yet, but it looks like it would work fine. A short piece of 3" PVC transfers the force from the top plate to the press plate. The piece can be exchanged with longer or shorter pieces depending on the amount of cheese being pressed.

 
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for the pointers, though I don't think I'm going to want to try the homebrew route at this point. I want to give her something that works

Hoping that someone's bought one of these contraptions in the last couple years and has some do's and don'ts

Thanks all and keep it cheesy
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:09 PM   #5
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Well, I cracked the base by nailing in some furniture feet. Cut a new base and drilled the holes first, then shoved in the 'nails' of the furniture feet. Looks good.

Right now I have the press tightened down on a PVC pipe cut to be a pusher. Not sure how much weight I'm pressing, but I bet it's more than enough. I wing nutted down on it til it hurt to tighten any more.

I may cut a coffee can lid to fit between the pusher and middle board. I've got a follower from a mould to go on the cheese end.

I'll let the press sit like this a while and then see if I can crush a beer can. Bet I can.
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Old 12-05-2012, 01:18 AM   #6
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It'll crush a can. Once it crushed this far, I just quit cranking.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:02 AM   #7
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Seen a few home made presses with PVC, wood and a couple of all thread rods and 2 springs. You can build a pretty snazzy looking press at home for about15-20 bucks and have nice woods and varnish and everything. I have been looking at plans for a couple of days and it looks simple enough to duplicate and make a very nice, workable and easilly cleaned press. Google DIY Cheese Press Plans and see what you get for free or pay a couple bucks and build a storebought looking press too. Just make sure you seal the wood well to avoid cross innoculation of your cheeses...
Bob
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #8
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Lots of home improvement places would have scrap countertop laminate or other waterproof coverings that could be glued on top of some plywood. A cheese mold and follower set are not very expensive, but you could also make your own with the right PVC pipe or tupperware container and a drill.



 
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