Finally, after years of prep, I've begun my first pressed cheese -- Wensleydale, from 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes. I chose this one because of its short aging time and waxing (too avoid worrying about humidity).
And I say "begun", because I have had quite a few...learnings?
- My press broke, so I did what I could -- pressed the cheese under my new pot. It's only 44 lbs, so at best I had very light pressure (about 1 psi!). Instead of 2 30-minutes under medium, and overnight at high, I've pressed it for 16 hours and counting. It has actually formed well, but I'm sure this will affect the final product
- The recipe calls for the final curd to be cut in 2 in x 1/2 in curds...um, what's the third dimension? Perhaps whatever fits in the mold?
- The night before, I realized that the 5 gallon pot that I was going to make had to be aluminum. I was able to find a 22 qt stock pot at Wal-Mart for $22. Great deal, and nice and wide (as opposed to tall).
4 gallons from Whole Foods (freshest I can find, and I know it is local):
The graniteware pot, with thermometer rigged to hang directly into the middle:
Happy with the curd size and whey release, almost through 35 minutes of stirring:
Fun with physics:
Curd mass re-cut into four pieces:
Cheese in press before adding weight and breaking (the white piece on the right snapped in the middle)
Yield: 3 lb 14 oz, surprisingly below the 4 lb average -- surprised because of the lack of pressing, but I suppose that the lower yield is from the milk quality.