Well,this is a tale of both tradgedy and slight triumph.I screwed up,but it seems to have worked in the end.
I got a little excited and forgot to take a pic of my clean break,but here's the curds after I cut them.I didn't have any actual 'cheese coloring' so I used regular 'ol food coloring.I also added some liquid smoke too,to get a nice hickory smoked flavor.Looks kinda canary yellow in the pot,but after I pressed it,it was orange.
Here,I'm warming the curds back up,stirring gently as per the instructions.As you can see on the thermometer,the temp has not quite reached 102 F.
Of course,shortly thereafter,things went awry.It took a while for it to reach the right temp,but almost as soon as it did,it shot up to 125 F which is too hot and,even though I turned the heat down,it refused to budge from 125.I'm not sure what 'matted curds' look like,but I'm almost positive that this is a fine example!>
Temp is still holding steady at 125 F,and hardly any curds floating at this point.Still stirring them,though,just to try to keep the matted mess in the smallest chunks possible.Ever hopeful,I soldiered on!
Here's the messy,matted curds draining in the sink.
And here,I've put them in a very sloppy rendition of a cheese press.My carpentry skills obviously leave much to be desired!But at least it works for now,till I can afford a decent store bought press.
After my first pressing,I took the cheese out of the mold to flip it,I was very pleased to see that it actually looked like a small wheel of cheddar cheese in spite of the mess I'd made of the curds!I also got excited again and forgot to take a picture of it before I stuffed it back into the make-shift mold and started the second pressing.This morning when I woke up,I was half asleep when I took the cheese out to flip it again and also forgot to take a pic before putting it back in the press!
Oh well,it looked and smelled right in spite of my determination to screw it up!I started it off in the press with cheese cloth,when I took it out to flip it the second time,I took the cheese cloth off so,hopefully,it will flatten out the top of the cheese.I'll make sure and take a pic of it when I take it out of the press tomorrow!Now I've gotta order some wax so I can wax it after it dries!