Author Topic: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press  (Read 14885 times)

Offline DaggerDoggie

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DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« on: June 07, 2008, 05:05:20 PM »
I wish creating cheese was as easy as making these.

My 2 to 3 pound press is made a 12" section of 4" PVC pipe that I had leftover.  I added some extra holes to a PVC floor drain that I never used and bought some stainless steel 3/8" threaded rod, 2 stainless acorn nuts, standard nuts and washers.  I cut the rod in half, put the acorn nuts with washers on one end and threaded that through the floor drain and then put the other nuts on the other side and tightened them down.



The threaded rod helps guide/hold the ten-pound weights I use to press.

The follower is a piece of wood I cut using a hole saw and I also used a 3" PVC coupling that I sanded down to fit inside the pipe.  I then added a second piece of wood to sit on that.  This allows me to use the press for different size cheeses.  The press just happened to fit in an 8" cake pan and raised off the bottom without resting on the acorn nuts.  I cut a hole in the bottom edge for the whey to drain.





The larger press I made from birch boards and 1 1/4" hardwood dowels.  I cut two boards the same size 18" long and 12" wide.  The dowels come in 36" lengths so I cut 2 of them in half giving me four 18" followers.  Using a forsner bit (flat bottom drill bit,) I drilled a 1 1/4" hole in the bottom board and glued and screwed the dowels in place (I used Gorilla Glue)  On the top board I drilled 1 1/2 inch holes all the way through to fit over the dowels.



The cheese goes in an 6" PVC coupling that I cut out the center lip.  This fits in the same cake pan as the other press.



Using that plastic cutting board material, I cut a plastic bottom to go in the cake tin.  Out of the same material, I also made a piece to go on top of the cheese for both presses.  I put this on top of the cheese before I fold over the cloth so I can get a smooth surface on both sides.



I invert the other cake tin, putting them bottom to bottom, and use a ceramic cookie sheet for the whey to drain into.  I would have made a wooden follower, but our cookie jar fit just perfectly in the PVC.  If the recipe calls for keeping the curd warm while pressing, I fill that with warm water as well.



« Last Edit: June 08, 2008, 06:11:15 AM by DaggerDoggie »


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Offline John (CH)

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2008, 10:52:11 PM »
DD, great snaps and details, thanks!

YOUR FIRST SMALLER PRESS
Looks like worked well as you hard some of the parts and weights that fit over the threaded rods. I like the nested, next smaller size PVC pipe as follower spacers, could have two three different heights for pressing different amount/height of curds in same size mold. The PVC floor drain with holes and "lip" as centalizer for the pipe is a good trick, I haven't seen that item before in Home Depot or Lowes. Do you know of a parts place on www that I could from? Also, I don't understand why it doesn't stand up on two acorn nuts and thus wobbly?

YOUR SECOND LARGER PRESS
This looks very similar to reg's posted here, popular design :). I've seen those 6" and other size couplings in store, how did you manage to cut out the middle lip so smooth ID? I've ordered from Amazon.com USA three polyethylene 1/2 in/1 cm thick cutting boards to also cut up as bases and followers, I also place my top follower directly on curds and then fold cheesecloth over to get a smooth top pressed cheese. I cut a small wooden plaque to fit as my follower but I think it's not great hygenically against curds so I'm going to replace with the polyethylene cutting board, how did you cut 6" round disks, with jigsaw and then sand to fit? Had to read twice and look closely at pictures but understand that you used two cake tins here, one below mold with notch to drain whey away from cheese and second upside down beneath it to raise the first one because now the whey is being caught in bigger tray rather than your first smaller press which you could put up against edge of sink to drain there. If it wasn't for this second "spacer" cake pan, the first pan and cheese would be almost (except for bottom follower) sitting in it's own whey and thus bottom of cheese stays wet. Ingenious! Last question, your cheesecloth is very thin, presumably to get away from fold lines in side of cheese. Don't the curds extrude through it where your holes in the bottom piece with holes are? Lastly, I drilled small holes 1/2 way up the side of my 4" PVC tubing mold like reg did to better enable the whey to drain.

Great stuff and thanks for ideas!
« Last Edit: June 09, 2008, 11:01:49 PM by Cheese Head »

Offline DaggerDoggie

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 03:57:06 PM »
The smaller cheese press just happened to wedge itself, just the right size, into the cake tin so the nuts are above the bottom so they don't touch.  I would assume that you could get the PVC floor drain from Lowe's or Home Depot.  It's a fairly standard item.  If not, a plumbing supply company would have them.

My plastic followers are that really thin, cutting board material, which I was able to cut with a pair of scissors.  I was going to cut a follower out of wood, but the cookie jar has a flat bottom and fits perfectly, so that is my follower.  I do think that the thicker polyethylene cutting board material would make the perfect follower and easy to clean.  I am a little concern with getting the wooden ones clean.

I know everything I had read advised against using the standard cheese cloth, but I didn't like all the lines in the cheese.  I do drain if well first in heavier muslin and, other than my loose curd problems, it seems to work fairly well.  I am careful to add weight slowly and it seems to work.  I am looking to try something better.  I've tried pillow case material and old T-shirts so far, I like this the best.  Plus, it is so inexpensive, I throw it away when I am done.  It also seems to make a very nice bandage for cheeses.

I saw the holes in other presses.  I may add them as it would be easy to do.  Sometimes some of the whey floats to the top as well as out the bottom in my presses, but it doesn't seem to be a problem.  I just drain it off when I flip it.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2008, 06:52:11 PM »
Thanks DD for details. I like your very thin cloth for press liners so that minimal fold lines on side and starting with light weights so that you don't extrude curds through that thin material. With mine and holes I don't get any whey on top as it's able to escape out side rather than only all the way through the cheese and out the bottom.

Again both look great, thanks for the ideas, I think this system is way better than store bought cheese presses, not because way cheaper but because way more flexible on molds, curd amounts, and weights.

Offline brent

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2008, 06:20:36 PM »
good design i was racking my brain over what to buld one from never thought of pvc drain !!!! perfect off to plumbing world i go  ;D ;D ;D
wellington
new zealand


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 02:23:04 AM »
Good job, just make sure you read posts by me and Wayne if you decide to go bigger. The bigger the molds the higher the pressure. We've actually determined what pounds per square in are required for bigger molds.
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Offline chuckobrien

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 03:46:41 PM »
Question regarding the PVC--is it all food grade, and does the acidity of the curds affect it adversely?

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2008, 07:33:37 PM »
PVC can be used for drinking water, so for the home cheese maker yes it's fine. All the online shops use the 4" PVC pipe, what you don't want is DWV, drain waste pipe, which can be white or black, but I've rarely seen white, almost all white is regular PVC, it will say on it if it's DWV. USDA won't allow pvc molds in commercial production but say it's alright for home use.
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Offline Erin

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2009, 03:28:32 PM »
Thank you all for this discussion about PVC.  I was hoping to find the parts for my first cheese press today. I want to make it out of as much recycled parts as I can find.

I went to the Habitat Restore today and found this foot long piece of white PVC pipe, 4 inch diameter, so I bought it for 50 cents. But when cleaning it up at home I saw that it had "NSF dwv" stamped on it. I googled that and you are correct, the "dwv" stands for "drain, waste, and vent applications". Apparently it needs to be stamped with "NSF-pw" for "potable water applications" or possibly "NSF-wc" for "well casing" to be safe for food or drinking water.

I worry a little bit about even that stamped with "NSF-pw" as that may be for running water use. My cheese will just be sitting in this PVC, maybe for hours. I'm now thinking of buying a short section of stainless steel instead. Anyone know of a source for this?

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2009, 04:36:53 PM »
Where are you located? Orchard Supply Hardware sells 4" PVC by the inch, and it's pretty cheap. You want the white PVC. As for Stainless same question where are  you located?
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Offline John (CH)

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2009, 04:51:25 PM »
Silly idea, but what about using the 100 blank CD / DVD cake packaging for molds/hoops, looks like food grade polyethylene, just drill a bunch of holes . . .

Offline Erin

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2009, 06:45:53 PM »
Cartierusm, I'm in New Orleans.  I googled "Orchard Supply Hardware" and see they are in San Jose, CA so that won't work so well. Home Depot and Lowes only sell PVC by fixed lengths. But maybe my local True Value hardware is a good place to check.

Cheese Head, I like how you are thinking with recycling the CD/DVD packaging. But is that strong enough? It's not nearly as thick as PVC pipe.

I'll call some welding supply businesses on Monday and ask if they sell stainless steel by the foot as well.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2009, 07:22:44 PM »
Erin, good question on burst strength.

I've no idea of the tensile stregth of that stuff or the hoop loads that would be imposed. But normally during pressing stage of cheeses, you start with a light load and turn the cheese and repeat before building up to higher weights. During that time the curds are being de-wheyed, resulting in higher strength. So I think that by the time you build to heavier loads, most of the vertical weight results in vertical pressure and low hoop stresses.

In summary I don't think it's a problem. I look at my 1st homemade PVC hoop from early in 2008, way way overkill. Good luck.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2009, 07:39:36 PM »
Erin, most welding supply stores don't carry metal. You need to find a metal surplus store or metal supplier, try Yahoo Yellow Pages for Metal Suppliers. SS tube is what you want and it might be expensive. Do you have tools to do metal working with? A metal supplier is just going to cut you off a hunk, it doesn't mean that the cut will be square to the sides. Then you'll need to drill holes in it for drainage and SS is not easy to drill into. It's best to just call around to different hardware stores, irrigation supply, plumbing supply and plumbers (actual plumbers who may have cut offs just lying around they would probably give you for free) to see if they sall 4" PVC in cut lengths.
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Offline John (CH)

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Re: DaggerDoggie's Homemade Cheese Press
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2009, 08:22:48 PM »
Erin, if you want to go PVC route, I bought pre-cut 2 ft lengths of 4" & 6" at Lowes Hardware store chain here in West Houston, I then cut in 1/2 with a skill saw and drilled holes. I also bought the next size down as follower - pushers, and made followers out of kitchen cutting boards. See the notes and last picture in this thread to get the idea ;).