Author Topic: Puny press: starting small  (Read 1777 times)

Offline pam

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Puny press: starting small
« on: June 07, 2009, 10:58:08 PM »
Posted this in the wrong place this morning, sorry. Here is what I have come up with for a cheese press. It seems pretty puny in the light of the others I have seen here...

The weights are movable to ensure a level press. The plate steel is in the shape of an iron pan and it doubles as my heat spreader for cooking the curds. The mold is a small bamboo steamer with stainless steel screen (cut from a fry pan splatter shield) in the bottom. The follower is the lid of an old wide mouth peanut butter jar.

Maybe I should get another goat and make a bigger press?!
Be content with what you have - Rejoice in the way things are - When you realize there is nothing lacking - The whole world belongs to you
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Offline Old Man Cheese

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2009, 09:25:56 PM »
Hi,  The number one criterion is does it work?  If it works then it's fulfilling the function to the same degree as one would expect from something costing thousands.  OMC

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2009, 07:58:52 AM »
Exactly - if it works, why not?  I started out using a basket from a deep fryer as my mold (the sides were slanted, so it was a pain), several layers of cut-outs from ice cream pail lids as followers, and my weights were a variety of coffee cans, etc. full of sand and water.  Not very stable and the cheese wasn't very pretty, but it was cheese.  I always start out as inexpensively as I can, to make sure that the hobby is something I really want to do, rather than spending all kinds of money to find that I hate it.

The biggest issue with small cheeses is that they can dry out awfully quickly, leaving you with a lot of rind and not much edible cheese.  I vote for another goat!

(Please remember that I have a cow who is currently giving me three plus gallons of milk a day.  I want everyone in the same boat I am!)

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2009, 12:31:34 AM »
I like it I think it has character!

Offline pam

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2009, 12:11:11 PM »
Thank you very much for the words of encouragement! Grandma is probably glad I am using her old irons for some purpose other than a door stop. We eat it pretty fast but the small cheese does dry out quickly. Do you think it would be better if I encased it in wax? By the way, my cheese it consistently uniformly full of microscopic bubbles all the same size, lots of them. In fact there are as many bubbles as cheese (think sponge). It is tasty cheese and melts somewhat. Does this mean that I have a co-2 producing bacterial contaminate in my starter?

I think I am gonna get another goat.

Pam

PS: anyone know where the expression 'too many irons in the fire' comes from......
« Last Edit: June 17, 2009, 12:16:24 PM by pam »
Be content with what you have - Rejoice in the way things are - When you realize there is nothing lacking - The whole world belongs to you
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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2009, 04:30:22 PM »
I think that using your Grandmother's irons as cheese-press weights is an excellent way of honoring her memory.

I've never had much luck with wax and get disgusted with having to cut away so much cheese to get rid of the wax taste.  I prefer to coat my cheeses with lard.  I wipe it off, then cut off a small amount of rind.  They tend to have a really nice, creamy texture to them.

I can't comment on why your cheese is so holey, but if you like it, go with the flow.  And yeah, get another goat!  But then you are going to have to come up with a bigger cheese press...

Offline pam

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2009, 08:46:08 PM »
Ahhh, lard. I never thought of that! I have tons of lard in the fridge since we butchered a hog in the spring. What a great idea.

I don't really like my cheese; it's dry. I am after a creamy texture. Maybe I cook it too long? Could I be having altitude issues? (5000ft here)

I found some 9 inch pvc pipe to use for a mold. I may have to get two more goats!  But I have more irons! (It seems grandma had too many irons in the fire occasionally causing those unsightly burn marks.)
Be content with what you have - Rejoice in the way things are - When you realize there is nothing lacking - The whole world belongs to you
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Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2009, 08:58:46 PM »
Pam it could be your temperatures as well. I live at sea level but I do know that water boils at a lower temperate at higher altitudes.  I'm not sure how that will affect making cheese.

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2009, 09:15:13 AM »
I opened a waxed cheese and didn't care for it much.  I then larded it to age it a bit longer, not wanting to waste it and I liked it better after it had a bit more age to it.

I don't remember if it changed the texture, though.

Offline Cyn

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2009, 01:58:27 PM »
Hi pam - if you're using raw goat milk, definitely drop the temp a bit from most recipes. I keep it at 85F for mesophilic cheese (haven't really done any thermophilics).

And I find my curds "cook" faster and dry out much quicker at altitude (6000ft - 10-20% RH), so you might cook less and leave more whey before pressing. I'm still trying to get it right, myself.

And for the ricotta -good luck getting the whey to 200F! HA! I'm at 6000ft and it boils at 190 - so that's what I use for ricotta.

I love your cheese press - I am trying all sorts of weights and pvc pipe and such. And so far mine have been leaning towers of cheesas...but they'll be edible!

You can try olive oiling the rind, as well. But if you already have lard, that sounds like a great idea. I live in a very dry area, so I fight to keep them from becoming granite blocks...

Offline pam

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Re: Puny press: starting small
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2009, 06:19:05 PM »
Good Ideas. I forgot about the humidity issue. Its ave 9% here. Room Temp is 86 in the summer so maybe I won't heat it at all after the curd forms. I am in the same boat as you with the Ricotta. But its been good in lasagna and canoli's so far.

Look at some of the posts of the people who have been here longest titled anything regarding cheese press. They have some pretty good ideas -with pictures, about level pressing.  When I am a big cheese maker I'll make a "real" cheese press too!

I might use less weight in my current press too so as not to press out too  much liquid. It only weighs 9 lbs, though.
Be content with what you have - Rejoice in the way things are - When you realize there is nothing lacking - The whole world belongs to you
- Lao Tse