Author Topic: Mold Hacks  (Read 1466 times)

Offline Old Goat

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Mold Hacks
« on: December 11, 2016, 01:54:07 AM »
I simply can't afford to buy all the molds I would like to have. I'm looking for suggestions on homemade molds. I know it has to be food grade plastic. I used red Solo cups for my chevre. Worked great. Any other suggestions?
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Offline awakephd

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2016, 10:12:41 AM »
Old Goat, I have been known to use "recycled" items for molds, including the following:
  • Various plastic storage containers, even including Cool Whip containers
  • Cheap 1 gallon plastic pitcher (< $3), with the bottom and top area (where the spout is) cut off
  • A drywall compound bucket, well cleaned and run through the dishwasher repeatedly - hey, it's exactly the right kind of plastic, and it is heavier-walled than many plastic storage containers, and it even has a nice little cross-hatch pattern on it.
For any of these, I have drilled holes as needed for drainage.

All of these have one characteristic in common - they all have just a little bit of "draft," or slope to the sides. In practice, as long as it is just a gentle draft, I have not found this to be a problem, and may even have some advantages. As the cheese is pressed or drained, you typically turn it periodically in the mold; with the slight draft to the molds, it helps to compact the cheese a bit more each time it is turned.

The one thing you have to give some thought to using a mold with a bit of draft is the size of follower that will be needed (if the type of cheese made with the mold will be pressed). You need something that will not wedge itself short of the final height of the of the cheese, but at the same time will not be so small that you get a lot of cheese pressed up in a ridge around a too-small follower. Using cheesecloth that is carefully pulled tight will help reduce this problem ...  and a little bit of a ridge just means you have something to trim it off after removing from the press, to enjoy an early taste of the cheese. :)

I have cut followers out from inexpensive plastic cutting boards - I bought a 1/2" thick plastic cutting board on Amazon and rough-cut it into the sizes of followers needed on my woodworking bandsaw, then sanded it down as needed using a drum sander with a fairly low (rough) grit - don't use a fine grit, or it will just melt rather than grind/sand. You can do final smooth with finer sandpaper by hand.

I know that several folks have used PVC pipe to make molds, and these have the advantage of being (1) very sturdy and (2) straight sided. I have always been a bit hesitant to go this route, since I've read that there can be some issues with chemicals leaching from the PVC. But others seem not to have any issues with off-flavors, and I confess that I have been quite tempted to give it a try ...
-- Andy

Offline Old Goat

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2016, 01:13:41 AM »
I first want to make camembert molds so pvc seems like a no brainer. Nothing says it is safe for food but it is commonly used for drinking water. Still pretty hesitant.
“For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what happens to cheese when you leave it out.”

Offline Danbo

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2016, 05:15:56 AM »
Personally I wouldn't use PVC. It might be used for drinking water - but drinking water does not contain fat. Some phthalates used in PVC is fat soluble. What types of phtalates are used in which PVC pipes - don't know... That's why I always go for food safe...

I found an aticle in The Guardian. Below is a quote from the article:

"In the past few years, researchers have linked phthalates to asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, breast cancer, obesity and type II diabetes, low IQ, neurodevelopmental issues, behavioral issues, autism spectrum disorders, altered reproductive development and male fertility issues."

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/feb/10/phthalates-plastics-chemicals-research-analysis

Why take risk?
« Last Edit: December 12, 2016, 05:22:28 AM by Danbo »

Offline reg

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2016, 09:46:44 AM »
I have been using the PVC since 2008, may be that could be my problem ;)
reg

Offline Danbo

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2016, 09:55:31 AM »
 :o  ;D

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2016, 10:37:43 AM »
Another thing to consider in using PVC is that foreign materials often find their way into the mix.  You could end up making a mold with exposed materials that could be poisonous. Any plastics sold for holding food stuff or any containers sold with food in them would be a safe bet.  I wouldn't risk the health of my family and friends by using an unknown.
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Offline awakephd

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2016, 03:50:48 PM »
I first want to make camembert molds so pvc seems like a no brainer. Nothing says it is safe for food but it is commonly used for drinking water. Still pretty hesitant.

Old Goat, go to the Dollar Store or equivalent discount store and take a look at the plastic pitchers. A half-gallon pitcher might give you just about the right size mold for a camembert, once the ends are cut off.
-- Andy

Offline Gregore

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2016, 11:59:35 PM »
I think the orange buckets at Home Depot are HDPE  you could slice them into strips the width of the desired mold height and make one of these

http://thecheesemouldshop.com/index.php?action=article&aid=71&lang=EN

You could use a  cable tie to tighten it up to size

Offline awakephd

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2016, 11:35:19 AM »
Good idea!
-- Andy

Offline smolt1

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2016, 01:55:46 PM »
Something like this for a clamp
« Last Edit: December 13, 2016, 11:25:37 PM by smolt1 »

Offline smolt1

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2016, 02:28:40 PM »
More questions and info about PVC pipe for molds.

Offline Old Goat

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2016, 10:12:50 PM »
I won't be using PVC.
“For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what happens to cheese when you leave it out.”

Offline Gregore

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2016, 12:10:53 AM »
Smolt1

Good idea , And reusable unlike the cable ties

The only hard part is cutting the bucket into strips 

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Mold Hacks
« Reply #14 on: December 14, 2016, 07:22:02 AM »
If you cut around the bucket you will find that your molds have the draft angle you'll need to get the cheese out of the mold.  They have to put it into injection molded parts, such as buckets, so they can get them out of the mold.  That's why the plastic buckets you see are all angled top to bottom. ;)
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