1. Yes, the first picture is my finger pulling out of the curd for a clean break. I have had better success the past couple of times by allowing the starter to ripen a while longer than the recipe specifies and adding a little extra rennet.
2. Since reg's recipe calls for a higher temperature as scalding point, the curd was quite dry. By the time I got to pressing at 100 lbs, there was not a lot of whey left and is was essentially clear water.
3. I have been pressing my cheese the last several times in standard cheese cloth. Also I put a thin plastic disc on the top before I fold the cloth over top of the disc and carefully pull up the edges. I then put my press follower on top of that. I get no fold lines on my cheese. Particularly for a dry, high-temp curd as this calls for, almost no white whey comes out. For lower temperature cheeses, I start with lighter weight and add more gradually. From everything I had read regular cheese cloth was worthless, but I like it for pressing. When I am done with pressing, I just throw it away since it is inexpensive and not worth washing.
I did the heavy pressing because I wanted to get a dry, condensed wheel. I think I may have succeeded, but we'll see how the final product turns out.
Not sure if you can see it, but this is the initial pressing, Not a lot of whey extracted and it is very clear.