Ok lots of questions. I will do my best.
In regards to measuring ph, I have to confess that I don't test for that yet. When initially setting up, I couldn't afford the only ph monitor that I could find, so I wing it. I do have ph papers for my soaps, but I have never used them on my cheese. Didn't think that they would be accurate enough to bother with. A ph tester in still on my "wish list".
The cheese baskets are commercial, and can be seen here, www.cheeselinks.com.au
I have a number of different baskets that I use for the different cheeses.
I use freeze dried or Direct Vat Set (DVS) cultures. There are different cultures for the different cheese, which are prepared the night before.
For the moment all my supplies have been purchased through this web site, while I decided how serious I am going to get before expending larger amounts of more exquipement.
The only difference, apart from the quality, taste and creamy-ness of real fresh milk verses store bought is that you need to pasteurise fresh milk first before making cheese. UHT can be substituted for recipes that don't require a high cream level in the milk, such as cheddars and cottage cheese.
For this feta recipe I have used both fresh and store bought milk, and I always prefer using fresh, but that could be just me. I have also used fresh goats, which set up beautifully, just as well as the fresh cows milks. I am in the process of stocking up on UHT goats milk, (it's expensive here also), and making some feta to see what the difference is, (taste and curd) to the fresh goats milk.
Hope that makes sense.