I've had it with this meter; I'm calling Extech tomorrow.I feel your pain.
I've gradually moved in the direction iratherfly suggested...get in touch with the milk-curds-cheese and develop a feel for what it's doing and what you're doing. I know you're doing that. I'm trying my best to do that and, in limited fashion, am having some success, I feel. It's tough, this learning thing.
the whey is at a magical 3.92 pH. Wow, that beats my lowest! I guess you're the winner.
Lol - well, if the magically aggressive whey drop was all, I'd be....more rested today. This was a learning curve beaufort, to be sure. Beside the pH issues, woke up at 1:30 a.m. (8 hours of pressing ended 1:40 a.m.) to remove from the press - and discovered that my assembly of 3 weights - a 5, 2 1/2 and 1 1/2 - had decided to get cozy with the pulley rope, and held it tightly between them.
Being with me through the construction, and knowing my level of carpentry skills, I believe the weights were afraid they'd die an ignoble death, all alone, in the middle of the night. So they clung tightly to the rope.
When I went to release the hoop, I noticed...unhinged the weight stack and felt the sinking feeling of creaking, indicating the wheel could have been pressed at its proper psi. At 8 hours, disgusted as I was with the pH meter,*** I felt obliged to simply go by time on the press, and hope for the best. The wheel is sitting clothbound in the hoop at room temp, until tonight. (Sailor, when you indicate to leave in hoop, I hope that meant just remove it from the press, leave it intact cheesecloth and all, and allow to rest and cool as is).
By the way, I've seen some variations on this - apparently, among the alpines, beaufort is usually brined, but it's not unheard of for the wheel to get a salt rub, over a brine; and though many just use saturated brine for wash, some do use a high-salt b. linens wash (6-10% salt; one I know of, uses a standard 3% b. linens wash daily for about a month).
So, toying with foregoing altogether a brine for this one, as an experiment, and then doing the b. linens wash. Any thoughts, anyone?
Live and learn. 4th wheel down. Tommes are progressing, though slowly. Some helpful suggestions by Pav, and I am seeing the first signs of b. linens and other growth on all 3 tommes, so I've my hopes up. I say that gingerly.
***I really don't even know whether to trust the brine I made up - I adjusted with baking soda, to 5.2, but I'm almost certain that's now too high, as I'm almost certain the "3.92" was way off; bad feeling I'm going to have to toss this beautiful whey-brine, and just make up a water one with standard additions, without measurement.