Author Topic: Greetings from snowy Michigan  (Read 2064 times)

Offline JohnnyB

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Greetings from snowy Michigan
« on: December 23, 2008, 04:46:50 PM »
Hello
I am new to this forum and new to cheese making. I made a batch of Mozzarella and been messing around with Kefir.  I hope to get a little advice along the way as I learn to make different cheeses.  I am not sure where to go from here. Maybe a cheddar or swiss.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2008, 04:58:11 PM »
Welcome, the best thing to do is make a couple more batches of soft fresh cheeses, like ricotta as it's not that hard but gives a good idea of what you need to watch out for when making hard cheese. As you do that start gathering your equipment that you'll need for making hard cheeses. Then I would pick something thats fairly common and you like, such as cheddar, colby or gouda. If you want to make a swiss or emental you'll have to have a small refrigerator or something you can control the temperature and humidity. I would save swiss until you have tried other hard cheeses. Parmesan is not too hard.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline JohnnyB

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2008, 05:11:46 PM »
Thanks for the info.  I think I will make a ricotta.  I was also wondering about fromage blanc.  I've been working on getting some equipment.  I want to try to make my own press if I can.   
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2008, 05:22:05 PM »
Well you've come to the right place. I've made a ton of press every kind imaginable. Give me some info what kind of tools you have and what your budget is? It really can be made from just about anything. I might have one for sale, my old one, well not old about 1 week old, I decided to make some design modifications and don't like the fact that you can't see down into the mold as it's being pressed. But it works perfect, the problem is you would need an air compressor or a CO2 tank, paintball tank or something to deliver the required pressure to the pneumatic cylinder. Anyway figure out what you want to build and I can tell you how.

Here's the post on the press I just talked about http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,536.0.html
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline JohnnyB

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 05:58:40 PM »
I looked up your link. Man is that impressive.  I was going to try to make something a little more simpler. Have you ever used a piece of PVC? I was going to try to make it with that. I have weights from a weight set that I was going to use as the weight and maybe a piece of wood as the forward.  Anyway I'm a newbie so don't know what works and what doesn't. 
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Offline John (CH)

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2008, 06:13:36 PM »
Hello jsbyers and welcome to the forum! Lots of friends here in Houston from Michigan.

Frankly I've only tried Mozzarella once and it was a flop, I haven't tried again as I don't like it much, just me. I made a Queso Blanco which is probably similar to Fromage Blanc, my records here, recipe here. Cartiers makes wonderful but very advanced, non-beginner presses. Lots of pictures of other ones in this forum, most in this board.

I'd like to try making Kefir, appreciate, when you get time, if you could post your experiences, tricks and traps in this board.

My vote for starter cheeses are the soft ones like Queso Fresco, Cream Cheese or Neufchatel as they are simple, quick, need minimal ingredients/equipment, no pressing and aging, and can be consumed immediately. Plus like Cartier says, you can learn the ropes in Cheese Making before getting into the tougher Cheese Aging.

Rennet is the 1st "difficult" ingredient you will need, I found some at one of two Whole Food Stores, suggest phoning around rather than driving around. Other sources are mail order webstores where you can of course order tonnes of stuff.

Simpler cheeses while finding/getting some rennet are Lemon Cheese and Mascarpone.

Again welcome and Merry Christmas!

PS: I suspect jsbyers is your Username, if you go to Menu Bar > Profile > Account Settings you can change your Name shown in the forum and that we'll call you by, then again jsbyers also works :).
« Last Edit: December 23, 2008, 06:18:56 PM by Cheese Head »

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2008, 06:22:22 PM »
PVC as the frame or the mold? Yes PVC for the mold will work that's what most of us use and the expensive cheese presses sold on the internet use that as well.

Just go to Orchard Supply Hardware if you have one or any hardware store that sells cut lengths of 4" PVC. You can also try plumbing and irrigation supply, just call on the phone and say you have home project or something and that you were wondering if they had any remenants they would sell or something to that effect. It shouldn't cost more than $5-$8 a foot. You need 4" PVC, the inside is 4", and 8" high. Then get yourself or borough a 4" hold saw and drill press. Then goto Tap Plastics and get a piece of their cutting board material or HDPE (High Density Polyethelene), they might have a scrap piece as well. You need about 5" x 5" piece of HDPE x 1/4" thick. That shoud cost about $2-$3. Then clamp at the edges the piece of HDPE on your drill press and use your hole saw without the center drill bit, you don't want  hole in the center. Then go slow and cut through it, you will want to put a piece of scrap wood underneath so as to not mar the surface of the drill press. If you don't have those tool call around to local city colleges and see if you can use one during class, I'm sure they'd be more than helpful. After you cut the circle use some 100 grit sandpaper on a hard sanding block and sand the edges until it goes into the PVC pipe. Too loose is bad you can make it so it take a little force to push the disc through the pipe, a litte force not tons. Also while you're at Tap Plastic get some more cutting board material 1/2" thick x 6" x 6" about $6-$7. Then draw lines with a square every 1/2" then turn the board 90 degrees and mark every 1/2" on every other line, so the where cross hairs are, are staggard not in a row, although it really doesnt make a difference. Then using a drill press or hand drill use nothing bigger than 1/16" drill bit drill the holes out. Then screw 6 rubber feet onto the bottom. One in each corner and two near the center, so the board doesn't flex in the center when weight is on it. You might want to put some 1/16" holes staggared on the PVC pipe as well, go all the way up so when you flip the cheese you just flip the entire mold. Now you're done. So after sterilizing this whole contraption, you can use the dishwasher without a drying cycle with soap, just for the first time to degrease the unit, then once with no soap and no heat cycle to get everything off it, then you're ready to use it.

With this unit you really don't need to use cheese cloth, I don't. Ladle your curds into the mold put the follower in and then use  a smaller piece of pipe 3" in diamter or so anything wide enough to be steady and then put some weight on it, be creative. Now that's an easy mold, but I gave you dimentions on the parts to be able to modify it at a later date if you want to upgrade. Personally I don't like the cheese presses that use springs, they're not calibrated and don't have enough force to account for all pressure ranges. It's best to stick with the weights.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline JohnnyB

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2008, 06:42:23 PM »
Thanks Cheese Head for the links. I wasn't real impressed with my Mozzarella either. I'm going to try something else. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks Cartierusm for the instructions on that press.  I'm kind of a DIY'r so look forward to this project.
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Offline JohnnyB

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2008, 06:46:32 PM »
P.S.
Do I need to drill holes around the PVC as to allow for drainage?  Or do I just let it drain out the bottom?  Thanks.
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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2008, 07:06:46 PM »
Jeez did I type that whole thing for no reason, as you weren't going to read it....LOL just kidding, I mentioned it toward the end, I think. You can, most molds made out of PVC pipe that are sold on line don't, but I think they help. Just use the same 1/16" bit and drill holes every 2" or so. It doesn't need that many but make sure that you do the entire lenght so when you flip the cheese you just flip the entire mold.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.


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Offline JohnnyB

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2008, 07:15:36 PM »
Sorry about that. Actually I printed out your instructions to make a supply list for later.  I do appreciate all your information.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2008, 07:37:16 PM »
To be honest,  I "garbage" picked my 6" pvc from a construction site.  They had a pile of "cut-offs" they were throwing out.  I asked, and they were more than happy to let me pick through the pile.

I did not tell them what it was for.  I think, given the crew of guys i was asking, I might have gotten some static..
:)





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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2008, 10:40:08 PM »
LOL I would have laughed at you...pansy boy...Just kidding. That's a great idea, just make sure it's white PVC drinking water grade, you don't want DWV white or anything black, that's for Drains (hence: Drain Waste Valve).
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Tea

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2008, 04:39:48 PM »
Good morning JohnnyB and welcome to the forum.  Hope you keep us updated with what you are making, and make yourself at home here.

Offline JohnnyB

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Re: Greetings from snowy Michigan
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2008, 07:33:41 PM »
Thanks Tea
Right now I am busy trying to get equipment and ingredients together. I made mozzarella first and will plan on making a queso blanco this week maybe.  When I get my press together and ingredients I'm going to make a colby or cheddar.  Alot of information hear to sort through.  Love it all. Thanks.
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."