Yes, good to be back, thanks Boofer! Ice-cream making, jerky and other distractions kept me away for a bit but I am have really wanted to get back into cheese-making.
I must say, we had quite an adventure with the make yesterday. Being used to hard(er) cheeses, I really did not process that the yield would be so big from this 5 gallon batch. Ended up with 8 cheeses of varying sizes and proportions in total, so it will be quite a mixed bag. In addition to my 2 no-bottom 'hard' cheese molds (probably the most appropriate), I used 2 shorter molds with bottoms, and even 2 'cheese baskets' my gf had retained from some commerical product. As you can imagine, I was concerned about sufficient whey drainage from these.
But these were not enough! Into service to preserve all of the curd I drafted two unsuspecting household objects. One was a metal utensil holder from IKEA with a bottom and big holes, which I lined with coarse cheesecloth. The other was a hastily-converted well-cleaned coffee can with top and bottom fully removed and whey drainage holes added to the sides. Wild, wacky stuff.
All of these were flipped 5-6 times about hourly last night after the make (culture added 4 PM), but then I let them sit overnight and salted and put into my mini-fridge 'cave' this AM at 7. So also I think they spent a little longer than optimal in the molds (15 hours total). The cave is at about 56 and I have filled every available space with vessels full of water to try to max. the humidity, although I have no functioning RH sensor.
I put a tray below the upper shelf of cheeses to catch whey, and on the bottom of the fridge too. However, I am concerned that, although pretty well-formed and with distinct rinds, the cheeses still seemed super-wet to me this AM. Here's a pic for reference:
P.S.: Also, MJ - love the ocelot pic, but that might just be because I upgraded my linux OS recently, lol.