I'm just curious, there seem to be a lot of different opinions about pressing cheddary types of cheese. From what I read so far:
*Some people find pressing ~2 psi to be sufficient if curds are good and warm (i.e. "pressing in the pot")
*Others press as high as they can, 6 psi or higher
*Some traditional hard-cheese makes use fairly low pressures (eg. stacked molds only, or simple weights like stones), whereas their modern counterparts use much higher mechanical pressures.
So I guess my question is: what are the consequences/results of underpressing your cheese? Assume that the curds are well-formed, correct pH, kept at ~30'C for a nice knit, etc - what happens? Is it just a matter of ending up with a few mechanical holes in the cheese? What problems does that cause? I don't really care about aesthetics - it doesn't need to look pretty as long as it tastes good. I can see that underpressing a large natural-rind wheel might be a problem, as it could crumble during handling, but what about a small (1-2 pound) waxed wheel? Surely the wax would help to prevent crumbling? Perhaps after dipping the cheese in hot water to help seal any surface openings which might harbour unwanted mould? Can you just press it for longer? I'd probably be trying a Caerphilly or Lancashire type, so it's going to be sour anyway, right?
I am just trying to figure out whether I should bother attempting cheddared cheeses without a press. It sounds like there are a few techniques that I can use to compensate though, so I'd like to give it a try. Are there specific cheese types which would be better suited to lower pressures? Any other tricks I could use? Have I misunderstood any of those I mentioned? (this is the problem with the recipes: they all say "what", but not "why")
Just for reference, I'm talking about making a short-aged cheddar type, probably in 4-inch molds (I do have a 7-inch mold, but no kind of follower for it), and using a "piling-up-weights" pressing method. I figure 2 psi is do-able, but would not like to attempt anything heavier with balanced weights.
Any help would be appreciated. I've run out of room in my tiny fridge for any more ripening containers, but I figure I can cram a few small waxed wheels in there