Author Topic: Pressing Weight  (Read 1636 times)

Offline dbudge55

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Pressing Weight
« on: May 17, 2012, 12:08:11 AM »
This is really making me nuts. I know there's a lot of discussion about psi but it seems there really is a pretty wide range of what various pressing recommendations are. For example, In The Joy of Cheesemaking the Gouda recipe calls for pressing at 2.84 psi but in 200 Easy Debra calls for "medium" weight which she defines as 10 - 20 psi. DeeJay's table from another thread  recommends 5 - 10 psi.

I built a dutch press out of oak and eucalyptus and I'm pretty confident that I can get about 250 lbs at the press arm - maybe a bit more. But as I'm looking up press weights for a Caerphilly that I plan to make Friday even if I assume a rather low 7 psi I start to worry that in the middle of the press something will break and end up impaling someone of something that I love.  DeeJay's table tells me I need 15 - 20 psi for Caerphilly and Debra says "medium". For my 7 1/4" mould that means 619 lbs at the press arm at 15 psi.

I can understand getting this weight using pneumatics or a structural steel lever press but I just don't see it with the typical wooden Dutch press set-up.

Short of building a new press (which maybe I'll do in the future but not before Friday) can I get away with, say, 7 psi for my Caerphilly? And if I do how will it effect the texture of the cheese?

Any guidance from you "old cheeses" would be greatly appreciated.
Laissez le rouleau grand fromage - Dave Budge


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2012, 12:30:53 AM »
Hey Dave, have you searched the section on presses?

I did my Double Gloucester recently with the pressure pictured here. Hardly strained the press at all.

The big secret is in using pulleys to multiply your force applied.

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Offline dbudge55

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2012, 12:56:51 AM »
Yeah, Boofer, I have. I understand the physics well enough. In order for me to get my press to accommodate the stress from a pulley system I would have to upgrade/reinforce my hinge pin and lever arm. I'm up for it if I need it.

But that doesn't answer my questions about what weight is really necessary and the fact that weight recommendations are all over the map. And I really want to make the Caerphilly. I have made two others using much less weight - like 2 psi - that turned out pretty well. But I would like a tighter texture. Just wondering what the marginal difference in texture is between, say 7 psi and 15 psi..

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Offline dbudge55

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2012, 01:00:07 AM »
Oh, and BTW, I'm gunna steal your press design when I get to building a larger press. Looks great. Might add some tweeks.
Laissez le rouleau grand fromage - Dave Budge

Online smolt1

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2012, 01:56:48 AM »
To get more pressing weight, try this:

        Instead of adding length to the front of the lever arm, subtract from back of the lever arm.

                Mechanical advantage = (front +back)/back

                 Ma=(25+5)/5 = 6  Now add 2  to front.   Ma=(27 +5)/5 = 6.4 Now subtract 2 from the back  Ma= (25+3)/3 =9.33

                 Ma of 9.3 is a lot more than Ma of 6.4

If you go to far with this you won't have much vertical movement, but up to a point it is a good way to get larger Ma and more pressing weight.


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Offline dbudge55

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2012, 07:29:46 AM »
That's a good idea. Actually, it was your press that was my original inspiration but, at that time I was even more clueless than I am today. That might be an easier mod for me to accomplish with my current set-up.

Thanks!
Laissez le rouleau grand fromage - Dave Budge

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2012, 07:51:18 AM »
The recipe I use for Caerphilly is from 200 Easy, and doesn't do a cheddaring process, and I press that under 4 psi. I press my cheddars under 8 psi and have had no problems. Keep your curds warm, I think that is as important as your psi. I built my press after seeing Boofer's, too. The first time I pressed a cheddar I broke the wood at the anchor point of the lever. I rebuilt the press with a doubled lever arm, which works great!
Dave in CT

Offline dbudge55

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2012, 08:13:10 AM »
Thanks, Dave. I use the same recipe but past attempts used way to low pressure. It tasted great but the texture was lacking - crumbly and much more open that I hoped for. I can get 4 psi easily. I'll give it a go unless I hear a compelling argument otherwise.

I read Sailor's posts on curd temp and it made a lot of sense to me. The 200 Easy recipe makes that easy without the cheddaring step. Still, I'd like to try the cheddaring with this cheese. Maybe on my next make after I upgrade my press.
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Offline Boofer

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2012, 09:22:16 AM »
FWIW, one more datapoint:

When making my Maasdam, the recipe called for 4.3-8.7 psi.

Keeping the curds warm while pressing is very important. Just make sure you're using muslin or Plyban or the curd will escape through the mould holes.  :(

I've attached the Danisco recipe and my modified version for reference.

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Offline dbudge55

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2012, 10:08:48 AM »
Hey, thanks, Boofer. Printed em and put them in my notebook. Alas, so many cheeses to make and so little time.
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Offline Caseus

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 11:11:13 AM »
Boofer, when recipes call for keeping the curds warm, what is the target temperature?  Does it depend on the culture used?  Wouldn't warm temps have an undesirable effect for certain cheeses of increasing activity of the culture resulting in too much acidity?

Offline Boofer

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012, 01:03:01 AM »
The cheese is just coming from being scalded, milled, formed, etc., and the curds are still warm. You'd like to keep them at that same warm temperature while they bond/knit in the press. We're not talking about excessive heating. The idea is to not let them get chilled to the point that they are resistant to getting neighborly. I try to move quickly when transferring the curds from draining, to milling, to forming, to pressing. Even Cheddar cheese varieties stay warm while cheddaring and milling.

I've kept mine warm while pressing lightly under whey. I have also pressed from light to heavy pressure in the pot (whey removed) and that pot sits in a double-boiler with warm water surrounding the pot with the cheese. It doesn't overheat. I monitor the temp with a wireless humidistat so I don't overshoot and I monitor pH level during the press so I don't undershoot. A clean towel over the pot helps to hold in the heat.

As for what cheese styles benefit from keeping the curds warm while pressing? Seems like all pressed cheeses would be in that category because they all want to have nicely knit curds.

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Offline Caseus

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Re: Pressing Weight
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2012, 07:23:44 AM »
ok, that makes sense.  I suppose if you are struggling with too rapid pH drop (as I have on a couple of my cheeses), then it might be better to keep the warm pressing time to a minimum needed to achieve an acceptable level of knit.