Built a Cheese Press Today - Pics

Cheese, Kim Chee, and other fermented or pickled foods.

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Built a Cheese Press Today - Pics

Postby aschylus » Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:52 pm

Hurrah! I can finally graduate from Mozzerella and Paneer to some hard cheeses.

Used some scrap plywood and 2x4's to build a cheese press. The press dowel is oak. Other than the shoe molding I used to trim out the base I used no nails or screws. Everything is glued doweled and clamped. This baby is very sturdy. It's not that pretty because I wouldn't spring for hardwood, and I am not that good of a wood worker. I used 1/2" id tension pins to make a bushing so the all-thread could travel up and down without the threads binding on the wood. I am going to replace the wing nuts with some sort of crank. Any ideas?

Works great. I'll post updated pics when I get it stained and polyurethaned.

Total investment...$12.00

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Postby Triple Freak » Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:26 pm

I would suggest using a new plastic cutting board, cutting it in a circle, and using that for the plate on the bottom of the dowel. that way, you can sanitize it in the dishwasher.
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Postby aschylus » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:18 pm

Yeah, I thought about sanitation after the fact. I intend to use a modified pie tin type whey catch/drain. I don't have a dishwasher

I am anal about sanitation in my homebrewing, so I'll be OK in that respect.
My next question is this:

I see cheese recipes that refer to press times by weight (i.e., press for 1 hour at 1 pound, press for 12 hours at 4 pounds, etc.) Does anyone know how to translate pressure to a screw type press?
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Postby Triple Freak » Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:30 pm

You'd have to rig up a pressure gauge to find that out.
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Postby Hokey Alias » Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:13 pm

You need this stuff to finish it:
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Postby Triple Freak » Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:31 pm

That's just about what i was talking about. You can make those disks out of new food grade cutting boards.
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Postby aschylus » Sat Jan 07, 2006 8:42 pm

Oh, TF. Your reference is to a home made follower. Wait while I get another homebrew...

I'm with you now bro. Good idea. I didn't plan to use the bottom of the dowel on the curds. I understand the use of a follower. I even plan to have a 3" diameter buffer peice secured under the press dowel, as a buffer between the dowel and follower.

You know I've not pressed any whey from that book yet.

Hokey Alias, how come you don't have any holes in your mold? Are they in the bottom? I've seen that different molds for different cheeses have holes in different places. Please lend me you knowledge.
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Postby Hokey Alias » Sat Jan 07, 2006 9:04 pm

I have an ancient fruit press that I rigged up to use with the cylinder and plates in the above picture. A couple of springs are involved, and it actually worked quite well.

Those plates each have holes in them. One for the bottom and one for the top. I can take the cylinder, flip it over, and slide the cheese and plates to the other side for further pressing.

Sad story though. My one and only attempt at cheese-making was a year and a half ago. I know a local farmer who sold me milk fresh out of his cows. I pasteurized it and made a blue and a cheddar cheese. I think I put too much rennet in the cheddar (it was bitter) and the blue turned mushy like Brie. I wound up tossing them both. One bummer about aged cheese is that it takes so long to find out if you did any good. I threw in the towel and never gave it another try. :cry:
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