SETTING UP A HOME MADE CHEESE PRESS
copyright 2000 by
David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology and Chemistry
U.C. Clermont College
Batavia OH 45103
 
Line the pressing cylinder
with a clean dish towel
22 Feb 1982
This page has been accessed Counter times since since 26 July 2000. 
The assembled press

Pressing the fresh curds to remove excess whey is important since spoilage of the cheese is hastened by retention of too much water in the finished cheese.  This cheese press can be fashioned from items you may already have in your kitchen, or which should not be difficult to obtain.  The pictures show the use of the press to press curds from the recipe to turn five gallons of milk into cheese .  Click the last two images ( 13 & 14 ) to see full sized pictures for what the assembled press looks like.  Note that some cheese recipes are very specific about the pressure applied to a given cheese.  I have not calibrated this press, but it works perfectly with the cheese recipes I have posted .  The pressure can be adjusted either by adjusting the width of the rubber band, or by adjusting the height jar used in the press.

CHEESE PRESS MATERIALS

5 gallon canner
large white dinner plate with smooth bottom
white dish cloth (non-terry), very clean (boiled and hung in the sun for an hour or two to sterilize)
pressing frame: 6" x 9" cylinder made from PVC pipe (or large can without ribs on the sides, ends removed)
the "follower:" a circular block of wood cut to fit inside pressing frame (5.6 inches diameter)
5/8 inch wide rubber band cut from an automotive inner tube (cut it wider for greater pressure).
two chop sticks
quart mason jar (use a half gallon jar for greater pressure)
PROCEDURE
 

1.  Place a large, smooth bottomed dinner plate inverted in the bottom of a canner (to keep assembly up out of the expressed whey).   8.  Place wooden block follower on top of cheese.  I am using a follower I cut from cypress. 

2.  Place pressing frame can on top of plate.  Here I am using a 9 inch length of 6 inch PVC pipe cut from a discard from a construction site.  In the past I have used large a tin can with both ends cut out.  I FAR prefer the PVC pipe because it does not corrode, and the cheese is removed much more easily in the last step.   9.  Press wooden block ("follower") down on top of curds.  Pull up evenly on the cloth all around the circumference to remove wrinkles.
3.  Lie a very clean dish cloth over the can.   10.  Attach inner tube rubber band through canner handles with chopsticks

4.  Push cloth down into the can to form a "bag." 

A rubberband stretched around the top is helpful to hold the cloth in place for the next step.

  11.  Pull up on attached rubber band, insert a Mason jar underneath so that the band will press the jar onto the wooden block. 

A  half gallon jar exerts more force than a one quart jar.



 
 
 
 
5.  Add salted curd into the cloth "bag."  Note that the curds should still be warm to allow molding and cohesion into a wheel.  The final wheel may crumble if the curds are too cool.   12.  Press down on the jar to exert added initial pressure on curd.  Align the tension of the rubber band so that the jar is vertical (and the follower board is horizontal).
6.  "Sweep" all of the curd into the press.   13.  Assembled press from above.  (Click image to enlarge)

7.  Pull up on the corners of the cloth to remove wrinkles between curds and can. 
 

Shake to settle the curds and reduce folds in the cloth.

  14.  Assembled press from side.  Allow cheese to remain in press until no additional whey is pressed out (about 12 hours). 

Here are two pictures taken about 12 hours apart.  Note the compression after 12 hours (the second picture).

REMOVING THE CHEESE WHEEL FROM THE PRESS:



Cheese pressed after 12 hours Pressing frame removed from canner. The cloth is peeled down from the cheese The follower is removed.  The edge will be cut smooth, the cheese rubbed with salt, wrapped in a handkerchief, and cured in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

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