new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Built your own cheese press?  RSS feed

 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6011
Location: Left Coast Canada
747
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anyone out there ever built their own cheese press?

I'm seeking inspiration, ideas and (if possible) photos of your homemade cheese press creations. How about cheese press inpervizations?

I'll be making hard cheese soon, on a small scale (one to three gallon batches), and am looking for ideas to create my own tools.

The art of natural cheese making book has an idea with two nesting buckets. Anyone tried this?
 
Judy Bowman
Posts: 32
Location: South Central Oklahoma
2
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have had good results with bandaging the cheesecloth wrapped curd into a round (wrap a strip of folded cheesecloth or cotton fabric around the outside and secure with a safety pin) then placing it on an overturned plate in the bottom of a 5 gallon bucket. I place a second plate on top to make a nice smooth surface then place a second 5 gallon bucket on top of that. With this set up I can get accurate pressure poundage by adding water to the top bucket- 8 pounds to the gallon. When making hard cheese bringing able to incrementally increase pressure is necessary and with a 5 gallon bucket I can get up to 40 pounds. I've used several makeshift pressing setups and this one seems to work best for me.

Getting ready as we speak to start this years' goat milking and butter and cheese making.
 
Rue Barbie
Posts: 70
Location: Coastal Southern California
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I no longer make cheese - sadly could not get good milk. But I did cobble together my own cheese press. Basically I put the cheese to be pressed into an old, heavy pressure-canner pot and topped it with heavy round weights from weight lifting thingies. (Yard sale finds). Books would do (or water alla Judy), but they were not as heavy and harder to keep level. To keep it level I used pieces of perpendicular wood in the pot. Hard to explain, but making a cheese press is something you can rig up.
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 235
8
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Over 30 years ago, as a starving student I tried taking a #10 can, cutting both ends. Wrapped the curd in cheese cloth and put a piece of plywood cut to fit (not too tight) for both top and bottom. Stood a brick on end and piled weight on top of it. It seemed to work pretty well, but since I was trying to make cheese out of powdered milk, the results were disappointing and I can't recommend powdered milk cheese.

The press though, seemed to work alright.
 
afira ratliff
Posts: 14
Location: north bend, WA
books food preservation hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
make a decent cheese press...different pressures are used to make different cheeses..it makes a difference.....heres a real nice one that is easy to make and and easy to change the amount of force you apply to your cheese...

http://www.thecheesemaker.com/products/Dutch-Style-Cheese-Press.html
 
afira ratliff
Posts: 14
Location: north bend, WA
books food preservation hugelkultur
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i will also add..the reason cheese tastes so much better in europe as opposed to america ( if you havent been trust em here) is because they make cheese in copper pots.....its naturally antibacterial....and is for some odd reason not legal here..so do it.....youll thank me.......copper kettles....wooden spoons......natural woods for presses and things...dont make a great food product taste like bleh because you used plastics and crap.
 
Judy Bowman
Posts: 32
Location: South Central Oklahoma
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can buy a pressure gauge to use with a homemade presses so you know how much pressure you're exerting. That's why the buckets are my favorite low cost alternative.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 772
Location: Longbranch, WA
42
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't have much to suggest. Though I really like the the bucket idea. But I do have some cautionary tales to tell based on our experience in the 1950's when we were milking 20 does. There was 2 days each week when we would get ahead of the sales. We would warm up the evening milk and add the fresh morning milking directly to the separator. We would then make ice cream or butter from the cream and freeze it. We decided to make cheese with the warm skim milk. My carpenter father built a nice cheese closet in the milk house that was separate from the barn and milking parlor. [We were completely set up as the Washington state law now regulates raw milk but that was before the current regulations]
We did not want to use paraffin to seal the cheese so we used some of the butter. That was nice short term but long term the cheese continued to dry It got so hard we could not even grate it for parmizon. What we wound up doing was clean the band saw and cut it in thin slices. Then the crumbled thin slices along with the sawdust made good parmizon.
Later we visited with an elderly european goat dairy in the cascades And I learned to make a cheese that includes everything but the water. It is not sold because as I heard in one podcast the demand would be so great that the one making it would not be able to keep any for themselves. Here is the method if you want to try it. Do not use a cultured curd because ant acid in the whey will get too concentrated.

Make your curd as for cottage cheese. We used glass gallon jars to set the curd in and we had stainless fry pan the would hold a gallon of liquid. We put the whey in the pan on the stove to simmer to evaporate the water. the ball of cheese would hang over the pan to continue to drain. as we would come and go we would remove any cured that reformed in the heated whey. When the level got low in the pan then it required constant attention. Turn the heat as low as possible to prevent scorching and stir constantly with a spatula. At this point it is mostly clarified butter and the remaining salts, sugars and protein. If it is too hot steam bubbles will make it splatter. Now comes the secret; mix the concentrate back into the curd. The sugar will have caramelized slightly so it will make it mottled like colby jack. Because you have preserved the salts it usually dose not need any additional salt.
I found molding it in a cake pan worked best. If you can resist eating it all it is even better when coated with brie rind. I did that by inoculating the top in the cake pan then when the surface was covered I turned it out onto a woven cedar mat made by splitting the kindling at each ring Then I kept it in the refrigerator in a cake cover until it was cured..
 
Henry Jabel
pollinator
Posts: 166
Location: Worcestershire, England
13
bee bike forest garden fungi hugelkultur toxin-ectomy trees urban woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Since they are not too different you could also look at cider presses for inspiration (technically both types press cheeses ones made derived from milk the other apple!). You could even use a car jack like some people do with homemade cider presses
 
Ann Torrence
steward
Posts: 1191
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
111
bee books chicken duck goat trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We built the simplest one imaginable that I found on the internet because I couldn't imagine simple.

We use barbell weights left over from when DH was seriously into working out. You can find them for cheap on Craigslist too. Ours only has 2 posts, not 4, upright parts from the plumbing section of the big box hardware store, 2 boards and an extra big drill bit to make the holes. Drill first, then screw down the posts

 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I also use the bucket inside of bucket system, and maybe someone can help me here... I have trouble with the top bucket leaning one way or another, making an odd shaped cheese. I have tried putting things table knives evenly spaced around the perimeter, down the crack between the upper and lower buckets to try to even it out, but it does not work that well.

I put the cheese in the mold, set it down in the lower bucket on top of a follower from a larger mold, this to hold the cheese being molded up out of the whey that drains out. Then I set another bucket down on top of the cheese in the mold. The upper bucket does not go down far enough into the lower bucket for the sides to line up, leaving the crack mentioned above.

How do all you other bucket press cheesemakers keep the cheese up out of the whey? Or does that not matter because of the amount of pressure being applied.

One thing I like about this method is that I can keep the curd warmer or cooler by the temperature of the water. In the winter, the room temperature might be 45 degrees over night, a warm temperature might be as high as 60 in the day time (gasp). When I put the warm whey in the upper bucket, I can also drape the whole assembly with a clean wool blanket and maintain the suggested room temperature. Summer time, I use cool water in the upper bucket.
 
Mary-Ellen Zands
Posts: 19
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I was looking to make a cheese press, we were checking out construction sites. Especially when they were building a new school and had to put in new water pipes. So I asked the construction crew if they had any left over pieces of pipe. Which was the green one approved for drinking water. They of course wanted to know what for. So I explained I was going to make a cheese press and they of course thought what a hoot ( or maybe it was what a kook!). They gave me a four ft piece of pipe so I could make several presses if I want to. What a gold mine! I'm very happy with my new press. It works great!
image.jpg
[Thumbnail for image.jpg]
My cheese press
image.jpeg
[Thumbnail for image.jpeg]
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 772
Location: Longbranch, WA
42
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla McDaniels wrote:I also use the bucket inside of bucket system, and maybe someone can help me here... I have trouble with the top bucket leaning one way or another, making an odd shaped cheese. Then I set another bucket down on top of the cheese in the mold. The upper bucket does not go down far enough into the lower bucket for the sides to line up, leaving the crack mentioned above.

How do all you other bucket press cheesemakers keep the cheese up out of the whey?

May I suggest a three bucket method. put the cheese in a bucket with drain holes in the bottom with another bucket underneath. Then the weight bucket will set down lower.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hans Quistorff wrote:
May I suggest a three bucket method. put the cheese in a bucket with drain holes in the bottom with another bucket underneath. Then the weight bucket will set down lower.


Oh, Hans, I wonder how long it would have taken me to figure that one out! Thanks for helping me skip over the ongoing frustration to a very elegant solution.
 
Gerbert Thorne
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm gonna go slightly off-topic here now...
Tried the book and it seems great!
I tried to make the simplest cheese from therein and have succeeded to a certain degree. I made the one for which you don't need anything, you just leave the cheese until it coagulates, wrap it, hang it, and wait for the whey to drip out.

Now, everything went well, and I liked the resulting cheese quite a bit, but there was something in there that made other people not appreciate it as much.
There was a slightly 'vinegar-y' taste to it, as if the cheese is still a little sour or something. The book doesn't mention this side-effect so I couldn't tell what went wrong.

Did this happen to anyone else, do you know how to deal with it?
To me this is fine, but others don't like it as much, so if I'd try to sell some of it sometime, it would pose a problem.

Or maybe it's just how this kind of cheese is?
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 772
Location: Longbranch, WA
42
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There was a slightly 'vinegar-y' taste to it, as if the cheese is still a little sour or something.

You did not mention how you got the milk to form a curd. Acid will cause milk to form a curd. If you added acid some will carry over in the cured. If the acid was produced from lactose sugar by bacteria in the milk then it will be lactic acid. To get a curd that is acid free the cured needs to be formed by an enzyme before bacterial action begins..
There was a suggestion for making the enzyme from nettles here or you can order it from cheese making supply online.
 
Gerbert Thorne
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Didn't add anything, just left it a few days, stirred to mix in the skin that forms on the top, left a few days more, wrapped, salted (only the 2nd batch, though they had the same issue), hanged.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6011
Location: Left Coast Canada
747
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Was it with raw milk or pasteurized?
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1823
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
90
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hans, what book was that?
 
Judy Bowman
Posts: 32
Location: South Central Oklahoma
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have the same issue when I use buckets with having to watch closely to keep it level. I just keep an eye on it, propping as I go, eventually the curd firms up enough that it stays level. I've used an old lard press with pretty good success and also a piece of 6 or 8" stainless steel pipe with a big piece of 2" steel plate that fit down onto it.My husband was building oilfield pressure vessels at the time and had access to lots of good scrap. The key to life, in my opinion (at least here on the homestead) is knowing that there's more than one way to skin a cat.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 772
Location: Longbranch, WA
42
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thekla McDaniels wrote:Hans, what book was that?
I only referred to a thread Paul Wheaton started 5 years ago.

The book referred to is at the start of this thread.
R Ranson
Post 3/5/2016 7:40:41 AM Subject: Built your own cheese press?
Anyone out there ever built their own cheese press?

I'm seeking inspiration, ideas and (if possible) photos of your homemade cheese press creations. How about cheese press inpervizations?

I'll be making hard cheese soon, on a small scale (one to three gallon batches), and am looking for ideas to create my own tools.

The art of natural cheese making book has an idea with two nesting buckets. Anyone tried this?
 
Gerbert Thorne
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson wrote:Was it with raw milk or pasteurized?


It was raw, freshly taken from a cow that morning.
 
r ranson
master steward
Posts: 6011
Location: Left Coast Canada
747
books chicken tiny house
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Gerbert Thorne wrote:
R Ranson wrote:Was it with raw milk or pasteurized?


It was raw, freshly taken from a cow that morning.


There goes my theory. If it was pasteurized, then it's easier for unpleasant things to get in. The raw milk has beneficial bacteria that keeps most things out, especially for clabbering like you did. (according to many sources).

It could be something in the animal's diet, or perhaps the temperature the milk was clabbered at encouraged the sour tasting bacteria, or perhaps the milk bucket wasn't sterilized and a sour bacteria was starting to get hold. Sterilization of milk buckets is a new thing and not the historical norm - but it does help to keep the flavour of the milk more consistent. Maybe dish soap residue from your bowl (or whatever your container was for the milk) might have reacted to the bacteria. It could be the breed of cow, or perhaps the mystical milk gods were just looking the wrong way that day. or...


 
Gerbert Thorne
Posts: 10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
R Ranson wrote:
Gerbert Thorne wrote:
R Ranson wrote:Was it with raw milk or pasteurized?


It was raw, freshly taken from a cow that morning.


There goes my theory. If it was pasteurized, then it's easier for unpleasant things to get in. The raw milk has beneficial bacteria that keeps most things out, especially for clabbering like you did. (according to many sources).

It could be something in the animal's diet, or perhaps the temperature the milk was clabbered at encouraged the sour tasting bacteria, or perhaps the milk bucket wasn't sterilized and a sour bacteria was starting to get hold. Sterilization of milk buckets is a new thing and not the historical norm - but it does help to keep the flavour of the milk more consistent. Maybe dish soap residue from your bowl (or whatever your container was for the milk) might have reacted to the bacteria. It could be the breed of cow, or perhaps the mystical milk gods were just looking the wrong way that day. or...


I think it's probably one or both of these things. I did use a regular cooking pot out of the drawer, it seemed clean so I just used it right away since we use it regularly for cooking anyways. Also the temperature was a bit inconsistent since this was during winter time and I kept it near the radiator, which isn't always on.

So yeah, a bit more consistency next time I'd say.

Thanks for the tips ^^
 
Sarah Joubert
Posts: 78
Location: Eastern Cape,South Africa Zone Cfb, Annual rainfall 570mm,
3
forest garden hugelkultur solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hans Quistorff wrote: Make your curd as for cottage cheese. We used glass gallon jars to set the curd in and we had stainless fry pan the would hold a gallon of liquid. We put the whey in the pan on the stove to simmer to evaporate the water. the ball of cheese would hang over the pan to continue to drain. as we would come and go we would remove any cured that reformed in the heated whey. When the level got low in the pan then it required constant attention. Turn the heat as low as possible to prevent scorching and stir constantly with a spatula. At this point it is mostly clarified butter and the remaining salts, sugars and protein. If it is too hot steam bubbles will make it splatter. Now comes the secret; mix the concentrate back into the curd. The sugar will have caramelized slightly so it will make it mottled like colby jack. Because you have preserved the salts it usually dose not need any additional salt.
I found molding it in a cake pan worked best. If you can resist eating it all it is even better when coated with brie rind. I did that by inoculating the top in the cake pan then when the surface was covered I turned it out onto a woven cedar mat made by splitting the kindling at each ring Then I kept it in the refrigerator in a cake cover until it was cured..


Hans, I am interested in your recipe. I gather this is a soft cheese? What natural curd did you use? Do you think it would work with cows milk?
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
Posts: 772
Location: Longbranch, WA
42
chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sarah Joubert wrote:
Hans Quistorff wrote: Make your curd as for cottage cheese. We used glass gallon jars to set the curd in and we had stainless fry pan the would hold a gallon of liquid. We put the whey in the pan on the stove to simmer to evaporate the water. the ball of cheese would hang over the pan to continue to drain. as we would come and go we would remove any cured that reformed in the heated whey. When the level got low in the pan then it required constant attention. Turn the heat as low as possible to prevent scorching and stir constantly with a spatula. At this point it is mostly clarified butter and the remaining salts, sugars and protein. If it is too hot steam bubbles will make it splatter. Now comes the secret; mix the concentrate back into the curd. The sugar will have caramelized slightly so it will make it mottled like colby jack. Because you have preserved the salts it usually dose not need any additional salt.
I found molding it in a cake pan worked best. If you can resist eating it all it is even better when coated with brie rind. I did that by inoculating the top in the cake pan then when the surface was covered I turned it out onto a woven cedar mat made by splitting the kindling at each ring Then I kept it in the refrigerator in a cake cover until it was cured..


Hans, I am interested in your recipe. I gather this is a soft cheese? What natural curd did you use? Do you think it would work with cows milk?

It works much the same with cows milk. Firmness varies some with how will drained and how firm the curd is before the evaporated whey is mixed back in. It tends to soften to the consistency of brie as it ages a few days and makes a brie with very rich flavor if there is no acid in the whey. Batches I have made with acid whey were very sharp and tended toward spreadable. The best curd for this is made from very fresh milk using vegetable rennet.
This thread being about pressing the cheese to make it harder using matching cake pans that will stack partly inside each other the cheese can be made drier by inverting the molding pan over the bottom of the empty pan and putting a weight on the bottom of the molding pan.
 
Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind - Seuss. Tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!