Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cheese Press—Ugly, but it works

Here's what my cheese press looks like. Ugly, yes. Not a charming, handcrafted piece of art, just  pieces and parts found here and there, then jumbled together to press cheese.

All set up and pressing some Farmhouse Cheddar. The only 'real' piece of cheesemaking equipment is the cheese mold that my friend gave me. She found it in her mother's stash before she moved. She knew her mom would never use it, but that I would! Thanks, Friend!

From top to bottom in the photo above:
hand weights, game board with holes drilled in the corners for dowels to go through, old jam jar, follower (you can't see the follower, it's under the jam jar), a real cheese mold, upside down plate to keep the cheese out of the draining whey, cake pan, another game board with matching holes.

Here you can see the two game boards 
and my messy kitchen in the background.

The follower is an old candle lid. I took the cheese mold to the thrift store and tried everything round I could find to see what would fit inside and make a good follower. I'm not sure if glass is a great choice because it might break eventually.
I've been using it for about a year so far with no mishaps, I'll keep crossing my fingers!
 
Here is a better photo of the follower. It leaves cute little round circles on the top of the cheese. When I used a jar without a follower I had a ridge of cheese around the edge of the cheese as it came out of the mold. Not so appealing at all! The follower makes the cheese come out of the mold even to the edge, no trimming!


Hopefully you can see the circular ridges on the top of the cheese. They haven't caused any problems so at this point I don't worry about them. In fact, I pretend I've put them there on purpose.


The jam jar, which has a lid on it, fits just inside the large ridge (which would have been the outside of the candle lid) so it makes the top of the press more stable. That's the big drawback to this press--everything on the top board has to be balanced just right or I end up with lopsided cheese because one side was under more weight than the other.

Maybe one day I will have a great looking cheese press! And maybe one day Hubby or Son1 will cut out a wooden follower and I will have a flat surface to my cheese, but for now the circles are my 'signature', and so is the ugly cheese press!

3 comments:

~Tonia said...

Hey if it works!!! Very interesting! I need to get a press or build one!

Linda said...

I don't think it is ugly at all! I think it's great!!!

TJ said...

Thanks Tonia and LInda! I appreciate your comments!

My friend's retired dad is building two dutch style lever presses for us (one for her, one for me). It should be ready in about a month.

This one cost about $4. Each of the game boards cost $1, then the cost of the dowel and the lid cost another $2 or so. As far as cheap, quick and easy to build, this one wins!