When I started making the cheese yesterday, I didn't really realize that I was going to have to press it in a cheese press (something I don't have). Yes, I read the instructions all the way through, but I was reading LOTS of instructions for various cheeses, looking for something I could make with what I have. I forgot the part about putting the cheese in a form and pressing it until I got there, and then.... made something up.
I used David Fankhauser's recipe for basic cheese from here. His recipes use easily obtainable ingredients, instead of special cheese ingredients. For example, instead of special cheesemaking salt, he uses normal salt. He uses buttermilk as mesophilic starter and yogurt as thermophilic starter. If I had used the other lady's recipe, I would have had to order more things from her (something I will do soon enough anyway).
I warmed the milk (this is raw milk that I got on Tuesday), put some buttermilk in it and let it sit overnight (they wanted a 68 degree room overnight to acidify the milk, so I left the oil heater on all night). In the morning I brought the milk up to 30 degrees C, put in the rennet and let it sit for an hour. This time the curd was much more solid than the times I made mozzarella. I cut the curd, stirred and heated to 39 degrees C (I got a better thermometer at the grocery store the other day), and then was ready for the next step. OOOPS - I wasn't prepared with a mold ready for the cheese.
I thought about emptying one of my cottage cheese containers and cutting out the bottom. I thought about emptying one of my cans and cutting off both ends. Eventually I realized that the beginner's goat cheese kit I have comes with some molds. A Ha! Unfortunately the molds are not straight up and down (the bottom is smaller than the top), so that posed a bit of a problem, and the molds are small, so I had to use two of them.
Without further ado, here's what I came up with:
I've seen cheese press instructions that use two sizes of PVC pipe, and I think that's what I'm going to use for mold and follower. Other than changing the actual mold and follower, I think I can leave everything else the same in the future (except I'll use one cheese mold instead of two). The window molding/broom handle/weight worked great for pressing (and it's conveniently over the sink, so the whey has somewhere to go). That's a keeper. Geeky enough? Think they'll let me keep my engineering degrees?
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