Cheese making is an involved but highly rewarding process. Presses are essential to making cheese because they separate the whey from the curd, and create the consistent form and shape of the cheese wheel. If you are interested in making your own cheeses, but don't want to invest in a costly cheese press, one can be affordably made on your own.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- 1-inch-thick untreated plywood
- 3/4-inch wooden dowels or threaded metal rods
- 4 1 1/4-inch wood screws with washers or locknuts
- PVC pipe
- PVC pipe cutter
- Router or jig
- Mineral oil
- Large baking tray
- 22.7 Kilogram of 10-pound barbell weights
Create a bottom and top for the press. Cut two 12-by-12-inch sections of untreated 1-inch-thick plywood.
Drill 3/4-inch holes in each corner of one piece of wood. Drill the holes 2 inches from the edges. Use this as a template to trace and drill holes at the corners of the other piece of wood.
Attach leg posts to what will be the bottom piece of wood. Insert 16-inch-long, 3/4-inch-thick wooden or threaded metal rods into the corner holes. Attach wooden dowels by sticking the dowels in the hole and screwing a screw with a flat washer topped with a finish washer into the bottom of the dowel. Attach metal rods with locknuts.
Make a cheese mould. A cheese mould can be purchased or one can be made with a large PVC pipe. The cheese mould should be at least 4 inches wide and 4 inches high, but it can be larger, depending on the size of cheese wheels you want to make. The cheese mould is interchangeable, so you can also have more than one size for your press.
Build a cheese pressing plane. Cut a round piece of wood to fit perfectly into the cheese mould.
Construct a cheese pressing pipe. A cheese pressing pipe can be purchased, or one can be made using a PVC pipe that is one size smaller than the cheese mould. The pipe needs to fit into the cheese mould. Cut the pipe so that it is double the height of the cheese mould.
Seal the wood by rubbing it with mineral oil. Assemble your cheese press by setting the cheese mould at the centre of the bottom board (with your cheese inside), between the legs.
Place your pressing plane inside of the mould. Place the pressing pipe in the mould, on top of the pressing plane. Thread the tops of the four leg posts through the holes of the top board, and let the top board rest atop the pressing pipe. Place barbell weights on the top board to press the cheese. Set the whole press in a large baking tray to catch the liquid runoff while the cheese is being pressed.
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