Pressing your cheese is not only a very important step when it comes to shaping your cheese, but also has a major role in determining the texture of the cheese as well.
What Kind of Cheese Requires Pressing?
Soft cheeses either require little to no pressing. If they are pressed, they’re normally pressed with their own weight or have little weight used to press and form the cheese.
Hard cheese is typically the type of cheese that requires pressing. After you have completed all the steps of adding the Rennet, cutting the curd, and cooking the curd, the next step is to press and shape the cheese. To correctly shape and form the cheese, weight is needed to knit and mend the curds, expel any additional whey left inside the cheese and overall create the overall shape of the cheese.
How to Press Cheese
Every cheese requires different amounts of weight and time applied so it’s important to read and follow the directions for each individual recipe.
Typically, when it comes to pressing, you will start out with a lighter weight for shorter periods of time and work your way up to higher weight for longer periods of time. Sometimes cheese can be pressed at one weight for over 12 hours at a time.
Starting out with lighter weights helps prevent the soft curds from being pushed out of any gaps in the mold or press. Also starting to press your cheese with lighter weights first prevents too much butterfat from being pressed out which can lead to a hard-outer surface to form to quickly and therefore stop the cheese from draining properly.
When there is a excess of whey left inside of cheese it can cause the cheese to spoil over a short period of time along with a variety of other issues as well.
During the pressing stages, you need to make sure you unwrap, turn, and rewrap your cheese after each pressing period. This helps ensure that your cheese is evenly getting pressed. If you don’t do this, you will find that the curds will typically end up sticking to the cheesecloth which is a nightmare to deal with and a lot of times means you have to simply throw out your cheese and all your hard work was for nothing.
Not turning your cheese will also leave to uneven texture, shapes, and overall formation. Needless to say, not turning your cheese can cause various issues for your cheese.
Turning your cheese regularly during the pressing process helps to distribute the remaining whey in the cheese after cooking it throughout the entire cheese. This helps to make sure that there’s no dry spots throughout the cheese.
Most people like to have a drip tray of some sort under their cheese when pressing to collect any of the whey that comes out during the pressing process. You’d be surprised on how much whey will seep from the cheese when it’s pressed.
If you want your cheese to not only taste amazing, but look just as amazing, you need to follow the directions and take your time when it comes to the pressing process.
As you’ve discovered in this post, pressing your cheese is not only to visually make your cheese in a smooth, firm shape, but also affects the internal texture and overall flavor as well. How important pressing is, it needs to be done correctly. This means also taking into account the size of your cheese in comparison to the recipe and adjust the pressing time accordingly.
You can use various kitchen products like pots and pans filled with water, bricks and food tins to press your cheese. However, we prefer just using a cheese press that provides a more even pressing result.