A cheese press is an essential piece of equipment when you’re ready to progress from fresh, soft varieties.
If you follow a soft cheese recipe, you don’t usually need to place the product into a press. Most varieties use the natural weight of the ingredients to create the intended result. When some extra effort is required, you can finish the job by hand.
Hard cheese varieties follow a different approach. Most of them must get pressed after it goes through each step of the creation process. Enough pressure must get applied to the item so that the curds get knit, extra whey is expelled, and you achieve a desirable shape.
Each cheese variety requires a different weight and pressure for a positive outcome. Some recipes may ask for multiple weights during the processing work.
What Is Needed to Press Cheese?
A cheese press is necessary to create the hard varieties that you make at home. You can purchase this equipment as part of a starter kit or as an independent product.
Try to avoid plastic cheese presses whenever possible. Although they are cheaper and easy to manage, it can be challenging to remove leftover residues with the porous nature of the material.
This cheesemaking kit uses metal guides and wood to work with plastic formation bowls to create the pressure needed for hard cheeses.
You can also make one yourself if you have the DIY skills. Several different styles are available, including a Dutch, Wall, and a Cylinder press. If you plan to make cheese commercially, a pneumatic press might be a reasonable investment to consider.
How to Use Your New Cheese Press
The pressing process begins with lighter weights getting applied to the cheese at first. Most recipes call for you to increase toward a more substantial weight as you get further along, applying the pressure for an extended time with each cycle.
Some hard cheeses require 12 hours of pressing in the final stage to create a desirable result.
When you start the pressing process with a lighter weight, the action prevents curds from getting pushed out of any gaps. You’ll also retain more of the butterfat, ensuring that the outer surface develops within the expected timeframe.
If you get a hard surface too soon, the whey doesn’t drain properly.
It is not unusual for you to redress and turn your cheese during the pressing process. If you don’t follow this step, the cheese cloth gets pulled into the product and almost impossible to fix. You’ll need a lot of patience during this time to create a high-quality product!
When you start pressing, keep the equipment in a tray to prevent the whey from splashing everywhere. No matter how much you expect the mess to happen, first-time cheesemakers are always surprised by how much fluid gets expelled from those first presses.
Continue the pressing progression based on the recipe’s instructions. It helps to focus on the size and shape of what you create so that the cheese can ripen correctly.
For a more in-depth look at How to make a cheap, effective cheese press watch this video
Video Credit to Corina Sahlin