Cheesemaking is an amazing alchemy that transforms milk into a profusion of different textures and flavors. The entryway for me was ricotta, an easy and forgiving cheese to make with no fancy equipment or supplies needed. Mozzarella came next, also very do-able with supermarket ingredients and kitchen utensils. I was so pleased with the results of these first forays into cheesemaking that I decided to go all in and try making hard (as in consistency) cheeses like cheddar.
There is a certain amount of gear that you need in order to go to the next level. One of the main pieces of equipment necessary for making harder cheeses is a cheese press to squeeze the curds under a specific pressure for a set amount of time. I found cheese presses for sale online but they were expensive ($70-$275). I decided that making my own was the way to go. I wanted something that would be able to handle up to two pounds of curds and generate up to 50 lbs of pressure. I took my inspiration from a couple of similar press designs I found online and added my own ideas. After a little experimentation I ended up with a press that was simple to use and inexpensive to build using basic tools. Expect to spend between $10 to $25 depending on how much stuff you have at home already.
As with any set of instructions this will guide you to replicate what I made. Don't feel constrained by my ideas though, you should modify my design to meet your needs any way you see fit.
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for other stuff I've been making including a cheese cave for ageing all this cheese I'm going to be making with my new press...