1. Why do we use cheesecloth when we are pressing the cheese?
Cheesecloth is essential in molding. Its purpose is to wick the moisture from
the surface of the cheese to the drainage holes during pressing.
2. Why am I supposed to start with less weight and then add as I
The low press weight to start with begins to consolidate the curd and will
not block the whey release. By the time you add the highest weight, most of the
whey has been pressed out.
3. If I cut the recipe in half, should I use the same pressing
We discourage folks making cheese for aging from using less than two gallons
of milk. The reason for this is that the smaller the cheese the higher the ratio
of rind to body. This, among other things, tends to allow the cheese to lose
moisture too readily.
The simple solution to this is to make a larger cheese and when it approaches
its targeted age of ripening, cut it into smaller sections and re-wax the
sections you are not using.
If you do plan to go ahead and use the curds from a
smaller batch and use the same mold as our recipes call for, you can use the
same amount of weight because pressing is more a matter of surface area and that
4. How do I press my cheese when I have increased the recipe
If you are making a larger cheese and keeping the height to width ratio the
same (as you should) simply increasing weight proportionately should work.
However, many people decide to use a differently shaped mold where the height to
width ratio is not kept the same. In this case, the important factor is surface
area. Keep the press weight proportionate to the change in surface area. Our
recipes are designed for our small mold (2 lb.) with a surface
diameter of 4.5.”
5. How do I keep the temperature and humidity up while pressing?
One method is to place the cheese and forms with weights back into the curd
pot that has been emptied and cleaned and immerse that in a large pan or sink of
water. Then hold it at 95F until pressing is finished.
Or, some of our customers make insulated hot boxes that have a heater and can
be kept warm. This requires creativity! No air vents are needed but it will be
very humid in there, especially if you are using pans of hot water to keep the
temperatures up. Your insulation should be something that will not absorb this
moisture. We find that the foil faced rigid insulation is best.
6. When I pressed my curds, they remained separate. (They didn't meld
The curds you made turned out too dry for some reason. This could be due to
using milk that isn't fresh, using too much culture, cutting the curds too
small, ripening too long, cooking at too high a temperature, or stirring the
curds too long.
The focus of your next attempt should be to watch the moisture of the curds,
keeping in mind the above points and trying for more moisture in the curds when
7. My cheese had cracks in it after it had been pressed.
It was too moist going into the press. Stir it longer before molding and
8. My cheese is dry and I think I might be over-pressing.
Dry cheese is rarely due to over-pressing. You might look at your final curd
moisture here. Too much stirring or too high a temperature will produce a very
dry curd. Also, low humidity during aging will cause dry cheese problems.