Friday, March 12, 2010

Homemade Cheese Press

When I started making cheese several years ago .... I wanted to try my hand at pressed cheeses.  But, the cost of the cheese presses were out of my reach.  So, I came up with this design that I used for several years.

This press will make a one pound cheese.  The press is not pretty and new any more, but still works great.  I ended up making several of these as I started milking several goats and had more milk to make cheese with.

I have to admit that I don't use this press any more though since I make cheese in bigger batches now.  But, this design served me well for several years.

I don't remember exactly how much it cost for the parts to put it together ... but it was only a fraction of the cost of pre-made cheese presses.  I bought most of the parts at my local hardware store.

One thing to be careful with when making a cheese press is to be sure the plastic tube used for putting the cheese curds into must be a food grade plastic.   If the material isn't food grade, it could be made of recycled material from unknown sources and possibly contaminate your food items.

Here are the parts I used to make the cheese press:

  • 2 Springs that are about 2 and 3/4 inches long.  They should be pretty firm because they'll be doing the pressing of the cheese.
  • 2 wing nuts that fit 1/4 inch threaded rods
  • 3 metal bars that are 8 inches long and have holes that a 1/4 threaded rod will go through (you want the holes to line up with holes on the peg board)
  • 4 washers
  • 4 nuts that are 1/4 inch
  • 2 threaded 12 inch lengths of 1/4 inch steel rod
  • PVC or plastic peg board
  • 4 inch diameter plastic tube that is cut to 6 inches tall
  • 1 follower cut to fit snugly inside the 4 inch tube
  • Plastic brackets that are used to hang shelving (for holding the tube in place and for feet on the base)

Springs, Wing Nuts, and Metal Bars

  • Cut the peg board about 9 or 10 inches square
  • Align one of the metal bars with holes in the bottom of the peg board
  • Insert a threaded rod into each of the end holes in the bar
  • Place a washer and nut on the bottom of the threaded rods

Bottom of the base for the cheese press
  • Place a washer and a nut on the top of each threaded rod
  • Secure them tightly against the peg board
  • Push the plastic shelving brackets into holes on the peg board (1 in each corner to hold the press up to allow whey to drain and 4 around the center to hold the plastic tube into position)
Top of the base for the cheese press
  • Set the plastic tube onto the center of the base
Plastic Tube in position
  • Line the tube with cheese cloth
  • Pack the warm cheese curds into the tube
Cheese cloth lining the tube
  • Place the Follower on top of the curds
  • Pull the sides of the cheese cloth to remove any bunching of the cloth
Curds in the tube and Follower in place

  • Place a sturdy item on the follower that will fit inside the tube (I've used a jar here, but a 4" length of 3" tube would be better. It needs to be able to fit inside the 4" tube and tall enough to push the curds down)
  • Place one of the metal bars over the threaded rods
  • Place a spring on each of the rods
Getting ready to press the cheese curds

  • Place the 3rd metal bar on the rods pressing the springs down
  • Tighten wing nuts on each rod to hold the springs down
  • Make sure everything stays level as the curds press
 Pressing the curds

Follow the recipe for the amount of pressure and length of time before removing the cheese from the press to turn it over and redress it for more pressing time.  Experience will help determine how much pressure to apply as well.

Something to keep in mind is that the more pressure applied while pressing the cheese ... the dryer the final cheese will be.

You are welcome to use these plans for the cheese press if you'd like.  I'm sure many of you will modify and adapt the design to better suit your needs.  Enjoy your cheese making!


Linda said...

Oh wow! How easy and nifty is that? Thanks for posting the plans. I have been thinking of just a bar across the top much like you have there. The springs are a good idea. I will have to think on this some more...

~Tonia said...

Cool!! I may have to look into that!!!

goatmilker said...

That is great. Thanks for posting this. I have been wanting my husband to make me one. Have a great day Rebekah

OurCrazyFarm said...

This sure looks better than my bean can cheese press! I think we pressed our cheese too much as it did turn out dry~ thanks for the tip! Happy Cheese Making:))

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

This is just what I need! I am going to start making pressed cheese soon. Thanks so much for the ideas!

Feral Female said...

Cool! Thanks for posting this Brenda!

Deborah said...

Thanks for sharing your simple design. Looks like the parts should be easy to find. Now to get my husband to cut the parts for me. So looking forward to trying my hand at making goat cheese. Everyone makes it look simple, but I know some trial and error will be part of my learning curve. Next, looking for recipes to try. Brenda you always share the best information with us newbies. THANKS!

Carrie of Farming On Faith said...

Thanks for stopping by~
I love the cheese contraption. I will have to show my husband. You may need to give us some tutorials on cheese making. I would like to try. I seem to be discovering all sorts of homesteading ideas ~why not cheese.
You have a wonderful day~my fellow Missouri friend!

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

excellent post! I have the ss press, but I do believe yours is better!

Rebecca of Sunny Morning Farm said...

Oh maybe one day I will have enough milk to try this!!!! I think you must be kin to Danny, he can make anything too!!! Good job!

Queen Beth said...

That is awesome! I love goat cheese! :) This looks like something my husband would come up with for me. He always finds ways to make alternative solutions for the things I need!

Good Goats said...

Thank you for sharing, Brenda! We've been looking at making one the past few weeks.

ggaylmer said...

Nice idea. I admire your ingenuity. Just a suggestion, but if you use 4 bolts in a rectangular shape(instead of two) and drill 4 holes in the corners of a slightly bigger rectangular piece of wood to fit over the bolts, you can load weights onto the wooden plank above the follower and there is no need to keep tightening wing nuts to maintain pressure. 30lb of weight is about the right weight to put on the plank. The whole structure is very stable. Just leave overnight to press.