Category Archives: Cheese Making

Q&A: Why Our Cheese Press Doesn’t Need a Pressure Gauge

A customer asks: I recently purchased your Ultimate Cheese Press and now I see that it has no pressure gauge. Many of the cheeses I’d like to try need to be pressed at a certain pressure for a certain amount of time. Can I make those cheeses with this press, and if so, will the texture come out right? I’d like to know how I can make sure I’m putting the correct pressure on my curds.

Ultimate Cheese Press

Ultimate Cheese Press

Jerri’s answer: Yes, you can make any type of cheese using our Ultimate Cheese Press. No pressure gauge is needed on any press because cheesemaking is a natural process and the whey will release only when it’s ready. The release of whey depends on many variables, such as the temperature at which the cheese was made, the temperature of the curd going into the press, the pH, the type of cheese, and sometimes I like to say the phases of the moon because you just never know. Cheesemaking is more of an art than pure science.

A long time ago, someone wrote recipes for the old fashioned danish cheese presses that used hanging weights to apply pressure to the curd. Then some folks took those recipes and transferred their weight information into modern recipes for presses that have a mechanism in place for applying pressure. And then, some folks decided that modern presses must need a pressure gauge, and so they built one into the press.

The pressure gauges on today’s presses aren’t particularly accurate because they base the amount of pressure on the number of turns of the handle. Of course, depending on the hardness of the cheese, and depending on whether pressure is applied near the beginning or the end of the process, the amount of pressure being applied varies.

Nowadays some manufacturers are adding pressure gauges to their presses. They drive up the cost, and they’re just not necessary.

The bottom line is that our press was designed to press any type of cheese the way it was meant to be pressed…that is, the natural, old fashioned way. You do this by transferring the curd into the press, securing the follower on top, and then turning the top knob by hand until it’s tight (not forced). When the whey is ready to release, it will come out of the bottom of the mold. And as it releases, the top knob will become loosened.

So all you need to do for the first couple of hours is to check your press every so often and make sure the top knob is tightened securely. The harder the cheese, the less whey will be released because it was already released before you transferred the curd into the press. A softer cheese, like a Colby, will release more whey. Sometimes you might even see some whey on top of the follower. If this happens, just tip the whole press over to allow that whey to pour out.

So if you have recipes that suggest specific pressures, ignore them. All you have to do is follow the directions for using our Ultimate Cheese Press and your cheese will come out perfect every time!


When you make cheese, you get whey as a by-product. Here’s a question from a customer about whey.

A customer asks: What can I do with the whey that’s left over after making cheese, Greek yogurt, butter, etc.? It seems like such a waste to throw it away.

Jerri’s answer: Whey is loaded with protein, so you definitely don’t want to throw it away! You can use whey in just about anything…soups, sauces, baking, protein drinks, etc. Adding whey to these foods makes them even more nutritious.

Q&A: Having Bread Yeast Nearby When Making Cheese Can Ruin the Cheese

A customer asks:  I’ve been making cheese successfully for quite a while now. But, all of a sudden, right after its done, it starts to grow into an ugly blob and smells awful. Is it contaminated and bad? Did I do something wrong?

Jerri’s answer: Great question! You must be baking homemade bread at the same time, or near the time you’re making cheese. The yeast used for making bread gets in the air no matter what you do.

Culture Sampler

Cheese Culture Sampler Kit

Here’s the solution: Instead of heating the milk first and then adding cheese culture, add the culture while the milk is still cold. Then heat the milk to the start temperature and continue with the recipe as usual.

There is competition between the bread yeast and the bacterial culture. When you heat the milk first, the yeast grows fast and kills off the bacterial culture when you add it to the milk. But when you add the bacterial culture to cold milk, the culture starts to grow right away; and then it can overcome the yeast and kill it.

And, by the way, that yeasty blob of cheese won’t hurt you if you eat it, but it’s very unappetizing and it tastes awful.

Q&A: What You Need to Know About Waxed Cheese

A customer asked: How long can I age my waxed cheese if it has spices or herbs in it, like chives or garlic, etc.?

Waxed Cheese

Waxed Cheese

Jerri’s answer: Usually, those types of cheeses need to be eaten within six months. If you use irradiated seasonings, and if you scald the herbs and spices before adding them to the cheese, then you can age it longer.


 A customer asked: Why do I have to flip a waxed cheese over while it’s aging?

Jerri’s answer: Freshly made cheese continues to release small amounts of liquid (whey). Gravity draws the liquid downward, causing it to collect at the bottom where it sometimes leaks out from the underside of the cheese. Flipping the cheese over helps keep the whey from escaping, If you were to age a cheese without turning it over, all the whey would leak out the bottom and turn the cheese into rotten mush.

Freshly made cheese that has been waxed or preserved needs to be turned over every day for the first two weeks. Beginning with the third week, the cheese should be flipped approximately every other day for at least another two weeks. When aging a cheese beyond 30 days, most cheesemakers continue to turn the cheese over at least once a week.

Should You Use Calcium Chloride When Making Mozzarella?

Stretching Mozzarella

Lately, online cheesemaking forums have been abuzz with controversy over the question of whether calcium chloride should be used when making mozzarella. Some folks insist that calcium chloride is necessary for proper curd formation, and others argue that it prevents the curds from stretching.

So, who’s right?

To get to the bottom of this controversy, we turned to world-renown cheesemaker Margaret Morris, author of The Cheesemaker’s Manual, 2015 winner of First Prize at the American Cheese Society (ACS) Society, and 2013 winner of the top award at the Global Cheese Making Competition in Somerset, UK.

Here’s what we learned. Continue reading

Holiday Specials! Check back often for more items!

Holiday Specials at Homesteader’s Supply!

holiday specials, cyber monday 2014, homestead supplies, cheese press,

Check back often to see updates on our holiday specials

Check back often for updates on our Holiday Specials. We’re starting off the holiday gift giving season with two sales.

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1)  Triple Wood Cutting Board and Rolling Pin –  on sale through end of the year AND we have a special offer. You’ll receive a $20 Gift Certificate to keep for yourself or give to someone else when you purchase this set.

2)  Ultimate Cheese Press in Hard Cherry wood … Limited Edition only 25 available, first come first serve. Now on sale until end of the year! There’s a recipe for Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese in the blog to help you get started.

Have you seen the video staring Wardee from GNOWFGLINS? Wardee shows us how to use the Ultimate Cheese Press. You’ll feel a lot more confident after watching the video. Making hard cheese is surprisingly simple.