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Monday, July 29, 2013

MP3 Players, Colby Cheese, Brassicae Progress

Disaster today. The new MP3 player won't work. Fully loaded with Self Sufficiency Homestead, Radio National etc. podcasts it stopped working after one week. Back to the old model with the broken screen, malfunctioning buttons and navigation system from hell.

Apart from the usual morning herd checks both of us spent a large part of the day over the river harrowing, removing fireweed and fencing. Home at last it was time to make the Colby cheese that had been on the drawing boards since being inspired by Gavin Webster of Little Green Cheese some weeks ago. The delay being caused by a gap in the pipeline i.e. needed yoghurt, then Camembert, then Havarti and then Roquefort. Now that all those are under way in the cheese fridge it was time to make our first Colby.

Haven't used our cheese press for some time as with the small rounds and Havarti style there was no need to press with any great pressure. The old cheese press was knocked up from bits and pieces back in 1992 when we were milking a Jersey house cow. The base and top board are scraps of timber found in the workshop. The pressure is applied used two threaded rods and standard hex nuts. The nuts are welded together for extra bite and a rod welded to those for leverage. All rough and ready and the only stainless was the basket (not used this time).

A shot of the cheese press capturing the top and bottom boards, threaded rod etc

A close up of the rough but functional screwing mechanism

PVC Moulds, glass and wood followers. Notice the curd oozing out at the bottom. This is an indicator that the pressure is correct.

If the cheese is made late in the day as this one was then there is no one in attendance when the whey drains and the pressure eases. This is solved by using my first welding course project - a doorstop. The doorstop is a lot of heavy metal bars welded together with a handle. The pressure can be gauged by the effect on the cheese as the top board is screwed down. Originally a set of scales was sandwiched between the top board and the followers and the exact pressure could be measured. Now that the result can be assessed visually there is no need to mount the scales which was a bit fiddly.

The old doorstop made in 1984 as a TAFE Farm Welding Course project

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