Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grandma Brown's Bean Can Cheese Mold


As I mentioned before, I am on sort of a cheese making tear lately. I used to make cheese quite a lot but then kind of dropped production as I began to take an increasing interest in the meaty art of dry-curing. Lately it seems that I am right back at cheese making full force. Don't ask what re-inculcated me with the desire to dabble in the dairy arts...

Recently I decided that I would like to make a rather large traditional, cloth-bound cheddar. If you don't know, to make cheddar you need some sort of cheese press to form your curds and press out excess whey. I used to have a small, dedicated press but somehow (I moved recently) some key pieces went missing. Not wanting to spend the princely sum that a new cheese press would cost, I have been improvising. 

First, I adapted my sausage stuffer to act as a cheese press and it works quite well. Only thing is that it can only accept a pretty small cheese mold. I wanted to make a larger wheel of cheddar so my tiny brain gears started turning as I tried to figure out what I could MacGyver together on the cheap...

Suddenly it came to me! A Grandma Brown's  large size bean can would be just the thing. You can read all about Grandma Brown's (made in Mexico, NY) awesome beans right here and more about the behemoth large sized can here

I was fully prepared for immediate action as I generally happen to have at least one of the giant bean cans on hand as an objet d'art (I love the label). I girded my loins for a couple of days of bean eating and cracked the can open. I took the two ends off of the bean can and drilled some drainage holes. I used one of the tops and some blocks of wood as a follower. For the weight I used a tool box and some of my cast iron pans.

Here is the setup at work pressing a cheddar made with 4 gallons of Meadow Brook Farms (Clarksville, NY) milk. I wouldn't reuse the can too many times but for an expedient cheese mold it seems to be working famously. 

Anyhow, I just realized that pressing a NY cheddar made with NY milk in a Grandma Brown's bean can is probably about the most stereotypically Upstate New York thing a man can do... 

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to guess that you have not started any new trends in cheese making techniques :) But the Mcgyver ref was right on.


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