The Ashwood Dutch Cheese Press
Any amateur home cheese maker will tell you that the most delicate part of the whole cheese making process is the pressing of the curd into a solid even block of cheese. This is why a good cheese press is essential if you want to have good looking cheese, and edible at that.
See, not only does a good cheese press give your curd the desired shape and compounds it together but it also presses out the excess whey. If you store cheese with excess whey, then it will spoil much faster than you would expect of a hard cheese.
Most industrial and commercialized cheese makers prefer using the pneumatic press which is faster and more efficient to use than the traditional type of presses. For the home cheese maker, though, a pneumatic press just becomes too expensive.
Why Choose A Dutch Cheese Press?
A dutch style cheese press is a perfect substitute. It can be much smaller and cheaper but does a beautiful job of pressing your cheese. There is one Dutch Cheese Press on the market that I really do love, and that’s the Ashwood Dutch Cheese Press.
The Ashwood Dutch Cheese Press really is stunning! As its name suggests, it is made of ash wood which is a type of hardwood, making it very sturdy. After all, if you’re going to buy a cheese press, you may as well make it one that will last.
Finding the best cheese press can be somewhat of a dance, but the beauty of the Dutch cheese press is that you can make it yourself if you have the woodwork knowledge required. Unfortunately, not all home cheese makers have a background working with wood.
But, you can still purchase your own Dutch style cheese press. And it’s not as expensive as other types of cheese presses. Without much ado, let’s dissect the Ashwood Dutch Cheese Press and see why its specifications make it preferable over other cheese presses in its class.
The first thing to mention as stated earlier is the pricing. If you want a good and efficient cheese press that won’t cost you a pretty penny then the Dutch style cheese press is the one you want. As compared to the pneumatic press and other more contemporary cheese presses I find the Dutch style cheese press quite fairly priced.
Next is that the Dutch cheese press works perfectly for all hard and semi-hard cheeses such as Cheddar, Manchego, Parmesan or Gouda which are the more popular hard cheeses. The Dutch style cheese press can exert pressures of up to 200PSI with a 50 pound weight, which is way more than what Cheddar cheese will need.
Using A Dutch Style Cheese Press
The press has 4 notches on the arm. When you move your weight from one notch to the next, the pressure exerted on your cheese will increase. And of course, the more weight you have on the arm, the more pressure there will be. The first notch is double the weight on your cheese as the weight you are hanging from the press. And the forth notch will put four times the weight.
You could use any weight from 2 pounds to 50 pounds to gain the correct pressure needed for your cheese. Please note that the Ashwood Dutch Cheese Press does not come with any weights. You will be able to purchase weights at any local gym equipment store. Or you could go for the more ‘homey’ technique of a bucket filled with water.
The Dutch style cheese press has a mold with a 4.5-inch diameter which is perfect for pressing hard cheeses. If the diameter is too wide, you might end up with more rind and paste as the drying area is larger. The mold also has all the necessary drainage holes for letting out the excess whey, and it can hold curd for a 2-4 pound cheese which will make an excellent hoop of cheese that will dry and age evenly.
This press is easy to care and maintain. All you need to maintain it is proper re-oiling and to clean it all you will need is warm soapy water. The one downside to this press is that curd can sometimes get stuck in between the wood connections. This is nothing that can’t be fixed by simply scraping it back out. Really, a small annoyance for an otherwise great product. Other than the crevices issue the Dutch style cheese press gets a rating of 9/10 in my book.
Pros & Cons Of The Ashwood Dutch Cheese Press
To sum up this Dutch-style cheese press, here is a summary of the pros and cons.
- It is easy to use. You do not need to keep changing weights for every stage of cheese pressing, just a change in the notch.
- It saves you money. Unlike contemporary pneumatic presses, its is much cheaper and you do not need to buy a whole range of weights.
- Saves you time as it is quite efficient to use.
- Sometimes curd may get stuck in the wooden crevices which will need to be remove.
All in all I would go so far as to say that the Ashwood Dutch Cheese Press is the perfect partner for your home cheese pressing needs. If you need any further information you can read my posts on The Pressing Issue About Cheese or How To Press Cheese.
Have you tried the Ashwood Dutch Cheese Press? Or perhaps you have found another cheese press that you absolutely love? Let us know over at the Curd Nerd Forum