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Advanced Cheesemaking Equipment

Advanced Cheesemaking Equipment

ADVANCED CHEESEMAKING EQUIPMENT

 

  1. Cheese Press
  2. Cheese Wax
  3. Cheese Cradle
  4. Cheese Mats
  5. Cheese Coating
  6. Molds (small) for soft molded, herbed soft molded and Camembert.
  7. Mold (Large) for Brie or Blue Cheese)
  8. Lipase Powder for strong Feta or Provolone
  9. Penicillium Candidum (white) for making Brie, Camembert or Saint Maure
  10. Penicillium Roquefort (Blue) for making Blue Cheese
  11. Bacteria Linens (red) for making Brick Cheese
  12. Propionic Powder for Swiss Cheese
  13. Small Spray Bottle for using with mold powder
  14. Aging Your Cheese

 

The advanced cheese making equipment can be added as you become more experienced and desire to make a larger variety of cheeses.  The first 5 items on the list will be necessary for making pressed cheeses such as Colby, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, Gouda, Havarti, Asiago, Muenster, etc.

 

Items 6-12 are cheese specific and only needed if you want to make cheeses such as
Strong Feta, Blue cheese, Brie, Camembert, St Maure, Brick or Swiss cheese.

 

ADVANCE CHEESEMAKING EQUIPMENT INFORMATION

 

  1.  Cheese Press

 

This is an investment that you will need to have for pressing your cheese.  If you are handy with wood you can probably fashion some sort of press using materials you have around the house.  My first cheese press was a coffee can with a wood follower.  I used small bricks wrapped in aluminum foil as my weights.  It was elevated in a cake pan to allow drainage.  After one unfortunate accident when the bricks shifted and fell on my foot I went ahead and got myself a very nice cheese press from Hoegger Supply.  They sell two versions, one has Stainless hoops and other has Plastic hoops.  They both work equally well.

 

  1. Cheese Wax

 

You will need cheese wax to age cheeses such as Parmesan, Colby, Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Gouda, Brick, and Asiago etc.   Some cheeses such as Swiss, Provolone, Havarti or Muenster are aged but not waxed.  Shrink-wrapping to prevent mold would better age those softer cheeses.

 

While cheese wax may seem expensive at first it is a good investment because it is re-useable.  I rinse it with warm water to remove any debris from the previous cheese, let it air dry in my dish drainer and throw it into my cheese pot to be re-melted and reused.  Use an old pan with a lid for your cheese melting pot.  Then you can keep the wax in there all the time.  Also when testing your cheese to see if it is aged enough, you can cut off a corner of the wax, taste the cheese and reseal the hole back shut if it needs to age longer.  I dip the cheese several times, allowing it to harden and cool between dipping until I have about 5-7 coats built up.  On the very last waxing, I put the type of cheese and the date on a piece of paper and wax that to the cheese.  The wax is thin enough to read the writing.  This way you always know what kind of cheese you have and the date it was made.  This will help you know how long it has been aging.

 

Do not mistake cheese wax for Paraffin or bee’s wax.  Cheese wax is a special wax that is flexible.   I had people tell me I could mix beeswax with paraffin wax, add oil etc. I tried them all in an effort to save money and none of them worked.

 

  1. Cheese Cradle

 

A handy tool to help you dry the rind of your cheese thoroughly before it gets waxed for aging.

  1. Cheese Mats

 

Cheese mats are used for drying and aging cheese.   A must for cheese such as Camembert, Brie, Soft Molded, Blue Cheese, Saint Maure or any cheese that is aged with a mold spore powder applied as it allows the air to circulate around the cheese so the soft bloom can grow evenly on the cheese.

 

  1. Cheese Coating

 

This is a special coating that inhibits the growth of mold on cheeses that will be waxed for aging.  The coating is applied to all the surfaces of the cheese, allowed to dry and then waxed  as usual.

 

  1. Molds (small) for soft molded, herbed soft molded and Camembert.

 

These are small molds, usually 8-12 oz. size with drainage holds all around the sides and bottom.  Hoegger sells both the Camembert and soft goat cheese molds.  They also have a pyramid mold that makes a beautiful pyramid shaped cheese.  Any of those molds will work fine.

 

  1. Mold (Large) for Brie or Blue Cheese)

 

These are larger molds with holes in the sides and bottom for drainage.  The Brie mold will work for making the Blue Cheese as well.

 

  1. Lipase Powder for strong Feta or Provolone

 

Lipase is what gives some cheeses their piquant tangy sharp taste.  A must for the traditional strong Feta cheese.  It will also add flavor to Provolone, Blue cheese and can even be added to Mozzarella to add a tangy taste.  It comes as a freeze-dried powder and is best kept frozen for a longer shelf life.  Lipase is dissolved in water before being added to the milk.

 

  1. Penicillium Candidum (white) for making Brie, Camembert or Saint Maure

 

This is a special mold powder that is used to inoculate the outer surface of the cheese.  It is responsible for the soft edible bloom found on Camembert and Brie cheese.  Penicillium Candidum also helps the interior of the cheese to develop into that soft buttery cheese that you can spread.  The taste is reminiscent of mushrooms and should smell sweet and earthy.  If it smells of strong ammonia, the cheese is old has been aged too long.   This powder is mixed in water and applied using a small spray bottle.  Be sure to clean the bottle thoroughly after use or you will find the mold growing in the bottle and the spray nozzle.  Once it gets in there it ruins the bottle.   Keep this freeze-dried powder in the freezer for longer shelf life.

 

  1. Penicillium Roquefort (Blue) for making Blue Cheese

 

This is a blue mold spore powder that is used for making Blue and Roquefort cheese.  Be very careful with this mold.  It can linger in the air and if you’re not careful every cheese you make will be  blue.  My personal experience was all the cheeses I had aging became infected with this mold.  They were all edible and delicious, but I had to rename all my cheeses that year.  I had cheddar-blue, Parma-blue, etc.  It was a fun experiment, but I sure learned to be more careful with this mold.

 

This particular mold is mixed into the curds before the cheese is put into the molds.  Once it has settled and drained, the cheese gets punctured with a lot of tiny holes.  This cheese develops its blue veins when the little holes allow oxygen to get in and the mold develops.

 

Store this freeze-dried powder in the freezer for longer shelf life.

 

  1. Bacteria Linens (red) for making Brick Cheese

 

This is a surface mold that is mixed with water and sprayed on the exterior of the cheese.  After allowing the mold to develop the rind is usually washed with salt water and then waxed to age.

 

  1. Propionic Powder for Gruyere, Emmenthal and Swiss type cheeses

 

This is a special bacteria called Propionic Shermanii.  This particular bacteria produces gas and is responsible for the tiny holes (eyes) in Swiss type cheese.

This is mixed with water and then mixed into the milk along with a thermophilic culture.  This freeze-dried culture should be kept frozen for longer shelf life.

Swiss cheese is not waxed because during part of the aging process this cheese produces gas and swells a little.  Shrink-wrapping this cheese will help it to age without getting all moldy.

 

  1. Small spray bottle

 

For making the Brie, Camembert or Bacteria Linens mold ripened cheese you will need a small spray bottle.  Buy any inexpensive small bottle you can find.

 

  1. Aging your cheese

 

Finding a way to age your cheese at the correct temperature and humidity will be important in aging many of the harder cheeses.   I live in Michigan and I have a nice cool basement.  Would seem like a perfect place to age my cheese right?  Wrong!  I discovered that mice don’t mind chewing through the wax to sample my aging cheeses.  After that I had to find a way to keep out rodents or bugs. Most cheeses are aged at a temperature of around 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit.   These are just a few ideas or suggestions that have worked for me.

 

    1. I keep a spare refrigerator in my basement that I can set to a higher temp then my regular refrigerator.  This makes a perfect dust and rodent free place to age your cheese.  Especially good for my Brie and Camembert.  Also the soft molded cheeses.  You can place a pan of water in the bottom of the refrigerator if it’s not humid enough. Even a small refrigerator used by college students in dorms might be a viable alternative.

 

    1. A regular ice chest that can sit on my basement floor.  I place my waxed cheeses into this and because the basement floor is cement and cool, the cheese is perfect in there.  I place all my waxed cheeses into a gallon size plastic bag (not baggies they don’t seal as well) the twist tie type.  Then I suck out all the air so that each waxed cheese is sealed in its own plastic bag.  Then if any cheese has a leaking or seepage problem, it does not infect all the cheeses in the chamber.  Not only helps the cheese to age, but keeps in the humidity. Parmesan cheese loses oil as it ages so the baggie works great for keeping the oil confined to the Parmesan cheese only.

 

    1.  I have heard of people using a wine cooler with good results.  I do not personally own one so I cannot speak from experience. If you already own a wine cooler this may be a good option.