Colby Jack is a semi-hard cheese with a marbled look that is created by combining curds from Colby and Monterey Jack cheeses. I think the most challenging part of this cheese is running two cheeses in parallel and hoping that they both finish at the same time. If you decide to make this cheese, I recommend trying Colby and Monterey Jack individually and taking notes to help get the timing down.
Here are my notes from this cheese, along with a few pictures I took during the make:
4 gallons of milk split between two pots
Cheese coloring is what makes cheese orange. I dilute it with some milk before adding to the Colby pot
Curds mixed together in the pot for an even distribution
Colby Jack pressing at 25 pounds of pressure
The finished cheese with a distinct marbled pattern
I learned how to work a cider press at a hard cider workshop I attended on Sunday. Fresh pressed apple cider is really good, and I found myself researching fruit presses to see if I could press apples at home on a small-scale. Unfortunately, presses designed for making just a cup or two of juice at a time don’t seem to exist. So I started to wonder if I could improvise something with the equipment I have for cheesemaking.
This experiment is to answering the following questions:
Is it possible to use my cheese press to make fresh cider? Hypothesis: Yes. A cider press and a cheese press have different purposes, but the mechanics should be similar.
Is it practical to use my cheese press to make fresh cider? Hypothesis: Maybe. A cider press is able to squeeze a decent amount of juice out of the apples, but it might be both faster and cheaper to buy a half-gallon of cider from the grocery store.
The first step in cider making is to grind apples into a pulp. I don’t have a fruit grinder, so I decided to roughly chopped the apples instead. My plan was to press the apples similar to how I press a cheese: Add the apple chunks to a mold, add weight, and let everything sit until juice comes out.
I gradually added weight to the cheese press, but I wasn’t able to get any juice even at 100 pounds of pressure. Chopping the apples into smaller pieces helped, but I still wasn’t able to get more than a quarter cup of juice. I eventually discovered that pumping the press worked better than letting it sit undisturbed.
Is it possible to use my cheese press to make fresh cider? Yes, it’s definitely possible. In the end, I was able to press out a little more than two cups of juice from the apples
I used. Pumping the press works better than letting it sit under pressure.
Is it practical to use my cheese press to make fresh cider? No. This was a lot of work for only two cups of juice, and it took up most of my evening yesterday.
I have a few ideas for what I could do differently next time:
Use a food processor to chop the apples. Chopping by hand is tedious and messy, so automating this step should get me to the pressing step faster and with a better pulp.
Use a different style cheese press. My lever-arm press works with up to 100 pounds of pressure, and it’s possible that this simply isn’t enough to get a drinkable amount of juice in a short amount of time. A screw-style press might work better.