Cheese Press , single thread, steel


Bega Pioneers Museum


Cheese Press , single thread, steel

About this object

A cheese press is used in the process of manufacturing many cheese varieties, but particularly hard cheeses. The process of making cheese begins with the heating of milk in a vat to a temperature that encourages the fermentation of lactose into lactic acid. This is achieved with the growth of bacteria that feed on lactose found naturally in milk. Depending on what variety of cheese the maker intends to produce, a particular starter culture will be added. After the product has been fermented and coagulated, it is placed in a cheese press to drain excess whey. This whey is a highly nutritious by-product that was retained and used for various purposes. By draining the whey, a hard cheese was produced that could then be aged without spoilage.

Cheese press designs varied to a large extent. Some presses-such as the one represented- achieved the desired compression by tightening a pressure arm attached to metal threaded rods. Other types achieved the compression by ropes or by the sheer weight of a large, dense rock dangled from above. This single threaded model was common for small factories, with larger models (having two threads) allowing the production of larger quantities at a time.

Medium and Materials

Steel frame with a single thread positioned above two large, round platforms. The press worked by the rotation of a handle (not retained) that turned small pinion sitting perpendicular to the gear. This brought the upper section down, applying pressure to the cheese held in hoops that were resting on the platforms below. Some decoration is present on the lower base of the press, with three clover cutouts depicted on both sides of the base. Both platforms have depressed concentric circles that lead to the centre, which may have been used to stabilise hoops of various sizes positioned in the press. Extensive rusting is present on the surface of the press, with the flaking of silver paint visible on all surfaces.

Object Type

Cheese Press

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