I had just enough success with my earlier cheese-making adventures to make me want to go a little further. Reading on the Internet, I found that the Junket brand of rennet I was buying in the store left a lot to be desired. Now, I was skeptical, because I was getting this information from people who were selling the proper kind of rennet. But after less-than-perfect results more than once... wait, I never had perfect results: I ended up with something like cheddar cheese twice, and the rest of the time I ended up with a hard cheese that was very good for grating over salads. None of it went to waste, but I wanted some predictable results. I ordered a few things at cheesemaking.com and set them aside to wait for the day I would try my luck with them.
Today was the day. Setting the curd was much easier today, since I didn't have to buy buttermilk to help it work and I didn't have to let it set overnight; only thirty minutes. Also, before I had to slowly heat the milk and stir and check temperature over and over and hope I didn't get it too hot (which I can now see that I did, and that's how I ended up with hard cheese instead of cheddar).
Today I cut the curd when it was ready and, instead of heating it on the stove, I set it in a sink full of hot water for a half hour and stirred it often.
Then it was time to pack it into the mold and apply ten pounds of weight on it. I was stumped, so once again I asked Cliff what I could use for weight, and how I could get it to stay on the cheese in the mold. "What about those dumbbells nobody uses," he asked. "That would be ten pounds."
I'm sure I could do an online search and find some ideas on how to make a cheese press. I could buy them from New England Cheesemaking, but it would cost $150 to $300. Before I invest that much, I want to know I can make some decent cheese.