We use cheese moulds to reduce the amount of whey there is in the cheese, and at the same time give the cheese a shape. Sometimes pressure is needed to make the cheese as dry as possible before the next stage, though you rarely actually make a hard cheese by pressing it. That is the job of the cooking process (when I say cooking I don’t mean in the conventional sense, but warming the curds a little) and the starter used.
The majority of cheese moulds can be fashioned by using things like spare ricotta nets from the supermarket, who will give them to you if you ask for them. You can also use any food grade material with holes in it to allow the whey to drain.
Eventually, however, the cheese maker will wish to buy moulds – particularly ones with a follower for pressing, though I maintain the use of a couple of chopping boards and a pan of water as a weight will do.
Also, if you have a cake tin with a removable bottom – a springform type tin, you can use them as a mould with a follower. Place a chopping board on the draining board and then invert the bottomless tin onto this. Then add your cheese in a cheesecloth and finally put the lid on top. Because the ring part of the tin is upside down, the lid will slide inside. Place a large jug of water on this and press away!
Another way of pressing your cheese is simply to put the cheesecloth into a metal (works best) colander and a saucer on top of that. A weight on the top will press your cheese into a pleasing shape.
Don’t forget to sterilise your mould before use, even if you are only lining it with a cheesecloth.