A friend lent me an old-fashioned cider press to use. I am planning to put a few dozen chopped up apples into it and then see how much juice I get, but I'm worried there won't be much. Would it help to sprinkle a little sugar onto the apples and let them sit for a while before pressing? I can't find much information on cider-making online (I'm just making juice, I'm not going to ferment it).
Maceration is a traditional step in French and English cider production, whereby the pomace (post-crushing pulpy residue) is left to sit for up to a full day (2-4 hours probably suffices). This allows beneficial enzyme action, and the exposure to oxygen should help reduce bitterness and astringency.
I'm not sure what adding sugar would do besides increasing the costs and complexity; are the apples not sweet enough already?
Reference: "The New Cider Maker's Handbook" by Claude Jolicoeur.