Author Topic: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking  (Read 2453 times)

Offline Bob

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Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« on: September 02, 2012, 03:09:37 AM »
Hi all. I've been making cheese at home for 18 months now and am an avid reader of this forum. One thing I particularly enjoy is seeing photos of the equipment and systems people use at home for their cheesemaking. I find this is a great way to get ideas for my own set up.

I thought it would be a good idea, if anyone was interested, in posting some photos of their vats, cutters, heaters, presses, stirrers etc to share with other keen cheesemakers. That way we could all learn something from each other and hopefully improve our overall experience.

I have started by adding a couple of my own photos.
Turning liquid milk into solid gold!


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Online hoeklijn

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 04:55:14 AM »
Nice idea! First picture I added is my "cheese lab" in the bathroom. I picked that place because it's not used during the day (the kitchen is...) and it has electricity and warm and cold water. I'm not sure about the English translation, but I use an electric vat that is normally used for making marmalade and stuff like that. It can contain 27 liter when filled completely. The thermostat is not very good in handling lower temperatures, so it's a bit tricky until you get some experience with it. I have a good digital thermometer with clock (image 2). This way you can easily track the raise in temperature and so switch of the heating in time. At the moment I don't have that problem since I can pick up the milk during milking time and I only have to wait until the milk cooled down enough.... On the first image you see also my Kadova molds and curd knife. In the mirror you see at the background my laptop which is running a program that shows the recipe, the production steps with the required temperature and runs a timer for the steps that need one. It also logs all steps.
Third image is the press I build from oak. The size of the lever plus the fact that I use pulleys give a multiplier of 10, so 1 lb weight gives 10 lb pressure.
I made also some moulds that I use myself (although I know that some people here don't agree with that...). Since two weeks I'm the proud owner of an Extech PH100 PH-meter... And I have a pretty large cave (about 170 cm high) with an external thermostat.
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Offline Bob

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 05:01:57 AM »
Nice set up Herman, although I would struggle with such a small benchtop!

Love the set up with the computer with the recipe and the timing, is that a special program or one you wrote yourself? Your curd knife looks impressive, I'm still using a knife and a roasting rack for the horizontal cuts, but would really love a better system for the horizontal cuts as the rack is quite thick and damages the curd.

The press is magnificent!

Thanks for contributing!
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Online hoeklijn

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 06:43:00 AM »
Thanks Bob.
Well, the top is just a matter of getting used to. When I have to drain for a longer time with cheeses that are not pressed I will do that using plastic containers and I place them in the study, so the batchroom can be used again. Also when cheeses are pressed overnight, the press will be placed in the study.
The software is also home made and no, it's not translated yet, nor complete enough to make available for others  ;) I still have a lot of ideas about it and also have a constant lack of time...
- Herman -

Offline Onslow

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2013, 08:26:30 PM »
Third image is the press I build from oak. The size of the lever plus the fact that I use pulleys give a multiplier of 10, so 1 lb weight gives 10 lb pressure.

That's one sharp press! Do you have the plans for that or know where to obtain?


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Online hoeklijn

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2013, 12:44:00 AM »
Have posted a plan earlier somewhere here. I'll have a look at home on my other laptop later for the original document. Most important is to adjust the sizes to the biggest mould you have....
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Offline Onslow

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 11:02:23 PM »
Thanks - look forward to it!

Offline Spoons

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2013, 09:14:33 PM »
I got my sous vide circulator a few weeks ago. I haven't used it for making cheese yet, but i did run some temp control tests. The setup passed with flying colours! I'm making my first batch with this two weeks from now. Can't wait  ;D

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Offline Geo

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2013, 10:16:34 PM »
That looks fabulous Spoons. I'll look forward with eagerness to see what results you have.

I haven't used my bain marie in anger yet, as I went on a work trip then on holiday soon after it arrived, returning yesterday. My first test indicated that I'll probably have to do some work to get balanced temps but some trials will tell me more.

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2013, 06:59:26 AM »
I got my sous vide circulator a few weeks ago. I haven't used it for making cheese yet, but i did run some temp control tests. The setup passed with flying colours! I'm making my first batch with this two weeks from now. Can't wait  ;D

How expensive are those sous vide circulators? 


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Offline stratocasterdave

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2013, 08:29:55 AM »
The Anova, pictured, is $199.  I'm saving up for one.   :)

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2013, 01:49:56 PM »
How long does it take to come up to temperature?
Dave in CT

Offline Spoons

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2013, 02:59:15 PM »
How long does it take to come up to temperature?

When I did the test I had to raise the temp by increments of 2C twice during a typical 40 minute cook time. I also increased by 1.5C once. So out of 40 minutes, out of about 8 temp increases, five of them were by 1C, one by 1.5C and two by 2C. At the end of the cook time, I decreased the temp on the circulator by 2C degrees for the desired target. There wasn't an temp overshoot. Next time, I'll start with a 2C increase to kick off the cook procedure.

So as you can see, it's pretty responsive and there are a few "set-it-and-forget-it" steps whenever you need to cover and maintain temp for long periods. I also noticed theres a 0.5C variance between the water bath and the vat during "temp maintain" periods. 

Those were the results for a 7L bath and an 8L cheese vat. The circulator I have circulates 12L/minute and has a 1Kw heater.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 03:12:42 PM by Spoons »
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Offline scasnerkay

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2013, 10:55:19 PM »
Spoons, can you describe the rest of the heating set up? What are you using and how did you clamp it all together?
Susan

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Re: Equipment pictures - Home Cheesemaking
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2013, 11:52:18 PM »
No prob scarsnerkay,

Here's the precise setup with links (although the only thing I bought online was the circulator):

Anova Sous Vide Circulator (also makes the best steak I've ever had  O0 ):
http://www.sousvides.com/

Carlisle 18x12x9 food container:
http://www.webstaurantstore.com/clear-carlisle-1061207-storplus-food-storage-box-18-x-12-x-9/700181209CL.html

6" Stainless steel half pan (standard gauge):
http://www.webstaurantstore.com/6-deep-1-2-size-standard-weight-stainless-steel-steam-table-hotel-pan-anti-jam/4070269.html

Stainless steel door hooks (slightly modded, I added a 1/2" wood dowel inside the knob for stability): http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/90232133/#/60219449

The half pan fits perfectly snug inside the plastic food container. Once the pan is in the container, it holds solidly at about 3" from the bottom of the container, so there's water circulation on the bottom.

The circulator is a perfect fit on the side once the pan is added to the container, there's about 1/2" clearance, so no danger of scratching or adding pressure on the circulator's stainless steel casing.

Why the heck did I add 4 door hooks? The half pan is so light that it floats when you drain, cheddar or mainly reduce the weight inside the pan. So I use the door hooks and add some weight to them to keep the pan from floating when I drain the whey. The weights I use suspiciously look like a terrorist suicde bomb vest :o but it's just a set of ankle weights for training (each little pouch has a 0.5LBS iron weight in it).

It's an 8L setup, but there are 8" deep half pans that would make it a 10L setup.

So all-in-all, the only thing clamped is the circulator. The rest just sit on top of each other in a perfect fit.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2013, 12:24:44 AM by Spoons »
- Eric