I am just going about shopping for some equipments and I had a question for which the equipment manufacturers are definitely not giving me a straight answer.
I would like to describe my process and get your advice on what do I ACTUALLY need as against what the manufacturers would like me to buy from them.
I am setting up a facility in a mountain area with intention to start making goat and sheep cheese. Now by its very nature the supply of goat and sheep milk is in lesser volumes than cow milk. What I want to achieve is collect the milk from nearly 12 collection centers I have setup throughout the region, bring it to my facility and start processing it when I have a batch of, say, 500 Lts.
This quantity might get collected in maybe 5 - 6 trips spread through 8 - 10 days.
Now because the source of my milk is external not in-house, the quality is bound to be variable in every aspect. So pasteurization is a necessity (at the cost of flavour) to make sure the milk is safe for human consumption.
So what I am looking at is collecting small batches of milk -> storing them in a cooler cum storage tank at 4 degrees till the quantity is 500 Lts -> then pasteurize it -> then turn over the batch for processing to the cheese vat.
My questions are -
1. Do I need a separate pasteurizer ? Whats the recommended pasteurizing process here ? is just heating the milk to 72 degrees and holding it there for 16 seconds enough ? That could be achieved in the cheese vat itself since it has jacketed walls and temperature control.
2. Is it ok to have the milk cooler also act as the milk storage tank (programmed at 4 degrees) till the batch quantity completes ?
If yes, then these are the only 2 equipments I need to start with till our volumes grow to commercial levels. This brings our start-up cost down radically.
Do you see any problem with this ?
Please give your valuable suggestions and comments. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am new to cheese making. This is a small dream project that I have been nurturing since a long time. I want to start small, learn my way and do my own thing. My intentions are not strictly commercial. But I do want to do it right.
Thanks a lot.
#1 - no, no!! You can't apply HTST time/temperature profiles to a vat pasteurization - here's the vat pasteurization requirements where I am (wherever you live you can't use HTST time/temps on a vat pasteurization) - google can be your friend here...you can use your vat for vat pasteurization but need to get the headspace heated too...http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/dailai/man/estman/ch12e.shtml
Milk Based Products - below 10% milk fat (fluid milk, goat milk, whey): 63°C for 30 minutes.
Milk Based Products - 10% milk fat or higher, or added sugar (fluid cream, cream for butter, chocolate milk, flavoured milk, etc.): 66°C for 30 minutes.
#2 - I'd never store raw milk for longer than 4 days myself - and that's with high quality (bacteria counts of less than 20,000/mL) - before processing. You'll need to really watch the quality degradation (rancidity, bacteria growth...) over time if you are questioning the farm supply too.
Starting with quality raw ingredients REALLY gives you a leg up on having a quality finished product!
Hopefully something is of help here...