Author Topic: First Caerphilly...sort of  (Read 1776 times)

Offline Mike Richards

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First Caerphilly...sort of
« on: January 12, 2013, 09:02:32 PM »
I tried to follow scasnerkay's Caerphilly #5 make, but a mix of new-to-me experiences and a small lack of attention made for an interesting process.  I used my pH control chart.

pH Control Chart for Caerphilly

As you can see, my pH started dropping rapidly after cutting and while cooking.  I should have known this would happen (because the curve isn't terribly different from most of my other charts), but didn't anticipate it.  I reacted by raising the temperature.  Unfortunately, I didn't pay that much attention and ended up raising it to about 100 F  :-[.  From my chart, you can see that temp increase seemed to slow down the pH drop.

After cheddaring for 30 minutes, I milled the curd, but half way through, I measured the pH of a couple of slabs and realized that I wasn't down to the 6.1 target.  I finished milling and then put the curd into a bowl and back into the pot and waited for it to reach 6.1.  Once it got there I salted it.

It's in the press now.  I'll take a picture of it tomorrow once I pull it out.  We'll see if the temperature spike and waiting to reach pH in milled form do anything to the cheese.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2013, 03:47:08 PM »
Here's a picture from the cheese this morning.

Cearphilly with ruler

I also discovered this morning that the insert for my electric roaster that I use for a cheese vat got dented somehow.  This is annoying because it's coated in enamel and the enamel was pulverized where the dent is.  Now the steel is exposed and is rusting.  I've put fingernail polish over the missing enamel.  Hopefully it will stand up to cheese making and won't poison me... :o.  What do you think?
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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2013, 03:55:37 PM »
Looks good.  Caerphilly is a pretty forgiving cheese in my experience, so I'm sure it will be fine.  I usually cut into it in 3 or 4 weeks, though you can age it out if you want.  What's your plan on that front?

- Jeff
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2013, 04:16:49 PM »
Thanks, Jeff.  My main reason for trying this one was because of your preference for cutting into it at +/- 3 weeks.  I've got a bunch of students that are tired of hearing about my cheese making but never getting to try any.  I figure if I can make something that is pretty good that quick, I'll be more willing to pass it on to others.

I've got my cave to maintain to 85-90% RH, so the plan is to let it hang out in there for the next 3 weeks.  I'll brush off/down anything that decides to grow on it but won't try to keep it pristine.  Once it's open, I'll decide if I want to continue aging a portion or just eat/share the whole thing.
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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2013, 05:46:49 PM »
Sounds good.  Post photos of the cutting! :)
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2013, 10:27:53 PM »
First, I cut into this guy yesterday, and was just tickled by the results.  Even my boys, who frequently refuse to try my cheeses and often complain when they do try them, liked it (well, the most picky boy said, "it tastes about like a normal cheese"--but even that's good from him).

1st Caerphilly

Second, if any of you ever get a chip in your enamel coated pot/vat, and think like I did, "Hey fingernail polish is an enamel," don't try it.  My first indication that something was not right was as I poured the milk into the roaster.  I smelled something that was abnormal.  It took me a little while to figure out what it was--fingernail polish.  I hoped that it was just a smell and that it wouldn't affect the cheese at all.  Unfortunately, as I took my first pH measurement of my milk, it was 6.45!  Normally, this milk comes in at 6.7, 6.65 when it's low.  I was surprised and wasn't sure if I should even keep making the cheese or just throw the milk away and find a new vessel to make cheese in.  I went ahead with the cheese, and things seemed to turn out okay.  Now the question is whether I'm brave (aka stupid) enough to eat the cheese...

I'll be trying to find a new vat to make cheese in.  I've been thinking of getting a stainless steel sink--they can hold a lot, are stainless, aren't terribly expensive and have a built in drain.  We'll see.
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2013, 07:14:41 AM »
Mike, that looks great!!  A cheese to you for a good cheese that looks good enough to make me want to bite my screen.    ;).   Don't know a good substitute for nail polish on your roaster.  Can you post a photo of your roaster and tell me it's size and how well it's working for you?  I've been curious about options.

Offline Boofer

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2013, 09:50:35 AM »
A cheese to you for a good cheese that looks good enough to make me want to bite my screen.    ;).
Hmmph! I was satisfied with just licking my screen! :D

Looks very tasty, Mike.

I've been thinking of getting a stainless steel sink--they can hold a lot, are stainless, aren't terribly expensive and have a built in drain.  We'll see.
So let me get my mind around this idea...you're thinking of dropping in a stainless steel sink to use as a cheese vat? I'm pretty sure that has not been done on the forum yet. If that's really what you intend, you'll be breaking new ground, Mike. Of course then you'll probably be fitting some kind of steam jacket around it, right? <tongue-firmly-in-cheek>

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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2013, 11:17:24 AM »
Tiarella--thanks for the cheese.  The roaster has worked perfectly for me, until I dented it.  The enamel chipped off and the exposed metal has rusted.  I can now have rust in my cheese or fingernail polish unless I can come up with a better way to fix it.  If I were to go that route again, I'd consider getting a roaster that has a stainless (not enamel) cookwell.  They cost more, though, and I haven't found one that has the same capacity as the one I've got (24 quarts, though I never put more than 4 gallons + 1 quart in it).  Here's a picture:
turkey roaster vat

Boofer--I'm serious.  I've been thinking about one of these utility sinks, like:

utility sink from ebay

They seem to come in a variety of capacities that range from 10 gallons up to 30.  I've found smaller ones for around $125 and the bigger ones are quite a bit more.  I'm thinking of one that is 18"x18"x12" with which I could probably do about 15 gallons, and would cost about $225.  After reading through the requirements for a cheese vat to pass inspection here in CO, I think I could get one of these guys to pass...if I ever decide to sell cheese I make.

How to heat it is an interesting question.  I've thought about a number of options including hot water baths (electricity, gas, and propane as heat sources) as well as just heating the tank directly--without a water bath or steam.  You can buy low intensity heating elements, like these, http://www.omega.com/ppt/pptsc.asp?ref=KHR_KHLV_KH, which I could stick to the sides or bottom of the sink and insulate the whole thing.  Since these guys are surface heaters and produce 2.5-10 watts/sq in, I think I could run them at full power without scalding the milk.  I still need to think through a few things, but I believe that's where I'm heading.  What do you think?
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Offline JeffHamm

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 11:37:04 AM »
Hi Mike,

Nice looking caerphilly!  A shame about the chipped pot.  Rust is bad in cheese and I'm sure nail polish isn't a good idea.  However, I'm sure people have injested nail polish (it flakes and has to end up somewhere, why not in the chips!).  I suppose it depends upon how much was used to seal over the hole.  At least this is a cheese that you can replace quickly.  A cheese to your success.

- Jeff
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Offline Boofer

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2013, 02:18:47 PM »
Okay, so you are serious. ;)

When I've toured different cheesemaking establishments (Beecher's in Seattle, Tillamook), the table they used for setting the curds and cheddaring was a deep stainless steel sink. Huge for a sink, but still pretty much a sink...with a drain. So you may be on the right track.

A couple of the problems I see with the flexible heating elements you showed:
  • How fast do they heat up?
  • What is the anticipated maximum temp they could reach?
  • The stainless steel sink is a big heatsink. How to overcome that?
I'm sure that there's someone on the forum who may have considered and may even have implemented a scheme such as what you are contemplating. Perhaps they will chime in.

There is the thread on the Sous Vide/cheesemaking project, but it uses a roaster probably very similar to your chipped one. Seems like there was a project on the forum that uses an 8-inch deep steam table insert but I'm not sure how they heated it. Anyone? (I didn't feel like searching for it. ;))

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Offline Tiarella

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2013, 03:43:16 PM »
Mike, if that roaster has 17 qts in it I have a hard time imagining 7 quarts more fitting in!

Have you checked out Sailor's cool setup?  He was thinking outside the box and created some very cool work arounds.  it's link is on the forum somewhere.  There was also that recent link to some sheep farming cheese operation on the forum recently.  They had a cool set up.  Can you get an industrial soup Cauldron that swivels for ease of pouting?  Lots of restaurants going out of business and selling stuff off these days.

@Boofer-if you were just licking the screen maybe you were less hungry than I was when I saw the photo.  :D

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2013, 03:52:49 PM »
Thanks, Jeff.  I figured rust was bad for the cheese, and had the same thought about the nail polish--not good--but people are bound to ingest it (little girls chewing on their nails, for example).  I didn't use a lot, as the chip is small, but it was enough, apparently, to mess up the pH of the milk.  If only lead or tin weren't bad for you, I could fill the pit and seal the chip with them...maybe jb weld?
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2013, 05:17:14 PM »
Boofer--

I've thought a lot about the heating, but have only run the numbers once for a single scenario.  My biggest concern is the ability to heat things up fast enough.  This has a lot to do with available power for the heater.  With just a regular 110 outlet and 15 amp circuit, I could only do about 1500 W.

To answer your questions:

1. How fast do they heat up?  You can get them in 2.5, 5, or 10 W/in^2.  How fast they will heat up depends on how well they are bonded to whatever you are trying to heat, and what it is made of.  If not stuck to anything, they would heat up really dang fast (they are only about .005" thick, and so don't have much thermal mass).

2. Max temp? They're rated up to 392F.

3. The sink as a heatsink:  I haven't run the numbers for this yet, but my gut feeling is that the amount of energy lost in heating up the steel will be insignificant relative to that required to heat the milk.  Additionally, the energy lost through the steel (to the air) can be dramatically reduced by insulating the sides of the sink.

If I understand where you are going, the big question is will this heater provide enough heat to actually get the milk to the right temperature but not so much that it scalds the milk.  I have theoretical knowledge sufficient to answer this question, but  no real practical experience.  In my next post, I'll go through a quick analysis of the situation.  You can tell me if you see anything significant that I missed.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: First Caerphilly...sort of
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2013, 06:49:05 PM »
Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): It takes about 7 minutes per gallon per 1000W available power to heat milk from fridge to cheese making temp.  My set up, with about 1500 watts and about 15 gallons would take 68 minutes, under ideal conditions.  Add in 30% loss in efficiency (I have no idea is that's a good number) it will take about 97 minutes-too long.  I'd need 2 circuits or a higher amp circuit.

This an energy problem.  If I use this kind of heating element, the question is, can I get enough energy from the wires in my wall into the milk, at a good rate (not too fast, as that scalds the milk, not too slow because that invites contamination).  So, let's start with a quick look at how much energy I need.  We'll assume we have 100% effecifiency--that is, all of the energy goes into the milk, none to the sink, none to the air.  If we say I'm going to do a 15 gallon batch, that is 56.8 L (we'll use metric because it's easier).  If we assume that milk has a heat capacity similar to that of water and that the heat capacity doesn't change much within the range of temps used in cheese making, then to raise the temperature 1 C, we need 4.18 Joules of energy for every gram of milk, and using the density of water, we have 56,800 grams of water.  That means, we need 237,424 Joules to raise the entire vat 1 C.  If the milk comes from the fridge at 4 C and we want to bring it up to 30 C, we need 26 C * 238,000 Joules/C = 6.17 Million Joules.  If the max power I can draw from a single 110V circuit in my home is 1500 W ( a Watt is a Joule/sec), then it will take me 68 minutes to heat the milk.  A more portable number, perhaps is that it takes just under 7 minutes to heat 1 gallon of milk (from 4 to 30 C) with 1000 Watts directly to the milk.  If we guess that we have about 30% loss (which I think it pretty high compared to what I'd really have, but again, I have no practical experience with this) then that bumps everything up, so 98 minutes for my scenario.  I need a higher amp circuit or to use two circuits. 
If only I could make cheese as well as I grow a mustache...