Author Topic: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat  (Read 1544 times)

Offline caithd

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Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« on: February 06, 2013, 03:59:42 PM »
We'll be scaling up our milking a bit this year from 15 sheep to (hopefully) upwards of 34. We have a 60 gallon double-jacketed cheese vat (actually a soup kettle in a previous life) that we had been recirculating hot water through to heat our milk. So far with the small amount of milk we've had we've been able to fill a sink with hot water and with a small circ. pump pumped it through the double jacket and back into the sink. This has been a hassle since we're constantly adding hot water to the sink to keep up with our heating curve. We also maxed out our hot water tank last year.

We'll have more milk this year so are looking for innovating & simple ideas to get hot water through the double jacket to heat the milk. Ideally something that we can "set" do have it keep the water at a certain temp while we raise the milk temp. We are also pretty close to having a full electric panel so have considered solar or propane as alternative energy sources.

Thanks!


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Offline Tomer1

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 04:07:07 PM »
Easy, Use steam.  you can use whatever you like (gas or electricity) to power it. 
You will need to find someone who spacilizes though who can configure and set up such a system for you.
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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 04:14:01 PM »
Or, if not steam, then dedicated heater element in line with a recirc pump in closed loop with expansion tank. Can make your own 5,000-10,000 W heater by using a few elements, re-use an existing tank water heater, or go tankless. Get a PID with thermocouple so you can adjust temps easily, override any built-in sensors if using a water heater, and you'll be set to go.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 04:15:28 PM »
I dont' have a good answer for this, but I have been thinking about a similar question and have discussed it with the ge...engineers I work with.  To heat that much milk in 30 minutes would require something on the order of 18 kilowatts of power dropped right into the milk.  That's a pretty high electrical load, so, unless you've got industrial electric supply available, it's not the way to go (that's ignoring the amount of energy the water needs...).  What I'm thinking I will do, if I ever get there, is get a small natural gas water heater and set it up so that I am pumping water from the heater, around the vat and then back into the heater to pick up more heat.

If you can take longer to heat it up, then you don't need as much power...how long is too long?

Edit: On the way home  I realized I didn't estimate well.  The number should be closer to 14kW.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 04:53:04 PM by Mike Richards »
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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 05:34:00 PM »
It is not very difficult to make a heating coil for water.
We can make these to use water as a transfer element for heating, essentially the same thing here only you are heating milk instead of room air.

What you need is some good copper pipe run into a coil, the coil sets just off of a transfer plate (a steel plate) which is heated by any heat source you wish -gas, electric, wood, whatever. The water runs into the middle of the coil, and out of the end.

Such a system will actually create convection if done properly, so no pump is needed. But you might want a pump if you can't figure out the proper setup. Convection works because the water will have variable pressure in different temperature ranges, so if oriented properly the vat will actually actively draw the hot water away from the coil, in the mean time pushing the cold water into it. But if you want total control, you need a circulating pump (otherwise you have only indirect control of heating rate by adjusting burner temperature)

It is very important to have regulator valves and emergency release valves so that the water will not boil and explode. The regulator valves will maintain the water at a constant pressure -otherwise it turns into steam and exerts force on the pipe until the point of failure.

A well made system can run on low pressure steam, but you need to be sure that all of your pipes are properly fit.

Electricity is probably impractical for this situation. You can obtain a suitable propane or natural gas burner to do the trick or place a coil on the heating plate of a wood stove. But you do need a good deal of heat.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 06:15:25 PM »
Pav or Alp (or anyone else who knows...),

How long do you feel is too long to heat milk from cold storage up to cheesemaking temperature?  I'm sure it depends on the quality of milk and other things, but would you be comfortable with 30 minutes? What about 90 minutes?  60? 45?  etc...

That kind of information has a significant impact on sizing a heating system.

Thanks!
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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 07:14:21 PM »
Which cheese? Culture? Ideally, you are at pH 5.4 within 4-5 hours from milk in vat for hard cheese.
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Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 08:10:27 PM »
That's interesting.  I was thinking in terms of when I actually add the culture, but it makes sense that a bigger concern is getting a large population of the right culture within a certain amount of time.

So, (if you already have a vat size) do you decide how to size a heating system based on the cheeses that are going to be made?  Are there just rules of thumb?  Some other way?
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Offline caithd

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 08:59:16 PM »
Thanks all for some really good suggestions. We have some things to think about now along with our own ideas (or more like, my husband's).

Quote
How long do you feel is too long to heat milk from cold storage up to cheesemaking temperature?

I know a few artisan cheese makers here who allow their milk to heat up initially over at least 1 hour from storage temp. We usually go from 2 degrees C to our initial heating temp (I think its about 32 degrees C for our Tomme) in about 45 minutes or so.

We're using raw sheep's milk from our farm and adding a small amount of MA4001/2. We should have around 30-40 gallons per batch this year (and eventually up to 60 to fill our vat, so want to size the system accordingly).

Offline Mike Richards

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 10:10:52 PM »
When you decide what you want to do, you can figure your power requirement based on the time you'd like to heat the milk and the amount of milk you've got.  I calculated that it takes a little under 7 minutes to heat 1 gallon of milk from 4 C to 30 C using 1kW of power.  So, if you only had 1 kW for your 60 gallons (and you were only raising the temp 26 C), it would take 60 x 7 =  420 minutes--probably unacceptable.  If you're target is 45 minutes, then you take those 420 minutes divide them by your 45 minute target and you get about 9.3 kW.  Many heating devices are rated in btu/hr instead of kW.  1 kW = 3214 btu/hr, so in this scenario you'd want a 32,000 btu/hr or more device.  This assumes there is no heat loss anywhere else in the system.  Since there would be some, and you actually want a slightly larger (about 15% larger) temperature increase, I think you'd want to over size the system a little.

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2013, 01:24:07 AM »
Quote
I was thinking in terms of when I actually add the culture, but it makes sense that a bigger concern is getting a large population of the right culture within a certain amount of time.

So, (if you already have a vat size) do you decide how to size a heating system based on the cheeses that are going to be made?  Are there just rules of thumb?  Some other way?
You have to assume a recipe and figure out what the needs are for the shift given the ph vs time for the cheese with the culture blend. Barring that, 45-60 mins to rennet add is a reasonable estimate. That means culture add at 70-72F for meso, 80F for thermo.
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Offline HOPOIL

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2013, 08:37:19 AM »
CAITHD
as per your original question about heating a large soup kettle....
This lady has a similar setup.

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Offline Alpkäserei

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2013, 11:20:47 PM »
As to heating from storage temp, this is a complicated question and depends on the cheese I think.

For our cheeses, which are hard alpine style, We use a double heating system because we are adding morning and evening milking separately. Evening milk is stored cool, morning milk goes in fresh.

So for the evening milk, we put it in and warm it gently up to temperature before we add our culture -the first temperature is high, above normal incubating temp. Then we add the fresh morning milk which lowers the temp down and we must then re-heat back up to a certain temperature before we add the rennet.

This is a reverse of an Alpine practice of first heating and culturing the morning milk, then adding the evening milk. We have reversed it mainly because the evening milk is stored colder in our operation than it would be in the Alps.

But the rate is not so important when we first heat the milk free of culture, just as long as you don't heat it too fast as to burn the milk. Then the second heating should be gentle.
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Offline jwalker

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2013, 08:09:35 AM »
Another option would be to use a tankless water heater such as this http://www.homedepot.ca/product/rheem-ecosense-tankless-water-heater/902393 

They come in electric or propane versions , use in a closed loop system with a small circulating pump.

Just buy one and plumb it in , simple
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Offline ArthurHighsmith

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Re: Best way to heat 60 gallon cheese vat
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2014, 11:20:48 PM »
We'll be scaling up our milking a bit this year from 15 sheep to (hopefully) upwards of 34. We have a 60 gallon double-jacketed cheese vat (actually a soup kettle in a previous life) that we had been recirculating hot water through to heat our milk. So far with the small amount of milk we've had we've been able to fill a sink with hot water and with a small circ. pump pumped it through the double jacket and back into the sink. This has been a hassle since we're constantly adding hot water to the sink to keep up with our heating curve. We also maxed out our hot water tank last year.

We'll have more milk this year so are looking for innovating & simple ideas to get hot water through the double jacket to heat the milk. Ideally something that we can "set" do have it keep the water at a certain temp while we raise the milk temp. We are also pretty close to having a full electric panel so have considered solar panel or propane as alternative energy sources.

Thanks!


Hello friend I think you are moving in right direction..Even I am trying to get full electric panel very soon and will try your way out.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 10:31:28 AM by ArthurHighsmith »