Author Topic: Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?  (Read 1103 times)

Offline paulusanglada

  • New Cheese
  • *
  • Location: McConnells, SC
  • Posts: 2
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?
« on: May 29, 2013, 02:21:02 PM »
Long time reader, first time posting. Love this forum BTW.

So here's my story and idea:

My wife loves to make cheese. We have a deal with a dairy farmer in our area. He uses our pasture, and we get free milk. Better than milking twice a day everyday. :)

Anyway... she gets 8 gallons twice a week, and makes 2 blocks of cheese. Usually Mozzarella. Sometimes an Italian Recipe she leaned with her grandmother. But it's too time consuming. She does everything on the stove top. And it never seems to be enough for the week. :) :)

I'm trying to find a way to help her make more cheese, and only spend 1 morning/week doing it. Since we have two babies, and a lot to do on our small farm.

We looked at used VATS all over, but they're tooo expensive.

So here's what I came up with:

I'll use a 35 gallon stainless steel drum ($175), with heating bands like these (I got a pair used for $250):

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200577801_200577801?cm_mmc=Google-pla-_-Material%20Handling-_-Bucket%2C%20Drum%20%2B%20Tote%20Heaters-_-27634&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=27634&gclid=CJzh0PT-u7cCFSRk7AodIVUAXg

My plan is to put the barrel on a mount, and add a valve in the bottom to get rid of the whey. I'll put a stainless steel pipe inside from the valve to the top of the drum, so the whey can flow down to the valve.

I'll use a PID ($30) to control the heating, and also a small motor with a mixer (already had it) attached to the lid going down the drum to move the milk around. We'll probably cut the curds manually to start.

Am I missing something? What' do you guys and gals think? Feel free to call me dumb and/or stupid. :)


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,625
  • Cheeses: 71
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2013, 06:44:17 PM »
Check out Mike Richard's thread about converting a SS sink into a cheese vat.  He's already done a lot of the figuring out and is super helpful.  Not sure where his thread is but you've likely seen it or can find it.  And how are you going through 8 gallons worth of cheese a week?  Or did I misunderstand?   ???

-Kathrin

Offline Smurfmacaw

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: San Diego
  • Posts: 229
  • Cheeses: 25
  • Default personal text
Re: Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 07:42:05 PM »
I read it as 8 gallons twice per week!  Must have the worlds fastest metabolism!  I wish I could get raw milk for a reasonable price....I'm jealous.

Offline jwalker

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Creston BC Canada
  • Posts: 648
  • Cheeses: 66
  • I thought I was indecisive , now I'm not so sure!
Re: Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2013, 07:14:17 AM »
I think it would work OK.

I would consider cutting the drum in half and making two , wouldn't the drum be quite deep for cutting curd and stirring/handling?

How much were you planning to process per batch , wouldn't those heating bands would take a long time to heat up 30 gals cold milk , at 1200 watts per band.?

Where did you find a stainless drum , I would be interested in one myself.

Interesting idea , check this out too.    http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,11057.0.html

Cheers , Jim.
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline paulusanglada

  • New Cheese
  • *
  • Location: McConnells, SC
  • Posts: 2
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Re: Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2013, 07:53:48 AM »
Thanks, Tiarella and jwalker. I'm at work. But I'll take a good look at Richard's setup when I get home.

We get 16 gallons of milk a week. We usually use 12 to make cheese (which makes 2 blocks of 1/2 a gallon). The other 4 we drink.  :o Yep. I know. 4 gallons. I have 2 calves... I mean... babies at home. And we usually give at least 1 cheese block every other week to family and friends.

Yeah Smurfmacaw, milk is pretty cheap around here. Most dairies sell wholesale for less than 50 cents a gallon.

I got my drum at ebay, but yesterday I found this: Cheaper than what I paid on ebay, and the shipping would be a looot cheaper.
http://www.bubbasbarrels.com/

I'm planning to do around 20 gallons per batch. If the bands don't heat as fast as I want, I can always try something like this:
http://www.bubbasbarrels.com/55-gallon-single-burner-stand-pre-order


Guests, join the CheeseForum.org community to remove this ad.


Offline BobE102330

  • Mature Cheese
  • ****
  • Location: Upstate New York
  • Posts: 403
  • Cheeses: 19
  • chilihead/cheesehead
Re: Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2013, 08:07:56 AM »
When I was growing up with two brothers 4 gallons wouldn't last a weekend.  It was close to a gallon a day each.  Poor Mom :D

Offline terry@dairy fab

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Malone, Wisconsin
  • Posts: 29
  • Cheeses: 2
    • Dairy Fab LLC
Re: Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 01:33:33 PM »
The large enclosed vats used in industrial cheese plants use the same concept, just on a much larger scale. The ones I worked with were any where from 10,000 lbs to 80,000 lbs capacity such as the one pictured.

Offline Tiarella

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Chester, MA, US
  • Posts: 1,625
  • Cheeses: 71
  • Default personal text
    • Farm Blog
Re: Stainless Steel Drum as VAT?
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 02:06:04 PM »
When I was growing up with two brothers 4 gallons wouldn't last a weekend.  It was close to a gallon a day each.  Poor Mom :D

I drank a gallon of raw Jersey milk every day as a teen.  I did the calculations once and figured I might be getting my quota of needed protein from the milk alone and the rest of my diet was extra.  I was getting lots of physical work out and was a skinny string bean.