Author Topic: Vat - Soup Warmer  (Read 3037 times)

Offline Cornelius

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Vat - Soup Warmer
« on: April 17, 2009, 04:16:05 AM »
Hi,

I am new to this forum and would like to thank all for the great information made available.

I have been making cheeses for a few months, some with success others not, some soft and some pressed ... there will probably be a number of questions I have and a number of different areas, but I would like to start here as it seems to me that when the equipment set-up has been solved more energy can be spent on the actual details of making cheeses.

To not make this any longer, here is my question:

Has anyone ever used something like a soup warmer as a vat? Here is a link to a unit similar to what I looked at at a local store:

http://www.webstaurantstore.com/10-5-qt-soup-warmer-kettle-1500w/160ESW10%20%20%20%20120.html

I usually pick up 20 liters of raw goat milk and work in two batches (making one soft and one hard cheese). The unit mentioned above would allow me to do this with no hassle. What i like about it is its self contained and compact nature, yet handling 10 liters at a time. It uses a water bath, so no direct hear, but the heating element seems to be strong enough to get the contents up way beyond where cheese making temperatures would need to be. The insert is stainless steel and can be lifted out (either to slow the heating process, flash cool milk during pasteurization or simply for cleaning). I also find it fairly cost effective considering that it is plug and play.

i currently use a stock pot/sink set-up with an 8 Euro hand held immersion heater. It works, but is somewhat labor intensive and I loose a lot of heat to the frame of the double sink - I think I waste a lot of energy, also because the water bath has such a large exposed heat evaporation area ...

Any input on the product in question? Pros ... Cons ...

Many thanks in advance.





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Offline MrsKK

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2009, 07:23:04 AM »
Depending upon how variable the temperature settings are (you don't want it too hot, I would imagine), this looks like a really good solution for you.

I prefer to make my cheese in a double-boiler type situation and have to settle for a 12 quart pot inside a larger pot of water.  When I have five gallons of milk to make into cheese, I have to settle for direct heat on the stove-top, and I find it more difficult to regulate even heating of the milk and curd.

Good luck - if you purchase and use this set-up, please let us know how it goes.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2009, 08:08:36 AM »
Hello Cornelius and welcome to the forum.

Great idea, I buy soup from my employers cafeteria twice a week from the same, albeit 2 bigger machines, that they use for soup and chili and Creole/Cajun Gumbo on Fridays as lots of Louisianans here and never thought of that, duh!

The only con I can think of is concern of time to warm milk, lots of power at 1500w, but is the dial a thermostat or rheostat? ie if you set it at 50% will it go full 1500 watts up to a middle temp or will it go 750 watts power and you get whatever temp results? The ones at my cafeteria must be thermostat as otherwise, when the pot is 2/3 empty, the soup would be scalding hot or boiling.

FYI, I had a look around web and couldn't find a bigger one, but here's same size for few $'s more, doesn't say power or brand.

Hope helps, as Karen says, please let us know results if your order one!

Offline Cornelius

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2009, 09:49:12 AM »
Hi,

Thanks for your input. The thermostat/rheostat question is certainly an important consideration. As per the spec sheet of a different unit I found the following statements somewhat answer the  question as well as heating times involved:

"... thermostatically hold serving temperature." - that is a good sign I guess, because it will enable me to hold the milk at specific temperatures while ripening as well as after heating the curds (unlike a  rheostat)

The unit I found the spec sheet for is actually a Vollrath (http://www.webstaurantstore.com/specsheets/922KETTLECOOKER.pdf) and the wattage is considerably lower (650W/900W), however, as per their spec sheet they "take a container of cooked food from a chilled state (below 40.0° F [4.4° C]) through the HAACP “danger zone” to 165° F (73.9° C) in less than two hours.". That doesn't sound too bad, especially since I don't need to go as far as 165F and the milk I use is raw milk straight from the goat and still warm ... for aged cheese I simply use it that way, for soft cheeses I pasteurize it, then drop it down only to the point I need it at 85F.

My only concern is that the water bath is only 1/2 liter and I am not sure if that will result in too much of a direct heat. The stainless insert is not really submerged in water as my stock pot is in my kitchen sink. It kind of just sits in a water buffer.

I will certainly will post results if I go this way (my problem is that I am currently in Europe and the unit is more like 125Euro (something in the line of $170 - nearly double the cost of a unit in the US).

In the mean time, if anyone actually has any experiences with a soup warmer, please let me know.

Thanks.

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2009, 12:22:34 AM »
I've been using an electric chaffing dish and it works great. I sav etime heating buy filling it with hot water from the sink. Makes cutting curds and cheedaring easier too.


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Offline Cornelius

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2009, 05:11:57 AM »
Hi,

That sounds like a great idea! I will definitely try and take a look at one of those if I can. What kind of batch sizes do you make, what size hotel pan do you put in it and have you added any water circulation pump or do you use it as it comes without hot spot problems? Is it possible to get your milk up to pasteurization temperatures with this?

Thanks!

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2009, 10:06:07 PM »
A 6 inch deep pan gives me 4.5 gallons. They also have a 8 inch deep pan which I'd guess to hold about another 2 gallons. I don't have the 8 inch one though. Very stable for temperature and if you start with hot tap water your already at temperature so there's very little waiting.

One thing I like is the rectangualr pan shape will make it easier to make a curd knife. I got some stainless welding rod and stainless trolling wire - just haven't had time to make it yet. I got mine here:

http://www.kitchensupplydirect.com/370-ECFRWP.html

I'm planning on installing a drain port when I get a chance. The sides are wide open to that!

Offline archroy

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2009, 01:20:22 AM »
I just bought this Adcraft 1200W warmerhttp://www.webstaurantstore.com/adcraft-fw-1200w-electric-countertop-12-x-20-food-warmer/324WARMER.html  Also bought a 4" deep pan for it which holds 4.5 gal though there are 6" which hold 6.5 gal too.  Haven't tried it out yet but it seems like it should work well and the price was right.

-Archroy

Offline Road Rash

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 03:55:30 PM »
I just bought this Adcraft 1200W warmerhttp://www.webstaurantstore.com/adcraft-fw-1200w-electric-countertop-12-x-20-food-warmer/324WARMER.html  Also bought a 4" deep pan for it which holds 4.5 gal though there are 6" which hold 6.5 gal too.  Haven't tried it out yet but it seems like it should work well and the price was right.

-Archroy


What is the lowest temperature setting on this thing?I'm thinking about getting one,but I want to know what kind of temperature control you have with this,as some recipes call for temps of only 88-100 degrees.Does this thing go that low?

Offline pam

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 05:10:20 PM »
All this talk of chafing dishes and soup pots has got me thinking about my mom's giant electric roaster which sits on the shelf unused most of the year. Its thermostatically controlled and I can see some temperature experimentation in my near future.....
Be content with what you have - Rejoice in the way things are - When you realize there is nothing lacking - The whole world belongs to you
- Lao Tse


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Offline Road Rash

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2009, 07:56:50 PM »
Oh yeah!Now your talkin'!I never thought of using one of those!I'll have to check those out tonight when I go to the store!

Offline DeejayDebi

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Re: Vat - Soup Warmer
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 10:45:35 PM »
I can't speak for all of them but mine will stay as low as 70 and as high as 170F degrees. For the low temperatures once it hits you can almost turn it off for the rest of the cook because it's a thick heavy plastic and well insulated.