Author Topic: Project Cheese Vat  (Read 296 times)

Offline FooKayaks2

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Project Cheese Vat
« on: October 11, 2017, 04:26:52 AM »
Hi everyone

I wanted to share how I have set up a 60L jacketed beer kettle for cheesemaking. I have read lots of forum posts and post where people asked how to do this and others made suggestions, but never a post where someone took the time to explain their solution. I wanted to share my experience so someone else in the future has a starting point. I have described each of the problems I have come across and how I have solved them. Please note how things are set up now is essentially my proof of concept and I will improve things and set things up in a more permanent solution when I can.

The kettle has a drain valve in the bottom that has a 3-way T piece. The drain pipe is ¾” pipe with 2 ¾” BSP threads, and 1 sanitary dairy connection. I have temporarily caped 2 of these. On the third I have installed a 2-inch tri clover valve. My plan is to have this pipe cut back and a tri clover fitting to be welded on the pipe to fit the drain valve to.

To block the drain in the kettle to prevent milk entering the drain valve I have an 18-32mm high temperature silicon bung that I have inserted as a stopper. I have test stirred and hit this and it is very secure.

As I need to make cheese in the kitchen currently, I need to be able to move the cheese vat into the house and back into the garage for storage. I have placed the cheese vat on a trolley. (purchased from a large chain hardware store).

To heat the Vat I have set up a semi closed loop system. I have made a small open buffer tank using 100mm storm water pipe with a cap on the bottom and a tank outlet with a 3-way valve fitted. This buffer tank feeds directly into a mag drive pump which is capable of pumping up to 19lpm at 120-degree C depending on head pressure. The pump is a Keg King Mk11 brewing pump. ( An Australian home brewing supply shop).

The pump feeds water into a vertically orientated RIMS heating tube with a 1800W water heating element with a temperature probe on the top. From the RIMS tube water is pumped into the bottom of the kettle through the kettle and returns to the top of the break tank. I choose an 1800w element as I didn’t want to overload the house circuit and pull down too many Amps. I believe I could probably get away with a 2000 or 2200w element.

The jacket and loop is approximately 23-25litres depending on how full the buffer tank is.

The output of the element is controller by a PID controller hooked up to the temperature probe on the outlet. I am using an Auber Easyboil premade controller. I can operate this in two modes, I allows me to control the output of the element by setting a percentage output. The other allows me to set a temperature I want the water loop to be maintained at and the controller will control to that set point.

Heating rates – I have only completed around a day of testing with water in the vat, however I am able to achieve heating rates of 1 degree Celsius per 4 minutes with a wide-open flow on the pump. If I throttle the flow on the pump I can achieve 1 degree per 3 minutes. I don’t believe I can achieve much faster rates without having a larger heating element. However, I believe I can cheat and ramp the flow rates by adding hot water to the buffer tank to achieve a quicker rate for high temperature cooked cheeses such as parmesan.

Flow direction.
I did test pumping from the top down, however the jacket doesn’t fill completely and I had poor and unpredictable heating rates.


Things that I will upgrade now that I have the vat working overtime.
•   Have the drain valve set up change dot have one outlet with a Tri Clover sanitary fitting installed. This will happen in the next few months
•   Have a Tri Clover ferrule installed on the top inlet pipe to make a more sanitary closure of the current opening.
•   Run some cable ducting for power and temperature cables,
•   Break tank to stainless steel
•   Hosing on connections to be high temperature rated- probably washing machine hose.
•   Insulate pipes to reduce heat losses
•   When we move house and I can set up a dedicated cheese making space I will upgrade pipe work too hard plumbed stainless
•   Install a second RIMs tube and element plugged into different house circuit or have a dedicated higher amperage circuit installed in my cheese making space so I can run a larger element.
•   Investigate setting up s CIP spray ball system in the vat using the top inlet pipe as an opening

here are some pictures, I may have resized the images too much. Apologies if i have

Any questions please ask

Mathew



Offline awakephd

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Re: Project Cheese Vat
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 11:42:56 AM »
Great write up! I look forward to seeing the continuing testing, refinement, and especially cheese-making results! Let me be the first to give AC4U!
-- Andy

Offline Ten

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Re: Project Cheese Vat
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 10:32:35 AM »
What a great automated setup. Very inspirational. I look forward to seeing your progress as well. Thank you for sharing. I am too new to know how to give cheeses but if I did know how I would give you one!

Offline Cheese Kettle Pty Ltd

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Re: Project Cheese Vat
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2017, 05:06:40 PM »
Hi Mathew,

Your new setup sounds great (thanks for detailed description). Saying this I do have difficulties with viewing attached pictures.
Could you post those once again, please?

As is couple of months since the original post, have you made any cheeses in your setup?

All the best
Lukasz
Customised Dairy Equipment - cheese vats, presses, milk cooling and storage, drainage tables and much more
www.cheesekettle.com.au

Offline FooKayaks2

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Re: Project Cheese Vat
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2017, 09:00:03 PM »
Hi Lukasz

The forum is having some difficulties displaying photos at the moment, I believe John is havingnit sorted, I imagine that it may take a few days as it started occurring just before Christmas.

I have managed to make 2 cheeses so far in the Vat, feta and haloumi. The set up has worked pretty well so far, I need to work on what temperature to have the jacket water at to reduce heating times.

I also need to change the drain, which I will do in the new year, I just need to find someone who can weld stainless near me to do this. I have thought about using the B-Press piping system from work to attach a threaded fitting but I am hesitant as I believe it could cause some sanitation issues.

The last couple of months have been pretty busy with a young child but I expect I will have more time in the new year to make cheese on weekends. The last few months I have been making lactic set cheeses in small quantities as I have found I can easily do this around work and Dad duties. I do need to work out a way of purchasing bulk quantities of milk In Melbourne that I am able to pick up on weekends.

I am hoping to make some semi hard and hard alpine style cheeses in the new year in the new vat.

Mathew.

Ps Lukasz I can send you pictures directly if you like, as you have just made me a cheese harp

Offline Cheese Kettle Pty Ltd

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Re: Project Cheese Vat
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2017, 11:07:21 PM »
Hi Mathew,

He he it’s a small world indeed :)

Yes, please email me your current setup.

B-press it’s not the first choice coming to my mind. Saying this it’s all depends on setup and CIP procedures.

Not being able to see setup it’s hard to advice but have you thought of using larger diameter milk hoses and s/s clamps?

All the best
Lukasz

Ps. Dad duties are not easy but well worth the effort in the log run. At least this is what I am telling myself each day!
Customised Dairy Equipment - cheese vats, presses, milk cooling and storage, drainage tables and much more
www.cheesekettle.com.au

Offline Cheese Kettle Pty Ltd

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Re: Project Cheese Vat
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2017, 03:05:45 PM »
Hi Mathew,

Thanks for the pictures.
Quote
Things that I will upgrade now that I have the vat working overtime.
1 Have the drain valve set up change dot have one outlet with a Tri Clover sanitary fitting installed. This will happen in the next few months
2 Have a Tri Clover ferrule installed on the top inlet pipe to make a more sanitary closure of the current opening.
3 Run some cable ducting for power and temperature cables,
4  Break tank to stainless steel
5 Hosing on connections to be high temperature rated- probably washing machine hose.
6 Insulate pipes to reduce heat losses
7 When we move house and I can set up a dedicated cheese making space I will upgrade pipe work too hard plumbed stainless
8  Install a second RIMs tube and element plugged into different house circuit or have a dedicated higher amperage circuit installed in my cheese making space so I can run a larger element.
9 Investigate setting up s CIP spray ball system in the vat using the top inlet pipe as an opening


here are my comments:
1.   Cut off the T peace leaving around 60mm of the 90deg angle. Use flexible hose to connect with tri clover end which than may be easily connected with butterfly valve. Welding with no head clearing (between 90deg starting point of a T peace and bottom of the tank require time and skills) simply saying will be costly.
2.   Good idea, please remember of pressure release valve for your own safety. You can find one in any plumbing supply shop for $50? Traveling across AU/NZ (and overseas) I seen to many accidents due to missing pressure release valves.
3.   Ducting is hard to clean. Mould tends to collect in groving. Try electric tape – the same outcome and way easier to clean. At the end of the day is not commercial setup.
4.   Yep, worth doing in a long run. Current piping will deform with time due to hot water.
5.   You can get hot water hoses cut to size. Price vary between $9 to $40 per meter.
6.   No insulation will be required with #5 hoses used.
7.   Very good idea, last lifetime and is always food
8.   Power point are connected in series. Most domestic power cables in Australia are rated up to 20amp. Therefor your only option is to connect to a different circuit breaker.
9.   Good idea but is it worth it in your setup? To clean 200ltr tank after cheddar making was taking me less than 10min (yes it was spot clean).

Good luck
Lukasz
Customised Dairy Equipment - cheese vats, presses, milk cooling and storage, drainage tables and much more
www.cheesekettle.com.au