Author Topic: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish  (Read 2666 times)

Offline Cartierusm

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Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« on: December 03, 2008, 07:51:50 PM »
Ok, so I usually custom fab all my own wine making equipment, it's just easier for me to get exactly what I want. I was just about to chop into a 15.5 gallon keg, as the bottom of double boiler to hold a larger vessel of 7 gallon so I can make 5 gallon batches, when I saw another post on here with someone using a Stainless Steam Table Pan and I though dammm I'm at the restaurant supply store every other day anyway. So Picked up the full size steam pan 6" deep and a busing bucket and below is the new concoction. It will be controlled using a voltage regulator and an etc (electronic temperature control) which I used before on the smaller setup. This way I have one setup for both 2-5 gallon bathes. The benefit of the pan is larger surface area and more in the water bath keeping everything even more stable. Plus it's rectangular so when I make my wire curd cutter it will fit a lot better than a round pot. Let me know what you think and if there can be any more improvements. I was going to add a small ball valve to drain the water from the bottom but decided it wasn't necessary. I won't be able to test it until tomorrow when the silicon dries, P.S. it's high temp silicon. Plus the white risers are made out of HDPE, cutting board material, so everything is dishwasher safe.
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Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2008, 09:36:38 PM »
Very Nice.
What wattage heater did you go with?    Have a similar setup.
Yours looks a lot more professional.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2008, 03:09:11 AM »
It's just 1500 watt which is enough to heat 50 gallons, I have it on a variable transformer and only give it about 10-20% at most.

I very much hope you siliconed that end very well and still have it plugged into a GFCI. I'm new here and don't want to sound preachy but I work with electicity as part of my work and I would just hate to see you or anyone in your family hurt, but I wouldn't submerge that element. If you drill a hole in the bucket and use high temp silicon from the auto parts store you would be much safer. If you're applying full heat you might have a problem with my suggestion but if you're regulating that with a transformer or something as such you shouldn't have a problem burning the bucket.

If that's a regular water heater element it will have a thread on it, just go get at the hardware store a Pipe Thread Nut around 1 1/4 - 1 1/2". I'm not sure at the correct size but if you bring the element with you you'll find the right one. It will be with all the other galvanized pipe fittings. If it's not a regular element a 1500 watt element shouldn't be more than $8.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2008, 08:15:38 AM »
I agree with your statements about sealing and GFCI.  Both are used. 
Submerging was not me first choice, and ultimately i will screw this in like it was designed. (this is a std water heater element).

I chose this because i could quickly move this from bucket to bucket as i decide what works for me.

The only thing my design has that yours does not, is the ability to raise the vat out of the water.  I have my stockpots suspended into the waterbath by a system of ropes connected to a block-tackle system.  This lets me pull the milk/whey/cheese out of the water bath when the i achieve the desired temp.

What I am struggling with is size.  I would like to make a 5Kg wheel cheese (gouda or cheddar or swiss) once a month.  That means I need to start with about 12 gallons of milk. 
So i am still tring to figure out the best containers for the job. 
I have been looking a 80qt SS stockpot
 that would be suspended inside a std utility sink.

If I ever bump my equipment up to the next level, it will be something like that.  In that case, i will be threading the heating elements through the side of the utility sink.  I will also control the waterbath temp with a thermostat circuit.   

One thing that i have noticed is that in order to get consistancy, I really had to take detailed notes on temperature rates of change.  Every batch of cheese i make, i take temperature readings ever 5 min or so.  Both the water bath and the milk temps.  This detailed information has let me control thermal transfer to the milk in a relatively predictable format.
So, for example,  I know for a fact that with my setup, i can take 4 gallons of milk from 48 deg F to 86 deg F in 43 min. 

I know that I can take my whey from 86 to 102 in 30min if I turn the heater on for 12 min then off for 10, then back on for 8.

I am thinking, however, that when i do raise my batch size from 4 to 12 gallons,  i may go with 2 or 3 heating elements.


Sorry to ramble.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2008, 11:55:56 AM »
No need to apologize for ramblin' this helps us all in people actual process as opposed to some text book example that helps no one.

For your larger batches I have a suggestion becasue that pot is really expensive. If you have access to tools, a 3" wheel cutter, you could just buy a used keg. If you PM me I'll give you some ideas on how to get one cheap. Where do you live, I notice you make wine, me too, and you use california grapes, if your close I'll fab one for you.
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Offline Tea

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2008, 02:49:53 PM »
Oh drool.  Boy, are you pair going to keep us on our toes.  I have to say your setups sound fantastic.

Wayne, just had a look at the pot and sink you linked.  Not sure if they're the exact ones that you are looking at buying, but thought I would point out that the pot is 21" while the sink is only 20".

Anyway really enjoying listening and learning from you two.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2008, 06:44:22 PM »
Tracey,
Good call,  but while the pot was a bit more serious, the utility tub was a completely generic example.

I think that in all, before i invest in these items, i am going to work more on my post-pressing processes.
That is, I need my cave area better organized.  I need a clean place to wash my rinds, and a clean place to brine my gouda's and Parmesans.

I just don't have that part quite nailed down. 
I am redoing a room in my basement and may make the whole room a cheese cave/wine cellar type place.  The humiditys don't match, but the temp is pretty close. 

So, we shall see. 


Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2008, 01:04:56 PM »
Update I'm still doing just water tests to dial in my temp control. I noticed all the water around the heating element was cold, I guess opposites attract even in temperature, anyway, I noticed the wide variances in tempature in the water which would lead to uneven heating of the milk pan. The whole point of the water bath is to evenly raise the temp. So I added a small submersible fountain pump. This did the trick, no more hot or cold pockets. Plus I know it's heating evenly and can really dial in the temp control now that averaging comes into play.

The only problem I see is becasue of the fountain pump is give the milk a very slight motion, just a slight wiggle. THis might be a problem, but then again the milk shakes as I walk by anyway. Please any suggestion if this slight motion might be a problem. I will post a video of the motion.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2008, 01:18:58 PM »
I take that back it's really not moving much. It was only because I was walking up to it and that would make it shake ever so slightly. If I don't move it hardly moves at all. The only slight shake I see is not very noticeable and is probably the convection of a liquid being heated up.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2008, 01:52:33 PM »
I had same problem.  But used a decidedly low-lech solution.

I stirred.
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2008, 04:40:38 PM »
Yeah but physical labor is the pits...LOL
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Offline Micah

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Re: Vat - Carter's Temp Controlled Chaffing Dish
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2009, 08:35:20 AM »
How deep is that bus box?  Is this the PVI "Lug Tub" (8 3/4" deep)?  I've been trying to find this tub locally but none of the restaurant supply stores carry it.

http://www.pviramps.com/prods/33/Gray%20Lug%20Tub%20and%20Lid.pdf

I've also seen a similar 12" deep tub by Channel Mfg but it is quite expensive.