Author Topic: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping  (Read 15946 times)

Offline Sue (aka Leah's Mom)

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #30 on: October 03, 2011, 07:53:48 AM »
I saw these and thought that someone may be interested.  Some folks I know are using for cheesemaking.  I don't have one but I'm thinking about it for the future. 

As I understand, it is large enough to put a 5 gal. stainless steel soup pot (which I use for cheesemaking) into the waterbath.   (Possibly larger depending on the measurement of the pot you use.)   The pot can be set onto a "double boiler maker" that is placed into the bottom of the waterbath for stability.    Interior is 14-1/4" in dia. by 11-3/4" high (7.93 gal capacity).   

It has a thermostat that ranges from 85 F. - Boiling.  I'm pretty interested...



http://www.kitchenkrafts.com/product.asp?pn=FP0857&utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=googlebase&sid=GoogleProdAd&tid=CSE&cvsfa=2792&cvsfe=2&cvsfhu=465030383537&gclid=CKyCmtrEzKsCFULBKgodRlex1g

Double Boiler maker:
http://www.amazon.com/Fox-Run-Double-Boiler-Maker/dp/B00024WP66
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 08:15:05 AM by Sue (aka Leah's Mom) »


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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2011, 08:15:47 AM »
I just made a new cheese vat, as the electric roaster I was using met an unfortunate demise. I got a six inch deep full steam table pan with lid. It holds five gallons quite comfortably. I got a larger plastic bin, from the same restaurant supply, and fitted it with a 1500 watt 120 volt hot water heater element. Ran it for the first time last Sunday, with water in the vat to see what it would do. It raised the temperature of the water in the vat exactly one degree every minute. I made a butterkase on Monday evening: brought it up to temperature and turned off the heater. It held the temperature for 40 minutes of ripening, then 45 minutes of renneting, without dropping a degree. I like the rectangle shape for cutting the curd, and the spoon notch in the lid is perfect for my thermometer. I'll add a drain port, and eventually a controller; but this worked pretty well. Thanks Wayne for the water heater element idea!
Dave in CT

Offline Susan

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #32 on: October 04, 2011, 07:34:20 PM »
Can you elaborate on the water heater element?  When I google it I just find info to replace the element in the house hot water heater. 
Susan

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #33 on: October 05, 2011, 08:12:20 AM »
Yes, that's right, that's what I used. I used a hole saw to cut a 1-3/8" hole in the side of the plastic bin, which was a nice snug fit for the heating element. I screwed it in (it was that snug) and tightened down a threaded coupling on the inside until the gasket was tight. I hooked a cord to the element and plugged/unplugged, but Saturday I'll hook it up to a switch. I may enclose the whole thing in a nice insulated wooden box.
Dave in CT

Offline Susan

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #34 on: October 06, 2011, 06:10:05 AM »
I hooked a cord to the element and plugged/unplugged, but Saturday I'll hook it up to a switch.

This is what didn't make sense to me.  I presume this part requires some electrical knowledge? 
Susan


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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #35 on: October 06, 2011, 12:55:42 PM »
Some electrical knowledge, but not a lot. See the two screws in the picture? One wire from the cord goes to one, and the other to the other. You want to enclose this in a box so the connection is not exposed. Your local hardware store will have boxes for this, which can also house the switch. I got a 30 minute timed switch with an override to keep it on when I want, from McMaster-Carr, part number 7014K56 at www.mcmaster.com.
The skill level for this is about the same as hooking up a light switch, so if you're not comfortable doing it yourself you can most likely get a handy friend to do it for cheese.
I'll try to take some photos this weekend when I hook everything up for permanent use. I think I may enclose the whole bin a wooden cabinet with insulation, mostly for looks.
Check out this thread for a great cheese vat using hot water heaters by Wayne Harris. It was my inspiration for making my little vat: http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,847.msg12607.html#msg12607
Dave in CT

Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #36 on: October 06, 2011, 04:37:59 PM »
Susan, this is not that much different than the 70 gallon tank that I use to heat my big pot. HOWEVER, some elements are 110v and some are 220v. There's a big difference in the skill level needed to wire them. The 110v is really easy and can plug into any normal outlet. A 220v (like a stove or dryer) is more complicated and requires special wiring and outlets. The 220v simply has a lot more power and will heat faster. Overkill on a small setup.
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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #37 on: October 06, 2011, 07:28:41 PM »
Yes, I used a 120 volt 1500 watt element, which is rather small by water heater standards, but I have other appliances on the same circuit so I didn't go more powerful. As it turns out, 1500 watts is quite sufficient for the purpose. One degree per minute is easy to control, particularly when scalding the curd. The element I used was Model 15896  from Home Depot, $9.67. I think my plastic bin holds a couple of gallons surrounding the steam table pan, which comfortably holds five gallons. If I fill the bin with hot water from the tap, it heats the cold milk quite quickly. When I made the butterkase a week ago Monday, the five gallon bucket of milk I used was pretty much still frozen, and it thawed it within an hour. I'll eventually hook this up to a Johnson controller or a PID for holding a constant temperature for longer periods of time, for making mother cultures, yogurt, and quark.
Dave in CT

Offline ellenspn

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #38 on: October 07, 2011, 09:19:36 AM »
Dave, do you have a photo of your set up?  I'm not visioning the water vat you have.
Ellen Bloomfield
Spinning, weaving, geocaching, dog training and now cheesemaking in the Swamps of NE Illinois.

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #39 on: October 07, 2011, 03:39:56 PM »
I'll borrow a camera this weekend and take some pictures of the whole set up. I'll try to post them by Sunday.
Dave in CT


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Offline dthelmers

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #40 on: October 10, 2011, 10:56:01 AM »
Here are some photos of the vat I built. The plastic bin and deep steam table tray are both from a local restaurant supply outlet. The timed switch with override is from McMaster-Carr, the water heater element and appliance cord are from Home Depot. I built the wooden box from 1x10 #2 common pine. My cost so far is under $100. I want to add a lid for the water bath that will hold the pan in place, and add a drain to the underside of the water bath.
Dave in CT

Offline ellenspn

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #41 on: October 10, 2011, 12:08:59 PM »
Okay, now I recognize the plastic bin. And a full pan nicely fits in there. Now it makes sense that you actually mount the bucket heater and not just plop it in there.
Ellen Bloomfield
Spinning, weaving, geocaching, dog training and now cheesemaking in the Swamps of NE Illinois.

Offline Susan

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2011, 06:09:19 PM »
I get it.  It SOUNDS simple.  But I still don't have the confidence.  For now I will keep doing it the hard way.  Sigh.  Someday I'll talk it up with someone electrically inclined.
Susan

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2011, 08:52:51 PM »
My last version was an electric roaster I got from Goodwill, and it worked pretty well for an awful lot of cheeses. I like this setup because of the more sensitive temperature control, but just keep going with what you have and keep improving as you can: the longer you make cheese, the more you'll realize what you want and need.
Dave in CT

Offline Susan

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Re: Digital Cheese Vat with 5 gallon capacity $140 including shipping
« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2011, 06:16:40 AM »
I'm interested in making bigger batches.  And I have the pots now to do it.  (a 100 quart aluminum for outside double boiler, and a 60 quart stainless for milk).  The challenge will be heating the water and controlling the temp.  That element looks like a possibility.  But always looking for a better way...
Susan