Author Topic: Supplies and Ideas for a tiny creamery  (Read 1519 times)

Offline mrawlins

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Supplies and Ideas for a tiny creamery
« on: March 14, 2012, 10:01:12 PM »
The local foods co-op in our area has a surplus of milk, and people asking for yogurt and cheese.  We're just getting started talking with the Washington State Department of Agriculture on a milk processing license.  Our initial thought is to start with fresh cheeses (yogurt, feta, mozzarella).

I'd like to piece together a vat along the lines of what Sailor has here (http://cheeseforum.org/forum/index.php/topic,4661.msg36877.html#msg36877), but probably with a smaller capacity.  I'm wondering where the UL listed tank came from; that's the one piece I'm having a hard time finding.  The heating elements, temperature controller, etc. seem to be pretty straightforward.

We're looking to start with 5 to 10 gallon batches, with 2-4 batches a week.  We'll probably have to expand into something larger, so I'll probably get the vat build for closer to 25 gallons. 

I've searched the forums for other ideas in getting started with commercial cheese, but any other wisdom people have would probably be very helpful.

Thanks!
-Mitch


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Offline linuxboy

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Re: Supplies and Ideas for a tiny creamery
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2012, 10:25:19 PM »
By UL listed tank, do you mean a cattle water tub? And by UL, do you mean Sailor writing UL on a piece of paper and underneath writing "my awesome gear". Because I'm pretty sure that's how it went down.

IMHO, buy a surplus tilting soup vat with integrated elements, or heat it with hot water instead of steam. They're $500 or so surplus, and make a fine, fine vat.

Where in WA?
Taking an extended leave (until 2015) from the forums to build out my farm and dairy. Please e-mail or PM if you need anything.

Offline steffb503

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Re: Supplies and Ideas for a tiny creamery
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2012, 05:36:02 AM »
If your cheese is fresh it most likely will need to be pasteurized, not sure of your state regulations. In that case your vat will need different requirements than Sailor's. I believe you need a chart recorder and an airspace heater and indicating thermometers.
Check with your state before you buy anything.

Offline mrawlins

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Re: Supplies and Ideas for a tiny creamery
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2012, 09:27:41 AM »
First, thanks for the ideas!
By UL listed tank, do you mean a cattle water tub? And by UL, do you mean Sailor writing UL on a piece of paper and underneath writing "my awesome gear". Because I'm pretty sure that's how it went down.
I can believe this.
Quote
IMHO, buy a surplus tilting soup vat with integrated elements, or heat it with hot water instead of steam. They're $500 or so surplus, and make a fine, fine vat.
This would make a really nice vat. I haven't seen any 10-25 gallon kettles in the $500 range - more like $1500.  I'm probably looking in the wrong places.  The integrated elements would probably work better for us than hot water, but I'm a lot more comfortable with electrical than plumbing.
Quote
Where in WA?
We'll be setting it up in the Richland/Kennewick area.

If your cheese is fresh it most likely will need to be pasteurized, not sure of your state regulations. In that case your vat will need different requirements than Sailor's. I believe you need a chart recorder and an airspace heater and indicating thermometers.
The dairy we're currently working with is pasteurizing on the farm, then sending it to us.  We're still hammering out how strict the requirements are for pasteurizing at the processing site.
Quote
Check with your state before you buy anything.
Absolutely!  A friend has worked with this same ag inspector before, and she recommends bringing 2-3 ideas to the table for anything tricky.  Examples of how others have done it apparently also go a long way.

Offline tinysar

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Re: Supplies and Ideas for a tiny creamery
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2012, 09:45:44 PM »
The local foods co-op in our area has a surplus of milk, and people asking for yogurt and cheese.  We're just getting started talking with the Washington State Department of Agriculture on a milk processing license.  Our initial thought is to start with fresh cheeses (yogurt, feta, mozzarella).

That's a great idea! I am part of a small food co-op me & some mates set up, distributing fresh fruit & veges. The transport & other incidental costs are shared between everyone & we still get our produce at less than half shop-prices. I don't know why I never though of doing this with cheese. I had been vaguely thinking of setting up a small commercial operation down the line somewhere, but a co-op would be so much better! I could get help with the set-up costs, and perhaps even avoid inspector types as nothing is actually being sold, just shared amongst my friends. Hmmm...

Anyway, sorry to hijack - bets of luck with your endeavour!


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Offline Sailor Con Queso

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Re: Supplies and Ideas for a tiny creamery
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2012, 09:55:24 PM »
Something to consider from my personal experience. I use milk that is pasteurized on the farm to make aged cheeses. HOWEVER, my inspector and our Milk Safety Board requires pasteurizing ON SITE for fresh cheeses. Yes, even though my milk is already pasteurized, I would have to re-pasteurize if I wanted to make fresh cheeses,
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Offline mrawlins

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Re: Supplies and Ideas for a tiny creamery
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2012, 09:53:02 PM »
Sailor, I've read that, and thought it would probably apply, but hoped maybe we could get around it.  I was surprised that everything I'd seen on the Ag Department's websites and instructions was ambiguous about pasteurization.

Then I found this in state law:
RCW 15.36.261
Butter or cheese — Pasteurization of milk or cream.
   
All milk or cream used in the manufacture of pasteurized butter or cheese shall be pasteurized only in the plant where the butter or cheese is manufactured.

Moral of the story:  don't just read the regulator's websites, check out the actual laws.

So, yep, you're exactly right; we pasteurize it ourselves or age it.  I've done a little better with aged cheeses than mozz, so that may be good for us anyway.