I've been pasteurizing my goats milk for cheddar for a couple of weeks now. Spending $4. for ice every time I pasteurize 2 gallon batches. After reading up on it a little, (internet) I see some people taking up to 40 minutes to chill their milk in ice baths, mine chills down in just a few minutes. But I can't get it below 60 degrees and usually end up sticking it in the fridge to finish the chill down, in 2 quart jars.
So I was wondering if I couldn't forgo the ice bath and put it right into the fridge? Or are there any other shortcuts out there?
Or am I stuck with buying bags of ice, we live in TX and its pretty hot these days.
I don't pasteurize milk in giant batches, although I do at times have to scald milk for recipes, but to save on ice, I might actually use the ice blocks I have for lunch boxes and coolers from the freezer in a water bath. Put the milk into smaller containers to increase the overall surface area, then place in a vat, bowl, or other container with edges high enough for most of the milk jars to be underwater (without getting water into the jars), place cold tap water in the container to start the chilling process, and then put in ice blocks from the freezer, and change them out as needed. Ice blocks freeze overnight in the freezer again, and most people have access to a freezer. Of course, this method uses up energy, too, but it's a reusable resource, and the freezer doesn't have to work as hard during night time.
If your fridge or freezer has the space to make blocks of ice, or has an ice maker, I'd suggest keeping a rotation going, where you make ice for "everything" to cope with the heat. I'm drinking all my beverages, including morning coffee "on ice", and keep putting blocks of ice into my cats' water bowls. If I had a big enough freezer to make 40+ bucketfuls of ice blocks, I'd offer all the horses at work some "carrot-sicles" to help them get through the hot time of day.
that's a good idea, thanks so much!
another pasteurization question; if I am going to make a hard cheese, after I bring the milk up to 145 for 30 minutes, can't I just cool the milk to the temp I need to add my starter? Or does it need to be chilled down to 40 degrees to finish the pasteurization process?
I don't make hard cheeses (yet), so I am not 100% on this, but I'd look at the instructions on the rennet/culture packet. If it is supposed to be added at say 110F, then I wouldn't worry about bringing the temperature down first, otherwise, I'd let it come down to "room temperature" in the 70's.
You should check the temperatures for your starters. I'm assuming you're using either mesophilic or thermophilic starters, and both types have a optimal "window" of temperatures: too cold, and they won't do their job adequately before adding the rennet; too hot, and they may be killed by the temperature. If you're pasteurizing at 145 and want to make your cheese right away, you might need to rig up an ice bath of sorts: ice in a sink large enough to hold your milk pot, etc.