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Cheese and my Crock Pot


pax
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....really late to the party?

DUH. Putting a dimmer switch on my crock pot means I can hold a gallon of milk between 88-91 degrees for HOURS, flawlessly.

I am doing the happy homegrown organic fresh sheep's milk mozzerella out of my crock pot cheese dance, can you see me?

gallery_52796_6422_96.jpg

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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....really late to the party?

DUH. Putting a dimmer switch on my crock pot means I can hold a gallon of milk between 88-91 degrees for HOURS, flawlessly.

I am doing the happy homegrown organic fresh sheep's milk mozzerella out of my crock pot cheese dance, can you see me?

gallery_52796_6422_96.jpg

Hmm....I wonder if it would hold tempered chocolate the same way?

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....really late to the party?

DUH. Putting a dimmer switch on my crock pot means I can hold a gallon of milk between 88-91 degrees for HOURS, flawlessly.

I am doing the happy homegrown organic fresh sheep's milk mozzerella out of my crock pot cheese dance, can you see me?

gallery_52796_6422_96.jpg

Nice idea, but do check the wattage!!!

Most lamp dimmers don't handle much wattage (power).

Most heater elements are higher wattage than most domestic lighting setups.

If you hook up a high wattage heater to a low-rated dimmer, you'll melt something in the dimmer -- or MUCH worse. And its mains electricity.

Play safely - check the wattages first!

ADDED -- All that said, crockpots ("slow cookers" in England) would have about the lowest wattage heater in the house (apart from the seed tray warmer!)

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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My husband has a degree in electrical engineering. I told him what I wanted and he fixed it up for me. My experience is he's pretty good at keeping me from burning the house down, but I very much appreciate your efforts, too. Thanks!

*knocks on wood*

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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....really late to the party?

DUH. Putting a dimmer switch on my crock pot means I can hold a gallon of milk between 88-91 degrees for HOURS, flawlessly.

I am doing the happy homegrown organic fresh sheep's milk mozzerella out of my crock pot cheese dance, can you see me?

gallery_52796_6422_96.jpg

i making cheese this weekend...it sounds great and easier...can you tell me how you do it?

thanks much...my first attempt was awful

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My husband has a degree in electrical engineering. I told him what I wanted and he fixed it up for me. My experience is he's pretty good at keeping me from burning the house down, but I very much appreciate your efforts, too. Thanks!

*knocks on wood*

Glad to hear it, but my comments about taking care to make sure that the dimmer was able to handle the wattage of the heater were intended to be addressed to anyone that might follow your advice, but without the benefit of having a Graduate-level Electrical Engineer around the house! :cool:

And, then ...

I've made a couple of these, they do work well. Found this online guide, it's a very well written and illustrated guide to building your own unit.

Edited to add: You can only use these with basic slow cookers, none of the smart-pot type cookers.

Actually, I'm not so sure that one of the illustrations is correct, and have mailed the author.

The wiring diagram (at the time of writing) shows the red (live) wire going direct to the outlet socket.

Not through the switch.

That would make the socket live, even when the dimmer switch was "off".

Not ideal.

Better to swap over the red and black in that wiring diagram.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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so how DO you make mozzarella in a crock pot??? I have a friend who is lactose intolerant, but can hnadle small amounts of goat & sheep milk, so being able to make a mozzarella for her would be lovely.

Note that I have made both firm & soft cheeses in the past but never Mozz.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I'm sorry for the delay. My satellite internet is giving me conniptions the last couple of days.

I pulled the idea out of a January's Gourmet issue. It can be had on line as well, which is good because the paper version left out the amounts of rennet and citric acid.

I tried first with just the crock pot, but I could not get the temp to hold, and with the crock as opposed to a nice thin stainless, lifting it out of the crock pot holder didn't help it cool fast enough. Then I tried it on a heating pad, and couldn't get the temp high enough. I did have to heat the milk on the stove to as close to 80-ish as I could get it, and then transfer it. The lowered output crock is not enough to heat it to the right temp, only good enough to hold it. I used an oven thermometer, one of those you stick in a roast? and then the read out is outside the stove? to measure the temp, making sure I dangled it from overhead so it wasn't touching the crock sides.

One issue with this thermometer...it does not alarm on the down curve...that is, it let's me know if the thing is getting hot, but NOT if it's getting too cold. You really need to watch it. FWIW, I am using a cheap o Rival crockpot. It has a warm, low, and high setting. I use this set up with the crock pot on "warm", the dimmer switch set at half way.

I didn't think this thing my husband handed to me so nonchalantly was a big deal. It's a dining room dimmer switch on a lead I can plug the cord into. I don't think it's something he actually needed his degree to work out. He's got stuff like this every place. He's Professor Flubber. I never imagined having to worry about burning the house down over plugging in a dimmer since pretty much an idiot can install one in their dining room without a degree, so I'm really not so sure why Dougal is so crabby with me about that part. :sad:

Now, I did not make sheep's milk cheese. I made cow's milk cheese, because my sheep aren't in milk at the moment and won't be until they lamb in April, I was just so excited to be trying it, I did it with the cow's milk on hand. Come April, though, I can't WAIT!

I am going to do it again on Monday if I can so I will take a lot of pictures and put them up on my site and link you to them.

ETA: It took me a while but I rediscovered the Gourmet link. I am really hating this Wild Blue set up. http://www.gourmet.com/food/2009/01/the-re...resh-mozzarella

Or http://www.gourmet.com/recipes/2000s/2009/01/mozzarella

Edited by pax (log)
“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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I've made a couple of these, they do work well. Found this online guide, it's a very well written and illustrated guide to building your own unit.

Edited to add: You can only use these with basic slow cookers, none of the smart-pot type cookers.

Thanks for that...I am going to have to give this a shot. :raz:

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Not in the least "crabby".

I'm just concerned that readers enthused by Pax's post should "play safely".

And that is a valid consideration where mains electricity (and potentially water) are involved.

One can indeed use a lamp dimmer to provide variable control of a simple heater.

Just watch out for the power ratings.

I don't have a dimmer rated more than 400 watts. That would be a lot of light, domestically.

But 400 watts is not a lot of kitchen heat.

(The article linked above used a dimmer able to handle 600 watts.)

For comparison, my cheapo Rice Cooker can draw 800 watts. A typical UK electric kettle is 3000 watts. 400 (or even 600) watts is VERY gentle heating -- but crockpots (slow cookers) are just about the lowest wattage heaters you are likely to find.

All I'm saying is "Please check the wattages on the dimmer and cooker labels."

Make sure the dimmer is able to provide at least as much the cooker would take.

That's all.

I never imagined having to worry about burning the house down over plugging in a dimmer since pretty much an idiot can install one in their dining room without a degree, so I'm really not so sure why Dougal is so crabby with me about that part.
At the risk of sounding really crabby, I'd suggest that readers avoid the risk of being an injured idiot and take a moment to check the safety labels (or else get someone to check them for you!) -- don't think its safe to plug random things together just because the plug fits! Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I've made a couple of these, they do work well. Found this online guide, it's a very well written and illustrated guide to building your own unit.

Edited to add: You can only use these with basic slow cookers, none of the smart-pot type cookers.

I've made one of these in the past, too. Though I used it to control an electric motor for sharpening, grinding etc. - worked great. But what a brilliant idea to use it with a crock pot. Gotta try it soon

k

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OK, dum question time....

What can you use for citric acid?? Does someone know where to get it or is it just lemon juice?

(I was looking at the link for the recipe in Gourmet that was given in this thread)

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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OK, dum question time....

What can you use for citric acid?? Does someone know where to get it or is it just lemon juice?

(I was looking at the link for the recipe in Gourmet that was given in this thread)

In your local market, look in the kosher food section for "Sour Salt" it is citric acid.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I bought rennet and citric acid at my local co-op. Actually, I bought about a pound of citric acid at Christmas time because I put in my Christmas tree's water.

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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