The Cheese Processing Room used to be the Tank Room many ... many years ago when they milked cows here. It was completely empty when we bought the farm. This room is attached to the Milking Parlor and was originally built to house the large bulk tank that the milk would be pumped into at each milking for the milk truck to come pick up.
It's a 12x18 room with a concrete floor that has two drains in the floor. The walls are covered in a plastic type of paneling (sort of like inside a shower). This makes it easy to keep clean.
Since the purpose of moving to this farm was to milk the goats and make goat milk cheese, we've done some remodeling to the old tank room ...
Since the milking parlor and tank rooms hadn't been used in so many years ... a lot of the wiring had been stripped out and what was there was NOT up to code. It needed a LOT of repair.
I'm glad my Dad has great electrical skills. He spent much of his "working" years in the electric industry. We installed a new breaker box and pulled wire for the equipment needed in the processing room and in the milking parlor. He taught me a lot about electricity and wiring during the process.
We gave the walls and ceiling a new coat of white enamel. This brightened up the walls that had yellowed over the years.
Along the west wall ... we installed a 9 foot - 3 compartment stainless steel sink. Each compartment is a little over 2 foot square and very deep. It also has 18 inch drain boards at each end.
This is where I wash, rinse, and sanitize the miking and cheese processing equipment. You can see the stainless milk bucket and hoses draining upside down at the far end of the sink. I'm also draining some of the 5 gallon buckets in the end sink compartment after washing them.
I have to admit ... I had this sink picked out at a local restaurant equipment & supply store a year before I was able to buy it ... even before I bought my first dairy goat! I knew it would play a central part in the processing room. I had dreams and plans of how I would use it!
I have a cart with the microwave at the south end of the sink and the 10 gallon steam kettle is at the north end of the sink. It's tipped over in this photo draining after being washed.
I installed Rubbermaid shelving above the sink. This is where I store the various large pots, pans, and other things I use when making the cheese. This shelving is a great place for them to drip dry after I wash them too. I also use the shelving to hang some of the cheeses that I put into cheese bags to drain over the sink.
I have large metal trays (seen on the self above the sink) that fit nicely over the sink compartments - converting the sink into working counter space. This makes the sink area a very versatile work area!
We've installed a 10 gallon steam kettle at the north end of the sink. It's not new, but works great! My Dad had to rewire it from 3 phase to single phase for it to work out here in the country!
This is where I make my cheese and yogurt batches. It works wonderfully! I can control the temperature during each of the processing phases of making cheeses. Someday I'll get a larger cheese vat, but for now the steam kettle is great.
I installed a large 3 door commercial fridge along the west wall of the room. This is where I cool the 5 gallon buckets of milk after straining it into them right after milking. I also keep the yogurt and fresh cheeses in here.
At this time of year when I'm not milking all of the goats, I have some of the cheeses ageing in the fridge. (more on these in future posts!)
I have a 4x6 walk in cooler that I will be setting up beside the fridge for ageing the cheeses, but it's not installed yet.
The cook stove and more shelving for dry items are at the north end of the fridge. You can see 3 munster cheeses in the tub on the stove. They're at room temp - developing their beautiful red covering of B. linens that gives them their distinctive flavor.
The Processing Room has come a long way from being a Tank room. I enjoy working in it and making cheeses in it!
I have to give my Mom a big "Thank You" for helping me purchase some of the pieces of equipment for the Milk Parlor and Processing Room. She came to live with us almost 2 years ago and has been very helpful here on the farm.