Sunday, March 29, 2009

In Search of a Centrifuge

Many people think you can't make butter from goat milk, because you don't get much cream rising to the surface. In fact, both goat and cow milk have a fat content of 3.8-3.9%. It's just that the fat globules are smaller in size and lack an enzyme found in cow milk that allows the quick separation of cream from the milk. The smaller globules in goat milk make a smaller curd which is easily digestible.

So I turned to my dairy goat books for suggestions on how to separate the cream. One of the best reference books I own was originally published in 1947, and has this completely sexist statement that had be howling with laughter the first time I read it:

"Installing a separator, however, is no easy job for a woman unless she has a flair for the mechanical. It has many tricky little pieces - set screws, discs, etc, and must be set in place with the guidance of a spirit level, but the instructions for putting it together are simple in man's language, and almost any man can cope with them successfully."

Egads!! I love it. It's so terribly wrong. And written by a women to boot. What happened to all the Riveting Rosies of the war effort just five years earlier?

Anyway, you can buy table top models that provide a separate spigot for the cream and skim milk to run out for a measly $350-500!! The current models are easy to install; they're like many other kitchen appliances that just require removal from the box and plug into the wall. With that kind of price tag they'd better be that easy.

So I've searched the internet for plans or designs for providing some kind of easily powered turning mechanism to provide the requisite centrifugal power needed to make separation happen, which is only about 60rpm. I was thinking of hand cranking a lazy susan, modifying a yarn winder, maybe a modified stationary bike set up, when I came across this gem. Engineering efforts are underway, but in the meantime, enjoy the video!

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