The Fresh Loaf

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using a kegerator for a water chiller for bread dough?

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illuvchocolate's picture
illuvchocolate

using a kegerator for a water chiller for bread dough?

I need a water chiller for mixing my bread dough. After looking at the prices for a commercial water chiller (gasp)! I had the idea of using a kegerator. I was thinking that if i attached a water line thru the kegerator and into the side of an empty keg, water would fill the keg, be chilled, and easily dispence thru the tower tap. The keg would simply refill thru the water line, like a hot water heater. I am on city water, the water lines are pressurized, so it would be like turning the tap at the sink. Sounds easy, but i know kegs use co2 for pressure to dispence, and I know nothing about the inner workings of a keg and co2. Anybody with any ideas?

Some backround--I own a commercial bakery, mostly bread with some pastry and fudge. Hobart mixers - 80 qt and 40 qt. Bread styles are pan breads mostly, lots of whole grains. I thought putting the kegerator at the scaling station near the mixers would make it easy to have chilled water, instead of running to the cooler to get cold water for every batch.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

 "attached a water line thru the kegerator and into the side of an empty keg, water would fill the keg, be chilled..."   

oops, stop right there.  Opening the line to fill the keg with water reduces the water pressure or you have to deal with pressure fittings and then CO2 gas might be needed to remove the water from the keg.  Big waste of energy.   If you do not break the line and simply extend the line and run it thru chilled water, you don't loose water pressure and have to remove it from the keg with gas.  Gas is only used to remove the liquid in the keg.  Use the keg... or any similar container (it doesn't have to be a pressure vessel and could be a plastic barrel) just to cool the tap water pipe that is coiled up inside of it.  There would be no filling and draining of the keg (a health issue too.)   The kegerator becomes the heat exchanger cooling the water pipe.

Any kind of refrigerating device will be giving off a fair amount of heat as it cools.  I know I would not like standing or working next to one.

There must also be a way to have a simple heat exchanger inside the walk-in cooler.  Run a tap water pipe in and out of your cooler. Where the pipe runs thru the cooler,  have a long copper pipe bent into a coil as a heat exchanger (can probably get coils ready made.)  This coil could run thru a water tank for better temperature exchange.  Once the pipe leaves the cooler, insulate it and place your tap where you need it.  It could even run across the ceiling and down to your mixing station.  I would also consider putting in a drain near the tap. 

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

Were you a moonshiner or a mechanical engineer in a previous life?  ;-)

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I think I missed my calling in life...

I like to observe stuff.  hey!   It is not so complicated as it appears to look!   Did I tell you I watched my brother make a kegerator from an old fridge?  I'm still scanning the net for a keg diagram.  Wanna see its innards.

Like this one:  Link    as one can see from the inner round shape that it's a pressure vessel with a twist in top.  cool.  Must be a specialize rigging that sits on top full of other little valves and such.  :)

illuvchocolate's picture
illuvchocolate

I'm sorry, but i left to many gaps in my first post...

1. before next summer, I will be moving both the walkin cooler and walkin freezer to right outside the back door of the bakery. This is where my bulk cold storage will be. Inside the bakery will have a small reachin cooler, for items of immediate use, so no room in that for coils. And to pipe water from the walkin would not be feasable. I need something just for water.

2. the bakery in the summer is blazing anyway, so actually moving the walkins will reduce the heat load, a smaller refrigeration unit will actually give off less heat than what i m experiencing right now.

3. i was going to run a hard plumb water line on the wall right up to the kegerator, then a flex line thru the side wall of the kegerator, and having a plumbing attachment (like a screw on hose nipple?) affixed to the keg for water intake. i was not using the co2 to dispence! I need to remove that (co2) from the system,  I dont understand how it hooks up to the tap tower. (and the plumbing inside the tap tower).  I want to use the tap on top to dispence water, no co2 involvement. if the keg is hard plumbed in, it should have water pressure from the water line. Just like if you went to the sink to turn on the tap. Only in this case, there is a water holding tank to draw from. As you remove water, it will refill, like a hot water heater.

4. I took over a bakery that had closed, and left existing equipment. I needed more space, to expand my wholesale line and increase retail. The setup is far from perfect, and I wish i could do alot more to rearrange things, (fast!) but that is not possible, somethings I can only rearrange so much, and live with it. Refrigeration is one of those items. In the perfect world, all refrigeration would be remote, and no extra heat in the bakery, the ovens give off enough. sigh.

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

fill a small refrigerator with coiled food-safe tubing that will function at water-line pressures without leaking.  Connect a water supply line to one end (will have to penetrate the refrigerator wall), connect the other end to a faucet (second wall penetration), and you're in business.  The longer the tubing that makes up the coil, the more residence time for the water inside the refrigerator, which improves cooling.  And the more "surge" capacity you have for high demand periods.  Like a water heater, it will have a finite capacity and need time to recover if most of the inventory is removed.

Paul

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

The water entering the keg should be entering at the top, and the cool water being drawn off the bottom.  (In a hot water furnace the tap water enters near the bottom and is drawn off the top.  Heat rises, cool sinks.  I think you are in luck as the equipment inside the keg will connect to the tap and take water off the bottom.  Inside the keg, there is an extension to the connection that lets the beer out.  Pretty simple really.  So the connection for CO2 gas entering the keg will be connected to tap water.  No need for the hoses and pressure valves/meter to indicate pressure.  Caution, water pressure is much higher than the pressure used to normally remove beer.  Consult with a plumber.

Edit:  I have to agree with Paul that the two approaches are different.  I would go with the coiled pipe in the refrigerated water as that would allow for more cold water when needed and less fluctuation in water temperature.  Using the keg as a storage for cold water is less efficient and has a lag time to chill when large amounts of water is needed.  There will be more fluctuation in temperatures when using a keg.

illuvchocolate's picture
illuvchocolate

Thank you all for your comments...some very good ideas...i m probably trying to make it harder than it should be...(as my husband says...nothing is too hard for the person that doesnt have to do it)...so i will keep my eye on auctions for either a small commercial cooler for a copper coil (in my area the health dept does not allow non commercial refrigeration) or a kegerator...which ever i find in good condition first wins!

gerhard's picture
gerhard

I think these are all interesting ideas, but how much chilled water do you need.  If you had tap water that is 60 F how long would it take to cool to 40 F.  I imagine it would take the better part of a day, I know that a 50 liter beer keg takes all day to cool.  Lets say you plumbed up a 50 liter keg and just ran the municipal supply in the top and cold out the bottom, if it cooled down to 40 you would be lucky to get 25 liters of cold water if you are using 60 degree water to push it out.  This would not be a continuous supply and put a thermal load on a fridge that it wasn't designed for.  If it was me I would buy an ice maker and if you weigh your water you could weigh a portion of the water as ice, water's weight doesn't change when frozen.  If you measure volume, i.e. lots of bakeries have pails that are marked for various recipes, these would no longer be accurate as ice takes up more volume than water would.

Just my thoughts

Gerhard

dettmerg's picture
dettmerg

Gerghard,

If you measure ice with water there is no difference because ice diplaces water by its weight; not by its volume. I would let the ice melt first, though, before pouring it into the flour.  It will mix better that way without a chunk of ice in it.   :)

Gary

gerhard's picture
gerhard

In commercial bakeries they add the ice with the water to the dry ingredients it doesn't take long for the ice to fully melt.  The ice will displace water by volume but float on top, because of it's lower density.

Gerhard

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

:)

illuvchocolate's picture
illuvchocolate

 I tried ice. I use SAF Instant yeast, and this yeast doesnt work well with iced water, It retards too much and is very sluggish.  SAF Instant yeast does work well with chilled water. This is why I discarded the ice idea. That and we dont have an ice machine, nor do we have another need for one.

I usually scale off batches of dough that take 1 or 2 gallons of water at a time.  We usually go thru about 16 or so gallons of water in a day. A half keg is 15 1/2 gallons. So the usage is close.  I understand the concept that the water will be constantly diluted, so I would mix all large doughs first, that take more time to shape. Smalled doughs later in the day, warmer water, yes, but they wouldnt sit as long on the bench during make-up. 

Then, after reading some of the ideas here, my husband and I were thinking of making a copper tubing coil, larger around than the keg, and placing the keg in the center of the coil, then conecting both.  The water would flow thru the copper tubing, and into the keg. since copper is a good conductor, the water would be chilled before it gets into the keg. The water in the keg would not be diluted with warm water, thereby giving us a more consistant temperature thru-out the day.

Again, These are all good ideas, and I have lots to think about between now and next summer! I am sure my ideas will be revised many time between now and then, (also, depending what kind of equipment I can aquire!)