Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
Oct 2, 2012 11:37 AM

Pasteurization - need help

Hi Folks,

We're in the San Fernando Valley area and need help with milk pasteurization. We get breast milk for our baby and pasteurize but I'm having the worst time keeping the temp to 145F for 30 minutes on the stovetop! Can someone recommend a home pasterurizer or let us rent one from you? Or maybe there's a stovetop with temperature control so we can put our double-boiler on it and maintain that low heat. Sure could use your help and ideas! ThankS!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi, leslielukejeff:

    Three basic ideas: (1) a mini-crockpot set to low; (2) an old-fashioned electric skillet (the kind with temperature control) used as a water bath for a pan; and (3) a diffuser for your stovetop.

    Then there is this pricier option:

    Remember that there is nothing particularly magic about 145°F for 30 minutes. If you up the temperature a bit you can cut the time significantly. You only need to hold 161°F for 30 seconds, and 165° for 15 seconds. Most crockpots set to low will attain 170°F.


    1. They make, or at least used to, home sized pasteurization machines, used for example by farmers for their own use. One that we had when I was a kid handled several gallons, and consisted of a covered stainless pail that sat in a heated water bath. The machine's top included a temperature probe that set in the middle of the milk. With a timer and thermostat it buzzed when the milk was done. I remember my mom rushing to take out the milk pail, put a stopper in the thermostat hole, and place it in a tub of cold water to cool as fast as possible.
      This machine looks similar to what I recall. The 'other products' on this Amazon page suggest that small scale cheese makers might be the main market now.
      is a museum pasteurizer of the type sold in a Sears farm supply catalog half a century ago.

      1. Have you explored your local Le Leche League? They should be able to help or direct you to local resources.

        This link with several pasteurization methods for breast milk may be useful:

        1. The problem with holding a liquid at 145 on a stovetop is that the less liquid you have, the harder it is. Maintaining a huge stock pot full of liquid at that temperature on the stove top is comparatively easy. Maintaining a small sauce pan halfway full of liquid on the stove top is very hard.

          What has your method been so far, exactly?

          I've done this kind of thing cooking sous vide on a stove top. My thinking is that if you can seal the milk in an airtight manner - perhaps in a ziplock bag, perhaps in jars made for canning - you can then heat a stock pot full of water to the desired temperature (usually you'd go for 1-2 degrees over the desired temperature actually) and then submerge the milk in that water and heat until pasteurized. Keep in mind though that the milk won't immediately heat up to 145 f itself. You'd have to account for the time it takes to heat up to pasteurization temperature. And without fairly sophisticated equipment to help you do that, your best option would probably be to err well on the side of safety and leave it in that bath for a fairly long time. How long the milk takes to get up to temperature will depend on the size and make of the container it's in and also its starting temperature. Pre-warming the milk might also prove useful.

          Also note that QUICKLY cooling the milk once fully pasteurized is very important.

          1 Reply
          1. re: cowboyardee



            "a monitoring system that pairs a food-grade temperature probe with an Android mobile phone. Just before hitting the high temperature point, the phone beeps twice to alert the user that the milk is almost heated and to prepare to remove it from the water bath. When the threshold is reached, the message on the screen changes and the phone beeps continuously until the jar is removed. Once the user does so, the message onscreen then indicates that the milk is cooling. A final message indicates the procedure has been completed successfully."