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My Lactose turned to crystals

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SC_Ryan

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I'm making a batch of the infamous Cheesefood VCCA. Last night I boiled 2 cups of water with 8 oz of lactose for my final addition. I boiled them together for 20 minutes then covered it and placed it in an ice bath in the sink to cool. When I came back to it 30 min later, my lactose/water mixture had turned into a grainy crystal sledge. Did I boil too hot or am I supposed to add the lactose after the water cools? What the hell did I do here? Thanks in advance!

Ryan
 

avidhomebrewer

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The 'crystal sledge' you mention is the lactose coming out of solution when you cooled it. You cooled it too long. Just heat it back up to get it in solution again and cool, but not for as long as you did before, or don't use as cold a bath to cool it. No big deal, you didn't mess anything up.
 
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SC_Ryan

SC_Ryan

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Did I cool it too fast or is there a certain temperature it crystallizes at? Will adding more water keep it in solution longer or is it not a saturation thing?
 

pjj2ba

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Nope, it just cooled too much. The temperature at which it will crystalize will depend on the concentration. Avidhomebrewer is correct, just heat it up until it dissolves and then add it. If you think it is too hot, just add some more water so that it will be cooler before crystalizing out.

OK, the geek in me just looked up the solubility of lactose and it is 1gm/5ml of water at 15 F (~100 gm/500 ml = 3.5 oz/2 cups). It goes up to 1 gm/2.2 ml for boiling water (2.3 gm/5 ml = 230gm/500 ml or ~8oz/2 cups). So it is definitely at the solubility limits. This is for alpha-lactose, beta-lactose is more soluble, but I think the majority in what we buy is the alpha form.
 
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