Every day, the milk from the evening milking is left to rest until morning in large vats, where the fatty part spontaneously rises to the surface. This is used for the production of butter.
Together with the whole milk produced in the morning, as soon as it arrives from the farm, the skimmed milk from the night before is poured into the typical bell-shaped copper cauldrons where veal rennet and fermented whey, rich in natural lactic ferments obtained from the processing of the day before, are added.
The milk coagulates in around ten minutes.
and the curd which forms is then broken down into minuscule granules using a traditional tool called “spino”.
This is where fire comes into the picture, in a cooking process which reaches 55 degrees centigrade, after which the cheese granules sink to the bottom of the cauldron forming a single mass.
After resting for around fifty minutes, the cheese mass is removed with deft movements by the cheese maker.
Cut into two parts
and wrapped in its typical cloth, the cheese is then placed in a mould which will give it its final shape.
Each cheese is given a unique, progressive number using a casein plate and this number remains with it just like an identity card.
After a few hours, a special marking band engraves the month and year of production onto the cheese, as well as its cheese dairy registration number and the unmistakable dotted inscriptions around the complete circumference of the cheese wheel,
which is then, after a few days,
immersed in a saturated solution of salt and water.
This is a process of salting by absorption which, within less than a month, closes the production cycle and opens the no less fascinating cycle of maturation.
This the phase that demands the most patience since it takes at least 12 months of maturing before the wheels can be checked by inspectors from the Consortium for the Protection of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Only those that pass the quality selection receive the indelible mark on their rind
and can continue their maturation process.
HOW IS PARMIGIANO REGGIANO MADE.