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Parma or Grana Style Cheese

One of Italy's oldest cheeses, said to have evolved from an ancient Etruscan recipe


from the areas around Parma and Reggio-Emilia. It is still made according to ancient traditional
methods which have stood the test of time. With its long ageing process
of at least twelve months, digestibility and aroma, it is the ideal cheese for a healthy diet.

This cheese begins with milk held overnite for the cream to rise and then partially skimmed
Starter culture is added and ripend for a short time before rennet is added and the curd forms
The curd is then cut while still quite soft... first a large cut followed by a short rest
and then the curd
is cut quite vigorously
until a very fine curd about the size of a grain of rice or wheat
the curd is then heated to a high temp of up to 125F to dry it out
the final test involves compressing a handful of curd
and upon opening the hand a firm mass is formed
which will break apart easily with thumb pressure
at this point the curd is now ready to be transferred
first the whey and curd are transferred to a cloth lined pail
to consolidate the curd under the whey into a compact mass
this is then transferrred
to the final sanitized form
It is presssed into the form with light hand pressure
and is soon ready to be turned
in it's cloth
a very light weight is applied at this point (about 8 lbs)
after 30-40 min of light pressure the cheese is turned again
the weight is now increased to 25 lbs. for the next hour or so
it is important to keep the temperature at 85-95F here
the curd is still warm but quite consolidated at this point
note the hand imprint
The cheese is placed back in the press w/ weight of 85-125 lbs and held overnite next morning the cooled cheese has become quite consolidated and is now ready for a brine to salt and prepare the rind
during this aging period the rind is kept clean with regular brushings and applications of oil
this aging is done at
54F and 80-85% RH

The brined cheese is then dried and taken to the cave to ripen for the next 12 - 24 months

How to make this cheese :
The milk is warmed to 90F and innoculated with a Thermophillic culture with Bulgaricus
It is then ripened for 1 hr
rennet is then added to coagulate in 30 min
The curd is first cut to 1"
followed by 5 min rest
It is then cut quickly to 1/4'
followed by a long stir
Following this the curd is scalded to 114F over the next 30 min.
Once the curd reaches it's scald temp the stirring continues until proper dryness
At this point the whey is drained down to the curd level and a weighted plate is then applied to begin the pre-press
Following this, the consolidated curd mass can now be gathered in a cloth and drained before transferring to the waiting form
Pressing begins with 25lbs and continues overnight with increasing press weight to 50-125 lbs depending on intended ageing
The mold is then removed and the cheese is brined for 48 hrs
The Salted cheese will then go to a cool room w/ moderate humidity (75%) for 2-3 days until a firm rind is formed.
Following this it goes to the cave at 54F and 85% RH
It will then receive a light coating of olive oil weekly for the nect 8-10 weeks followed by periodic oil and wiping for the next 14-24 months

What you may need :
Bulgarian Yogurt Y1 (contains live cultures s.thermophilus, l.bulgaricus 1:1) mixed as a yogurt mother culture and added to milk at 1-2% by vol ... OR
Thermophillic culture with Helveticus

Calcium Chloride (if you are using storebought milk)
Rennet
Plastic Mold and Follower

Cheesecloth
Press
Salt

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Thanks for joining our cheese making family, keep those stories & photos coming. We love to hear from you!

In Peace,
Ricki, the cheese queen

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