8 Homemade Parmesan Cheese: Part One *And a New Look*

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My Parmesan cheese has been aging for seven months.

I wish I could show you the step-by-step photos, but I lost them with the virus that practically wiped out my other computer.  Sorry ~

You need to plan at least six hours to make this cheese and 10-18 months to age it.  I hope it's worth it!

My Farmhouse cheddar used whole milk and a mesophilic culture, whereas this Parmesan cheese uses a low-fat skim milk.

I added a little bit of half and half to my skim milk to equal 2 gallons of milk.

Warmed up the milk to 90ºF.

Added the culture, stirred, and let it sit for 30 minutes.

Stirred in the rennet and let it sit for another 30 minutes.

Cut the curds into 1/4" cubes and raised the tempertutre 3º every 5 minutes till it reached 124ºF.  This took about 45 minutes.

The curds shrunk in size to grains of rice...

I let them settle to the bottom of the pan for 5 minutes and poured off the whey.

Packed the curds in a cheesecloth lined mold and pressed at 5 pounds for 15 minutes.

Changed the cheesecloth for a fresh one and reversed the mold; pressed at 10 pounds for 30 minutes.

Changed the cloth again and pressed it at 15 pounds for 2 hours.

Turned the cheese over and pressed at 20 pounds for 12 hours.

Have you noticed a pattern?  The extra weight is pushing all the liquid whey out to make a dry, dry cheese.

By this time, it was midnight.

Put the cheese in a salt solution for 24-30 hours.

Time to go to bed!

Removed it from the brine and put it on a clean wooden board.

Turn the cheese daily for the first two weeks, then once per week for the first two months.  This helps it dry evenly.

I am not good at remembering... I'm a "set it and forget it" type of gal.  I had to program my cell phone with an alarm to remind me to "turn the cheese."

I found a wine refrigerator that will hold the temperature at 54ºF which is perfect for this cheese.  It will be my "cheese cave."

After a couple of months, this is what happens....

a brown, dusty mold.   eeeeewwwww.

I contacted the experts at the Cheesemaking Supply Company, and they assured me this was normal.

Dip a clean brush in the salt water and brush the mold off.

Let it air dry a couple of hours, and put it back in the cheese 'cave.'

Is all this work worth it?  I will let you know in a few months!
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