Monday, August 29, 2011

My very first hard cheese in the cave. Grana Padano (AKA Parmasan)

Ohhh, Grana Padano. How I love you SO!

Parmigiano-Reggiano (IPA: [ˌparmiˈdʒaːno redˈdʒaːno]) is a hard granular cheese, cooked but not pressed, named after the producing areas near Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, and Bologna (all in Emilia-Romagna), and Mantova (in Lombardia), Italy. Under Italian law only cheese produced in these provinces may be labelled "Parmigiano-Reggiano", while European law classifies the name as a protected designation of origin. It is informally known as the "king of cheese."

Parmigiano is the Italian adjective for Parma. Reggiano is the Italian adjective for Reggio Emilia. Parmesan is the French-language name for it and also serves as the informal term for the cheese in the English language.

The name Parmesan is also used for cheeses which imitate Parmigiano-Reggiano, with phrases such as Italian hard cheese adopted to skirt legal constraints. The closest legitimate Italian cheese to Parmigiano-Reggiano is Grana Padano.

How to make Grana Prano

For this, I use a double boiler technique. This will help to control the temperature without scalding the milk:

For this, you will need:
- 4 L whole milk (at least 3.25%)
- 4 L 1% milk (Anything 2% ior less)
- 1 packet Thermophilic
- 1/4 tsp lipase
- 2.5 ml (or 1/2 tablet) rennet

1) Sterilize all the equipment by boiling a pot with all your tools (colander, cheese cloth, knife, whisk, mold, thermometer, etc). The items don't all need to boil, I simply put the colander in the bottom, and use the steam to sterilize everything.
2) When everything is sterilized, dump out the water and add the milk.
3) Bring milk to 35°F
4) If using store bought milk, mix a small bowl with 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) of calcium cholride with 60ml (1/4 cup) of DISTILLED or bottled water.
5) Put the calcium chloride in the milk, stirr wall.
6) Add thermophilic, stir in a top/down motion for 1 minute. Top stir for 1 minute
7) Turn off heat, and let sit at 35°F for 15 minutes.
8) In a small bowl, add 1/4 tsp lipase with 1/4 cup water. Stir wall.
9) Add lipase to milk.
10) Dilute 2.5 ml (1/2 tablet) of rennet in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Stir well.
11) Add rennet to milk, stir in a top/down motion for 1 minute. Top stir for 1 minute
12) Let sit for 45 minutes
13) Check for a clean break.
12) Use the which to cut the curd (4mm curds)
13) Let stand uncovered for 5 minutes.
14) Stire with the whisk for 10 minutes.
15) Heat to 42°F over 30 minutes. Stir occassionally.
16) Heat to 52°F over 30 minutes. Stir occassionally.
17) Curd should be spoungy at this point.
18) Let sit for 5 minutes at target temp (turn off heat)
19) Place into mold with cheese cloth.
20) Press with 5 lbs for 15 minutes.
21) Flip.
22) Press with 20 lbs for 17 hours.
23) Make brine with 2 lbs salt to 4 L water. Let sit in the brine for 12 hours, Flip it, then let sit in brine for another 12 hours.
24) Place cheese in the cave. Turn daily for 1 week.
25) After 1 week, turn weekly.
26) Wax after 3 months.
27) This cheese gets better with age. It can be eaten after 4 months, but I strongly suggest to let sit for 9 months. It's SO worth the wait.

Any unused cheese can be grated and frozen for later.


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