How we make Parmigiano Reggiano
Parmigiano Reggiano is made with Parmigiano Reggiano semi skimmed milk, that is made with cows that gaze in the area of Parma, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Bologna (the left side of Reno River) and Mantova (the right side of Po river).
To obtain it, we pick milk from our associates twice daily.
At night the milk we picked is brought in tanks and left there until morning, when is moved in the boilers. By night The cream, that is the fatty part of milk, emerges. With this cream is made the butter.
The morning whole milk is directly brought in the boilers, where is mixed with the light one emerged in the previous night.
The milk obtained from the two processes is slowly heated and it's mixed with the whey (made from the milk clotting) and with the rennet.
The milk temperature is measured with remur degrees (°r), a french origin misure unit, originally used by monks and
and handed down to the present day.
In ten minutes the addition of these ingredients creates the curd, a pasty mass made through the natural coagulation of milk.
After the creation of the curd, it’s necessary to start the stirring: with a tool called “spino” the curd is cut into grains size (3-4 mm).
When the Cheesemaker's hand decides the curd is ready, that is when it reaches the perfect compactness, the curd is heated to 44° remur and left subsided in the bottom of the boiler for an hour and a half in order that it will create a singular block.
Afterward, with a wooden shovel, the curd is brought from the bottom to the surface (this works with the whey that fill the boiler) and it’s placed in a linen swatch, where it’s left dripping for an half hour.
The wheels, which has a 90 kg weight, is cut in two pieces and placed in two different linen swatches and are left dripped for 30 minutes.
Every wheels, wrapped in the linen swatches, is inserted in the “fascera”, a round plastic band that confers the typical shape to Parmigiano wheels, and it’s marked with a identifying casein plate (an alphanumerical code with optyical reading tab).
The process is repeated other two times in a day, at 16.00 and at 20.00.
In the evening the wheels is turned for the third time, the linen swatch is removed and a marking band is inserted in the "fascera": during the night this band impresses the cheese factory serial number (453), the month, the year of production, the classic spots with the Parmigiano Reggiano sign and a blank space where the producers associations firebrands will be inserted.
The wheels is left to stand all night.
The following day the marking band is removed and the plastic fascera is replaced with a drilled stainless steel one that allows the wheels to dry.
The wheel is left to stand for another day, then the fascera is removed and the wheel is brought to the salting room.
The wheel is left twenty days in the salting room. The salt is the only preservative we use.
In the salting room the serum (humidity) leaves the wheel and the salt enters it.
Once removed from the salting room, the wheel is washed with warm water and is left to dry on drilled shelfs: this is the end of production cycle and the beginning of aging.
The wheel is brought in the warehouse, on wooden shelfs, and it stays there for 12 months. Therafter the Quality consortium send specialists to control the wheels quality.
If there aren’t inner or external flaws, the wheel is branded and obtains the PDO (Protected Designation Origin) qualification.
After the labeling, the aging can continue reaching also even more than 48 months; during this period the wheel is brushed and rotated every ten days.