I have now made two batches of Parmesan cheese using the instructions in Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making pages 140-141. The photo is of one of the cheeses after 6 months of aging in the cheese cave. It looked and tasted like Parmesan – a success.
To assist myself in planning the day and keeping track of where I was, I summarized the steps and elapsed time in the following chart. The key point is that there is a lot of work until step 8b, so it has to be convenient to be up and near the kitchen up to that point.
|1a||Heat milk to 90 degrees F||0:15||0:15|
|1b||Mix in starter and lipase and let ripen||0:30||0:45|
|2a||Add rennet and mix||0:01||0:46|
|2b||Wait for curds to set||0:30||1:16|
|3||Cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes||0:15||1:31|
|4||Heat the curds to 100 degrees while stirring||0:25||1:56|
|5a||Heat the curds to 124 degrees while stiring||0:40||2:36|
|6b||Pack curds into mold||0:05||2:51|
|6c||Apply 5 lbs. of pressure||0:15||3:06|
|7a||Redress curds and turn over cheese||0:05||3:11|
|7b||Apply 10 lbs. of pressure||0:30||3:41|
|8a||Redress curds and turn over cheese||0:05||3:46|
|8b||Apply 15 lbs. of pressure||2:00||5:46|
|9a||Redress curds and turn over cheese||0:05||5:51|
|9b||Apply 20 lbs. of pressure||12:00||17:51|
|10c||Soak cheese in brine||24:00||42:01|
|11a||Remove cheese from brine and pat dry|
|11b||Place in cave at 55 degrees and 85% humidity|
|15||After 2 months rub surface with olive oil|
|16||Age the cheese (2-6 months at 50 degrees)|
For the first batch, I cut the curd with a curd knife, and continued to cut any largish curds. For the second batch, I cut the curd with a whisk, which worked better at breaking the curd into small pieces. In fact, I was so successful at separating the curds and the whey on the second batch, that I was concerned after the first 5 lb. pressing, that the curds were not going to adhere together fully. It turned out that they did.
I did not make as much brine as suggested in the recipe, since it seemed to be overkill to have a gallon of brine for a cheese which was about 1.5 lbs.. I made half as much, and it turned out fine.
The photo is of one of the cheeses after the pressing and before brining.