Sunday, August 15, 2010

Parmigiano - Flowerdale Style

My cheese press in action
This weekend I found some time to make some hard cheese after the initial experiments with halloumi, fetta and mozzarella. My cheese press is now up and running (and stable) so it was time to venture forth. According to Antonio Carluccio's Complete Italian Food, Parmigiano reggiano can only be made in Emilia Romagna while elsewhere in Italy, an almost identical cheese gets called Grana Padano. This all begs the question, what do you call it if it is made in North West Tasmania? Anyway perhaps I am jumping the gun as it has to age for more than 6 months (12 if I can wait that long) before I will be able to taste it and see if it comes anywhere near the real thing. I've been thinking about how I can create the right maturation conditions (12-15 degrees C and 85% humidity) for a while and I am still not sure if my "cheese cave" is going to be right. It is currently in a plastic tub in the coolest room in the house but I might move it out to a concrete walled shed when the weather starts to warm up.Parmesan takes quite a bit of time to make as it involves heating up the curd very slowly after the curds have been set and then cut. It is then pressed gradually increasing the weights over about 15 hours to achieve the final shape.
My cheese cave

Of course there is always heaps of whey left over after the curds have been taken out and so rather than waste it, I made some ricotta as well.

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