Homemade Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan is named after an area in Italy called Parma. It is one of the world's most popular and widely-enjoyed cheeses. Made from skimmed milk, this cheese must age at least 5 months and usually no less then 10. Often this cheese will be aged for up to two years. It is important to remember, when grating this cheese not to grate any more then you will use. This will keep the cheese flavor fresh. For a more flavorful cheese use goat and cow's milk in equal proportions.
- 1 Gallon Fresh Skim Milk (no more then 2.5% butterfat)
- 1/4 Tablet Rennet
- 3 oz. Thermophilic Starter Culture
- Warm the milk to 100 F / 38 C.
- Add thermophilic starter and allow the mixture to ripen for 45 minutes
- Dissolve 1/4 tab rennet into 3-4 table spoons COOL water. Hot water will DESTROY the rennet enzymes.
- Slowly pour the rennet into the milk stirring constantly with a whisk.
- Stir for at least 5 minutes.
- Allow the milk to set for 45-90 minutes until a firm curd is set and a clean break can be obtained when the curd is cut.
- With a long knife, cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes.
- Allow the curds to sit for 10 minutes to firm up.
- Slowly raise the temperature of the milk to 124 F (51.5 C). It should take as long as 45 minutes to reach this temperature. During this time, gently stir the curds every few minutes so they don't mat together.
- Keep the curds at this temperature for another 15-30 minutes until very small and firm.
- Drain the whey by pouring through a cheesecloth lined colander.
- Carefully place the drained curds into your cheesecloth lined mold.
- Press the cheese at about 10 lbs. (4.5 kg) for 30 minutes.
- Remove the cheese from the press and flip it.
- Press the cheese at about 25 lbs. (11.4 kg) for 12 hours.
- Remove the cheese from the press, careful it is still very soft.
- Float the cheese in a COLD brine solution (see below) for 30 hours. Be certain to flip the cheese over at least three times to ensure even rind development.
- Pat dry the cheese, you will notice the outer surface has begun to harden.
- Place the cheese in your refrigerator to age for at least five months (longer for stronger flavor). You will need to flip the cheese over every day for the first two weeks and then at least once weekly or it will dry unevenly.
- Place an overturned bowl on top of the cheese after two days. Do not wrap it in plastic or it will not dry properly
- Inspect daily for mold. Should mold develop on the cheese surface, simply remove it using a paper towel dipped in white vinegar.
- After three, six and nine months of aging, rub the surface of the cheese with olive oil. Do not wax this cheese.
- Dissolve 1.5 cups of salt into one quart warm water.
- Cool the brine in your freezer, some salt will precipitate out.
- To use the solution, simply place it in a bowl and place your cheese into it.
- After you are done with the brine, you can store it in a container in your freezer.
- With each new cheese, you will need to add additional salt so that the solution is saturated.
- The solution is saturated with salt when no additional salt can be dissolved no matter how long you stir.