The other day Andrea and I went to one of the 40 Parmigiano Reggiano cheese factories. I learned in depth about how the cheese is made and I’ll try and explain it as best as possible… Parmigiano-Reggiano is made from fresh cow’s milk that arrives about every half an hour. The milk is pumped into copper-lined vats where they add cultures and raise the vat up to 95 degrees.
The mixture is left to curdle for about 10 minutes. Then they break up the curd and raise the temperature again, but this time to 150 degrees. After that the curd is left to settle for about an hour. They then collect the curd and make wheels of the cheese using a stainless steel round mold. After a day or two, they take it out of the mold, imprint it with the Parmigiano-Reggiano name, the plant’s number, and month and year of production then put the mold back on it and and put it in salt water bath for 3 weeks. After brining the wheels of cheese are left to age. The only thing thats left to do at that point is sample… and let me tell you, I did plenty of that 🙂