In this tutorial, we will learn how to make Parmesan cheese from scratch. Parmesan cheese is a popular Italian cheese known for its rich flavor and granular texture. Making Parmesan cheese at home allows you to control the quality of ingredients and customize the flavor to your liking.
- 8 liters of whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon of mesophilic starter culture
- 1/4 teaspoon of calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup of non-chlorinated water (if using pasteurized milk)
- 1/16 teaspoon of thermophilic starter culture (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon of liquid calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup of non-chlorinated water (if using homogenized milk)
- Rennet tablet
- Cheese salt
- Cheese thermometer
- Cheese molds and follower(s)
- Cheese cloth or butter muslin
- Cheese press (optional)
In a large pot, heat the milk to approximately 90°F (32°C). Stir gently to prevent the milk from scorching.
Culture and Rennet Addition:
Add the mesophilic starter culture to the milk and stir well for a minute. If using pasteurized milk, add the diluted calcium chloride.
If desired, you can also add the thermophilic starter culture for added flavor complexity.
Stir gently to incorporate.
Dissolve the rennet tablet in 1/4 cup of cool non-chlorinated water. Slowly pour the rennet mixture into the milk while stirring continuously for about a minute.
Allow the milk to sit undisturbed for 45-60 minutes or until a clean break is achieved. To check for a clean break, insert a knife or spoon into the curd at an angle and lift it slightly. The curd should break cleanly.
Cutting and Cooking the Curd:
Cut the curd into small cubes using a long knife. Make vertical and horizontal cuts, creating small cubes approximately 1/4 inch in size.
Let the cut curds rest for 5 minutes to heal before stirring gently over low heat. Slowly raise the temperature of the curds to 105°F (40°C) over 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent matting.
Draining and Pressing:
Line your cheese molds with cheesecloth or butter muslin. Carefully ladle or pour the curds into the molds, distributing them evenly.
Fold over any excess cheesecloth on top of the curds and place a follower on top. Apply pressure gradually by hand or with a cheese press set to around 5-10 pounds (2-5 kg).
Let it sit under pressure for about 6 hours, flipping and re-dressing every hour during this time.
Salting and Aging:
Remove the cheese from the molds and gently peel off the cheesecloth. Sprinkle cheese salt evenly over all surfaces of the cheese.
Allow the cheese to air dry at room temperature for 2-3 days, or until it develops a dry rind.
Afterward, move it to a cool room with a temperature of around 55°F (13°C) for aging.
Age the Parmesan cheese for at least 10 months, flipping it every few days during the first month and then monthly thereafter. The longer you age it, the more complex and intense its flavor becomes.
Making Parmesan cheese from scratch is a rewarding process that allows you to create a delicious and high-quality product in your own kitchen. With some patience and attention to detail, you can enjoy homemade Parmesan that rivals any store-bought variety.
Experiment with different aging times to discover your preferred flavor profile. So why not give it a try and impress your friends and family with your homemade Parmesan cheese?