parmesan

Parmesan

2 gal. skim milk

2 gal. whole milk

8 oz. yogurt (thermophilic culture)

2 tsp. rennet

If your whole milk is already cooled, you will need to skim it and warm the cream and the milk separately.  Put all the milk in a five gallon pot and warm to 90 degrees; carefully and slowly warm the cream in a separate sauce pan and stir it into the warm milk.

Dilute the yogurt in a little milk and stir thoroughly into the rest of the milk.  Wrap in towels or put to the back of a warm stove for 30 min. to culture, then check the temperature and return the milk to 90 degrees F.

Dilute the rennet in ¼ cup cool water and stir into the warm milk, thirty strokes up and down, and thirty more just stirring the top inch to keep the cream down.  Cover and set aside 30 – 45 min. until the curd is set (a wet finger gets a clean break).

Cut ¼ inch curds (do your best with a long knife but don’t stir – you’ll finish the job after the curds rest).

Rest the curds five minutes.

Place a pan of water and a couple of bricks, or a flame tamer, on your smallest burner, and put your pot on this.  Note the temperature of the curds.  Set a timer for five minutes, turn the heat to medium low and begin stirring your curds with a clean arm.  You will need to hold a knife in the other hand for cutting curds that are too large (there will be lots of these).  After five minutes, check the temperature again – you want it to rise two degrees every five minutes.  Don’t worry if you don’t get it just right; just keep testing every five minutes and adjust the heat accordingly.  After the curds have reached 100 degrees, turn the heat up a little so the curds rise three degrees in five minutes.  Continue stirring and cutting curds until you can’t stand the heat anymore, then switch to your most worn, rounded wooden spoon, or a long-handled rubber spatula, and keep stirring.

In the meantime, put a length of cheese cloth long enough to line your cheese ring, and a small piece adequate to cover the bottom of the ring, in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Rinse your cheese ring, follower and base.

When the curds and whey have reached 124 degrees, pour off as much whey as possible, set up your cheese ring, line it, and pile in your unsalted curds.  Press, flip and redress:  5#/15 min, 10#/30 min, 15#/2 hours, 20#/12 hours.  Brine 24 hours, turning several times; dry several days at room temp; age 55 deg. at least 10 mo., turning every day for the first two weeks, weekly thereafter.

This is not interplanetary navigation; little variations are acceptable.

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