Making Parmesan cheese
Parmesan is a useful cheese to have around the house. The hard part is waiting 9-10 months for it to age and mature. We use a lot of Parmesan in our cooking, so I make a 2-gallon wheel each month.
Starting at 9am
The milk is warmed up to 90°F.
Add the 2 starter culture packets. Stir in thoroughly then leave alone.
Set your timer and wrap up your pot with a towel.
Check the temperature, and warm it up, if needed. Turn off burner. Add the diluted lipase and stir. Add diluted calcium chloride and stir. Add diluted rennet and stir twenty up-down strokes. Remove ladle and leave alone for 30 minutes.
Wrap up the pot and set the timer again.
Check for a clean break of the curd, then cut crosswise and lengthwise, then at an angle to the bottom. Cut the curds into 1/4" cubes.
Stirring the chunks gently with my right hand, I briskly cut them up until they are the right size. Don't dawdle, as time affects the pH. You can also use a whisk to cut the curds.
Follow the recipe, cooking the curds for 70 mins. Set your timer for each step of cooking. I stir with my clean hand and arm until the curds reach 110° and it's too hot for me. Then I use a slotted ladle to stir gently with. The cooking stops at 124°. Let the curds rest and settle for 5 minutes.
This is what they should look like now.
Give them the squeeze test. Squeeze them into a ball.
They should then be able to come apart and separate again. They will be squeaky if you chew a curd.
Pour off the whey through butter muslin.
Here are the cooked curds in the muslin. You can either gather up the cloth and stuff the curds into your press's mould, or you can transfer the curds to the already-lined mould with a ladle.
Here we stuff the curds into the mould. I push down firmly to settle them, and make sure the top curds are loose and level in the mould.
They whey is draining, and the followers are in the press.
Follow the recipe for pressure and time. Set your timer. I have a level on top of the press so I know the pressed cheese will be straight nice.
Redressing the cheese. Every time you take the cheese out of the press to turn it, strip off the cheesecloth gently and reverse it.
Put the cheese, reversed, back into the press. Gently, you have to maneuver it a bit.
Follow the pressing instructions in the recipe.
Once done, strip the cloth off the cheese and put new cheese in the saturated brine.
After brining, pat cheese dry, put in Ziplock to age in cave for 9 months. Rub with olive oil after one month, every month. Keep free of mold with salt water and soft cloth.