Parmesan cheese, or known by its formal name, Parmigiano Reggiano, is a wildly popular cheese in America and around the world. Parmesan is commonly used as the finishing touches on Italian pasta, salads, and pizza. Parmesan is a hard, granular cheese that has been produced out of Parma in Italy for over eight centuries. Back then, Parmesan was made with unpasteurized cow’s milk but today can be made with your milk of choice.
Today, there may be a lot of cheese that claims to be Parmesan cheese, but genuine Parmesan has a true hard, gritty texture and a nutty and fruity taste. Any fake Parmesan cheeses have more of a bitter taste and can be easily spotted. There have even been laws implemented in Europe of how ‘fake Parmesans’ label their cheeses now. Especially when you make Parmesan homemade, you can definitely tell the difference between the real and the fake versions.
Parmesan is used in so many popular dishes today and mostly used in the shredded form or as a powder consistency. However, Parmesan can also just be simply eaten on its own as well. It can be used to create delicious recipes such as a baked chicken Parmesan recipe by mixing breadcrumbs and Parmesan together or simply to top off your pasta dishes or risottos with some Parmesan cheese to add extra flavor and creaminess. Either way, it’s definitely delicious and you’ll be sure to absolutely love it.
You’ll absolutely love this fool-proof Parmesan recipe below. With hardly any ingredients, you can easily make your own homemade Parmesan cheese hassle-free.
Aging: 5-12 months
Skill Level: Beginner
- 2.65 gallons of skimmed cow’s milk
- 1/4 tsp of Thermophilic Culture
- 1 tsp of Rennet diluted in 1/4 cup of water
Heat the Milk & Add Culture
- Heat your milk up. When it reaches 92°F you can start to add the culture and Lipase in and stir.
- You can do this by placing the milk in a pot or sink of very warm water. If you do this step on the stove, be sure to slowly heat the milk and stir to avoid burning.
- Cover and allow it to ripen for 15 minutes.
- After ripening for 15 minutes, you can add your diluted Rennet.
- Allow it to rest for an additional 45 minutes or until you have a clean break.
- Maintain a temperature of 102°F during this period.
Cut the Curd
- After 45 minutes, your curd should be ready to be cut, if not, allow it to sit for longer.
- Cut the curd into 1 cm cube size pieces.
- Allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
Heat the Curds
- Slowly heat the curds until they reach a temperature of about 115°F.
- This process should take 45 minutes and should be done very gradually as it makes the cheese moister.
- Stir often throughout the period with a whisk to create small rice size pieces of curd.
Remove the Curds from the Pot
- Line a mold with a cheesecloth.
- Once the temperature of 115°F has been reached begin to carefully ladle the curds into the mold.
Mold & Press the Cheese
- Press the curds at 10 lbs. for 30 minutes.
- Remove, flip and rewrap the curds.
- Continue to press from 22 lbs. for another 2 hours.
- Remove, flip and rewrap.
- Continue to press at 45 lbs. for 12 hours.
- Remove, flip and rewrap.
- Press again at 22 lbs. for a further 12 hours.
- Remove and unwrap the cheese.
Brining and Aging
- Soak the cheese in saturated brine for at least 12 hours, turning over your cheese every few hours to ensure even coverage.
- Remove and dry.
- Pat the cheese dry and then age it at 57°F with a humidity of 85%.
- Turn the cheese daily for the first 2 weeks.
- After 2 months, to prevent the rind from drying out, rub olive oil over it.
- Cheese should be aged for at least 10 months.
- Preferably should be aged 12 months for best results.
Storing the Cheese
- It is best to store Parmesan cheese in the refrigerator. Be sure to firmly wrap it in a plastic cover before being placed inside.
Prolonged exposure to air will result in the Parmesan to turn white and the rind will become thick.