Vacchino Romano is a hard, salty cheese originating from Rome, Italy. With its hard texture, similar to Parmesan, it is absolutely great for grating and used similarly in dishes.
This cheese is on the sharper side in terms of flavor as it’s been aged for 12 months. However, it has a much spicier flavor to it compared to Parmesan which is much milder.
There are three different Romano cheeses. Romano cheese is more commonly made with sheep’s milk, the type of Romano cheese is dependent on the type of milk used. Pecorino Romano is probably one of the most popular versions of Romano cheese and is made from sheep’s milk. Caprino Romano is made from goat’s milk and Vacchino Romano is made from cow’s milk.
Vacchino Romano has a much milder taste compared to Pecorino and Caprino versions and has a more yellowish color compared to the other two which are normally pure white.
If you like Parmesan cheese, you’ll definitely like Vacchino Romano. The two are similar in the process to make it and also texture, making Vacchino Romano the perfect substitute for Parmesan in your next recipe.
Aging: 5-12 months
Skill Level: Beginner
- 2.1 gallons of full cream fresh cow’s milk
- 1/4 tsp of Thermophilic Culture
- 1 tsp of Rennet diluted in 1/4 cup of water
- Brine solution
- Optional: Lipase
Heat the Milk & Add Culture
- Heat your milk up. When it reaches 90°F you can start to add your culture and Lipase, if using it, 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 1 hour.
- Make sure the temperature remains 90°F throughout the hour.
- After ripening for 1 hour, you can add your diluted Rennet.
- Allow it to rest for an additional 30 to 45 minutes or until the curd is soft.
- Maintain the temperature at 90°F during this period.
Cut the Curd
- After 30 to 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 117 °F
- This process should take 45 minutes and should be done very gradually as it makes the cheese moister
- Regularly, using a whisk, stir during this process to reduce the size of the curds to look like rice grain.
Drain the Curds
- Line a cheese mold with a cheesecloth.
- When the temperature has been reached during the heating process, carefully ladle the curds into the cheesecloth.
Mold & Press the Cheese
- Press the curds at 8 lbs. for 30 minutes.
- Remove, flip and rewrap the curds.
- Carefully continue to repeat the previous steps while increasing the weight slightly for the next 5-6 hours. The max weight will be 15 lbs.
- During this process, the temperature of the cheese needs to remain between 85-93°F.
- During the pressing process, it is normal for the whey to slowly drip out.
- After the pressing period of 5-6 hours, remove the cheese from its mold and allow it to rest overnight at room temperature.
Brining and Aging
- Soak the cheese in saturated brine for at least 24 hours, turning over your cheese every few hours to ensure even coverage.
- Remove and dry.
- Air dry your cheese at a temperature of 57°F with 85% humidity.
- For the first 2 weeks, turn the cheese over daily and remove any mold that may form.
- To prevent the rind from drying out, after 2 months apply olive oil to the cheese. You can repeat this step over time to reduce the rind drying out.
- Age the cheese for at least 10 months, however, 12 months will garnish the best results.
- The cheese can be aged for up to 24 months. The longer time it has to age, the stronger the taste will become.
Storing the Cheese
The cheese can be stored in your refrigerator to prolong its life.