Video: Separating and Blending Parmigiano Reggiano

We wanted to produce a video about the production of Parmigiano Reggiano, so we contacted Master Cheesemaker Cristian Pederzoli, and asked him to tell us about his work.
Initially, we thought that the main star of our film would be the King of Cheeses itself, however, we now realize the true heroes are the workers, because without their love and dedication, the product wouldn’t exist at all.

Don’t miss the first episode of our video.
The film was shot in July 2009, on location at the beautiful Castellazzo Dairy.
The interviewer is Andrea Bezzecchi .

SurbirTV: Separating and Blending Parmigiano Reggiano.

PHASES IN THE PRODUCTION OF PARMIGIANO REGGIANO

2. SEPARATION AND BLENDING

Comments by Cristian Pederzoli, Chief Dairyman at the Castellazzo Dairy, are denoted by the letters ‘CP’
Comments by our Interviewer are denoted by an ‘I’.

CP: Parmigiano Reggiano is a semi-fat cheese because it is produced by blending milk from two different treatment sessions: an evening session, which lasts overnight, in which the milk undergoes separation, at the end of which it’s a raw form of semi-skimmed milk, and a morning session, in which whole milk from the morning’s milking session is quickly added to it and heated. We call it, …its called, …we say its ’semi-fat’ because the fat has been separated from one of the two milks involved.
Here we can see that… the afternoon milk alone, the evening’s milk, this is low fat milk, and it’s going straight into the heater where it will later be mixed with the next morning’s milk. This chap here is performing the mixing process.
I: Can you tell us something about the quality of the milk. Can you, for example, tell just by looking whether you have a high quality milk or not?
CP: Well, the initial assessment is made by the Cheesemaker when he wakes up for a days shift and takes a look at the milk in the pans: he can tell just by looking in the pans whether they’re any good or not. As an example, we’d refer to “the bouquet of oranges”,  or perhaps the taste of oranges in the pans … this would tell us we’re dealing with a milk with some anomalies in the maturation process, which would need - to get a good result from it - to be treated in a slightly different way.
I : I see. And the separation process takes place in these pans, does it?
CP:Yes, it takes place them. Obviously,during the night, the environment around them is air-conditioned. It starts in the afternoon, about an hour before the milking session, we begin to lower the temperature of this entire area, to create an environment which is optimized for the well-being of the milk.
I: I see, but in the old days, before air-conditioning was available, what used to happen back then?
CP: Years ago, when air conditioning wasn’t available, well then…, people used to want “Vernengo”   then anyway, didn’t they? Because Vernengo was a cheese that used to be produced in the winter months, and it lasted a long time and kept well.
Il Why was that?                                                                                                                                                CP: Because the milk was less acidic. I: In the summer, if you didn’t have all these huge machines and all this equipment to help maintain the milk overnight, what would happen then? CP:If the milk.. if milk is matured faster, it becomes more acidic  hence we’d get a cheese of poorer quality -  a cheese of a much inferior quality.

Questions? Comments? Write to us.

Stefano

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