Author Topic: H Hoffman Blog Article and Pictures on Making Parmigiano-Reggiano & Grana Padano  (Read 6167 times)

Offline John (CH)

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Credit to chilipepper for finding these pictures of Parmigiano-Reggiano & Grana Padano cheese making factories in Italy and original Henry Hoffman article on making these cheeses.


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Offline Cartierusm

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I checked it out last night. Very nice facility and good pictures. I didn't look around too much as I was going to bed, but will disect the site further later today. The only bad thing I saw was that the author's comments were cut off so I'll try and see if there is a regular blog to read on the making of.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline saycheese

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This is a great set of links -- the large copper cauldrons are fascinating.  Also, I notice they don't take the cheese out of the whey completely until they put it in the mold, so it stays warm right until the end. 

Offline chilipepper

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Here is a video from the Parmigiano-Reggiano facility and of their process: Parmigiano-Reggiano

If you have some time watch the rest of the videos on that page as well.  They are very interesting in regards to the equipment and the scale at which they are producing their respective cheeses!  Very impressive!

Offline chilipepper

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Sorry to keep posting but this is kind of exciting stuff... Here is a PDF of the process, nutritional information and even a flow chart of the process.  This is good stuff!

Information about Parmigiano-Reggiano


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Offline Cartierusm

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Man Chili you find the most obscure stuff, thanks it's great.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

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One thing I failed to see....pressing.
In all of the Italian cheeses mentioned in these videos and articles they never press them.
So...my question has to be..why do we press them?

Offline chilipepper

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I think the pressing comes from the rings and pressure from the edges rather than the top as we are used to.

beeman

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I think the pressing comes from the rings and pressure from the edges rather than the top as we are used to.

I don't think it would get the sort of pressure which we are told is necessary to get the wheels they show, from conversations on this forum it would be in hundreds of pounds of pressure.
Yet watching the video they don't even mention pressing of any sort, and those bands wouldn't produce that amount of pressure! Strange?

Offline Wayne Harris

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I know that there are standards thade define the size and shape, (as well as every other aspect) of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  (and most other cheeses)

I wonder if the radius, and hieght of the wheels create a weight that in effect "self-presses" the curd.

I would imagine that a 50kg wheel,  flipped daily,  would to some extent, press itself, as long as it is in the hoops.

And that fact, may play into the established sizing standards.

But I am talking out of my butt because I really do not know.  Just guessing.

Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas


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Offline chilipepper

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Wayne you kind of beat me to it... I tend to share your opinion (and source of it for that matter:) ).

I think the shear weight of the wheels tend to do the pressing.  While the curd is soft, in some of the pictures you see a fairly thick white follower of some sort on top maybe just to help squeeze it into the mold.  Again just my opinion and from the same source as Wayne's :)

I better get to reading my book!

Offline HHoffman

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Hi, I'm H Hoffman - I took the photos/wrote the article.  John let me know about the thread here and I thought I should add a bit of information...

After 3 years studying food at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy I have a reasonable knowledge of cheesemaking but probably not much compared to you guys who actually make cheese.  I spent a couple of days specifically on Parmigiano-Reggiano with their consortium and then another week with the Grana Padano consortium.  This was all a great experience although probably some of you guys would have got even more out of it!

Anyway, one factor which I haven't seen mentioned in your queries on why the cheese doesn't need to be pressed is the issue of the curd size.  Both these cheeses have the curd cut really fine - they describe "rice-size" grains.  I though there was a picture showing that but when I checked it was not one of the ones I had put up.  Here is that...

He's showing how the curd pieces can be pressed together - you can see the size of the curd pieces on his right hand.

As far as I recall the finer the curd is cut, the less moisture is retained - so maybe that's why it doesn't need pressing - but I could be wrong as the theory is never easy to learn when you're not applying it.

Let me know if you have any other questions I might be able to answer.

Henry.

Offline chilipepper

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Henry, First off welcome to the board and thanks for the first hand knowledge to go with the photo gallery that we've been drooling over. 

Some of your pictures depict a fairly large plastic 'follower' or weight placed on top of the mold do you know if there is any appreciable mass to that? (picture 21 on the Grana Padano gallery)  Or is it placed there just to create a more uniform top to the cheese?

If you have any more detailed photos of the process or additional knowledge gained from your experience I'm sure we all would love to hear about it!

Once again welcome and thanks for posting!

Ryan

Offline HHoffman

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Thanks Ryan,

The white disk that goes on top of the mould is a fairly significant piece of teflon, but it's obviously not that heavy...


The Grana Padano consortium has a description of the process here... http://www.granapadano.com/ing/product/formatura.htm

I have a total of about 350 photos (including multiple takes, failures, etc) from the various cheese factories.  Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see that I might not have covered.  It's a few years since I was there so the process is not so fresh in my mind but if anyone has a question I may be able to remember or ask one of my student colleagues.

Offline Wayne Harris

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Well i am an expert at failure.  I for one would LOVE to see some professional failures...

:)


(btw Welcome to the forum, and Kudos CH for attracting some heavy hitters to this forum)
Wayne A. Harris - in vino veritas