Parmesan Cheese Recipe

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By Mary Jane Toth | Apr 1, 2014

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True Italian Parmesan is called Parmigiana-Reggiano and is most usually grated when used. Learn how to make Parmesan Cheese and you'll be prepared for a wide variety of dishes.
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"A Cheesemaker’s Journey" is intended to be just that — a journey. Based on 35 years of experience making cheese, teaching cheesemaking classes across the country, and working with other cheesemakers, Mary Jane Toth makes it easy to be successful making cheese in your own home.
  • 1 Block of Parmesan Cheese



  • 4 gallons whole milk
    1/2 teaspoon DVI Thermophilic B Culture
    1 teaspoon liquid rennet plus 1/2 cup cool water
    Cheese salt
    Calcium Chloride if using store-bought milk

    For the Brine Solution:

    1 1/2 cups kosher salt
    1 gallon cool water


  • Warm 4 gallons of milk to 86 degrees Fahrenheit in the stainless pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon DVI Thermophilic B Culture to the milk and stir well with the long, slotted spoon. Cover and let sit to ripen for 10 minutes. Mix rennet into the cool water. Stir into milk mixture, stirring well for 30 seconds.Allow the milk to sit for 45 minutes to coagulate.The curd is ready when it breaks cleanly over your finger and whey fills the depression.Cut the curds into 1/2-inch cubes, and then let them rest for 10 minutesPlace the pot into a sink of hot water. Bring the curds to 90 degrees and hold at thattemperature for 40 minutes. Stir gently and often to keep the curds from matting(sticking) together.Slowly heat the curds to 120 degrees over a 30-minute period. Stir often to keep the curdsfrom matting (sticking) together. Hold at 120 degrees for 30 more minutes. Stir gently every5 minutes to keep the curds from matting together.Drain off the whey, and put the curds into a cheese press that has been lined withcheesecloth. Press lightly for 1 hour at 5 lbs. pressure. Do not apply too much pressureduring the first pressing stage.After 1 hour, remove the cheese and redress with another cheesecloth. Press for another hour at 10 lbs. pressure.Again remove the cheese and redress in another cheesecloth. Press at 15 lbs. pressurefor another hour.For the final pressing, remove the cheese from the press, redress in another cheesecloth, and press at 20 lbs. pressure for 12 hours.After the final pressing, remove the cheese from the press.For the Brine: Mix 1 gallon cool water and 1 1/2 cups kosher salt. Place the cheese into the brine solution. The cheese will float a little. Salt the exposed surface of the cheese. Cover the container and place into the refrigerator for 24 hours.Remove the cheese from the brine and place on a clean plate or cheese cradle. Air dryat room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks. Turn the cheese daily to allow all the surfaces todry thoroughly. The cheese is dry enough when it feels dry to the touch.When the cheese is dry, it is ready to coat with cheese wax. Dip several times to build up 4 to 5 coats of wax, letting the wax harden between coats. On the final waxing, write thedate and type of cheese on a piece of paper and wax it into the final coat.Fold up a paper towel and place the waxed cheese on it. Slide the whole thing into aplastic bag. Draw out all the air that you can, and tie the bag shut. Place the cheese ina cool place to age for 8 to 12 months. The temperature for aging is 55-60 degrees. I put mycheese into a cooler that is set on my basement floor. The cooler protects the cheesefrom rodents and insects.As the cheese ages, it will lose some oil. This is natural as the Parmesan hardens, and the paper towel can absorb the oil. Replace the paper towel with a new one if needed. Turnthe cheese daily for the first couple of weeks. After that, turn it weekly for a couple ofmonths, and then monthly, until the cheese is aged as you like it.You can cut open a corner of the cheese to try it, and, if not aged long enough, you canseal the hole with more cheese wax.Tip: It is important to redress the cheese as the recipe specifies. Not doing so will cause the cheese to stick to the cloth, and the cheese will tear when removing it.Reprinted with permission from A Cheesemaker's Journey: A practice guide to beginning and improving cheesemaking at home written by Mary Jane Toth and published by Hoegger Supply, Inc., 2012.
Updated on Apr 1, 2014  |  Originally Published on Jan 1, 1753