Many traditions, little story Job Polyphemus and cheese, an unusual result of bacterial alchemy that turns a l iquid

into a solid mass perishable storable for a long time, was considered unti l recently a very noble food, enough to allow a limited number of tracks Western history and literature, especially compared to other foods such as bread, wine or meat. His ancestors were born by chance and were an initial curiosity and dis trust, the first cheese known to man, in prehistoric times, was probably formed by stomach contents of a baby animal. In Sardinia today a similar preparation, t he de Callu Crabettu (these kids stomachs of dried whole milk which is coagulate d in them), is considered a rare delicacy by the shepherds who produce for own c onsumption. When civilizations of the Middle East developed writing dairy produc ts were, however, already a reality. A passage from the Bible even compares thei r work to the growth of the fetus in the womb: I-fact you have a particular like milk and curdled me like cheese-Job says to God about your own conception and b irth. Words that could only say who was hit by the phenomenon of coagulation of milk, before which really seems to assist the formation of something new compare d to the raw material of origin. Further West, the art of cheese reached greater perfection, touching even the world of epic poems. In the Odyssey the cave of P olyphemus is the first dairy to a known description: The mats were burdened by c heese in crowded pens lambs and kids ... The well-made containers such as bucket s tubs milked all filled with serum. The evil Cyclops shepherd-cheese maker skil led in their craft but little violence against civil aviation. perhaps in this f amous episode Homer floats already an echo of a veiled polemic against the chees e: a food barbarians living creatures incapable evolved society which is precise ly the savage Polyphemus. A name that dairy products have difficulty taking off off. The ancient Rome caseus Processing cheese was known to the Romans who sprea d knowledge and techniques for most of their empire as evidence of diffusion of the term caseus (-cheese-Latin) almost all European languages: English cheese to German kse al'olandesel kaas from Spanish queso Portuguese queijo. only france northern Italy (in Italian living with cheese spread Centrosud) prevailed from t he Latin word probably born late formaticum rooted these areas use large forms ( bands) to prepare cheese. producing dairy cow is (just because cattle are used m ainly labor camps) consumed fresh sheep or goat cheese. Varro (first century BC) mentions, curd was then boiled smoking: it may be ancestor of spun paste. colum ella d. describes in detail seasoning _ Seller of cheese and butter: century fresco preserved in Issogne Castle in Val d 'Aosta. © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese The raw material The origins, milk. According to a Royal Decree of 1925, after never amended, und er the name "cheese" in Italy can be shipped only product of the acid or rennet coagulation of milk. Ricotta (obtained by heating the whey) or mascarpone (produ ced by coagulation of cream) are therefore not strictly speaking of cheese, thou gh - not without reason - as dairy products are united them, as also decided to make this site. The acid or rennet coagulation, which is discussed in more detai l later, is, despite the variety of processing techniques, a relatively simple p rocess. The basic ingredients are so few cheese. Indeed, only three: the curd, i e substances that have the power to coagulate the protein component of milk, sal t and milk itself, the most important element. The dairy par excellence: the cow . Cow's milk has long been the most widely used in Europe not only for making ch eese, but also as a simple drink, or as raw material for derivatives such as cre

am, butter, cheese and yogurt. Compared with the milk of other animals has the u ndoubted advantage of being available in larger quantities and relatively consta nt throughout the year. The cow, however, large animals with special needs in te rms of quantity and quality of grass or fodder with which it feeds,€can generall y be brought only where environmental conditions allow the existence of abundant pastures. Therefore the breeding of dairy cows is more developed in northern It aly, with consequences on production of cow's milk cheeses. The first of seniori ty: the sheep. The sheep is, unlike the cow, an animal whose milk production ten ds to have a seasonal pattern, declining or even failing in the summer. Milk giv es a very distinctive flavor and intense, only used for cheese production. Due t o its smaller food needs is more widespread, ancient tradition, in central-south ern Italy and islands (especially Sardinia), poor regions of grassland suitable for cattle vaccine. Precisely for this reason and for the possibility of using i t for the production of wool, was certainly one of the first animals bred. Victi mized: the goat. The goats are currently present in Italy in relatively limited quantities and as a result of precise agricultural policy in the first half of t he twentieth century were in fact conducted successful campaigns to discourage b reeding, then felt bad for the agricultural land and forestry, so that only in r ecent years their number has increased again. In reality it is an animal that ca n graze on land unsuitable for © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese Pasteurized milk. Pasteurization (physical process that involves heating milk to about 72 degrees for twenty to thirty seconds, so as to eliminate any type of b acteria) has, among many advantages, a serious flaw: to damage irreparably, in a ddition to good of the vitamins, the bacterial flora "useful", which gives it sp ecial and noble cheese. The taste of dairy products pasteurized milk is so great ly compressed compared to their counterparts in raw milk that is unpasteurized. At this point it makes no sense to speak of authenticity, ie the origin of the m ilk from a particular area: after all pasteurized milk are almost equal. Raw mil k. Only with due attention to the health of livestock and the observance of cert ain rules of hygiene laws, now very strict pasteurization process becomes superf luous: raw milk is therefore still used for the production of cheese, although i n this If the implementation of particular measures affect the cost of the finis hed product. Pasteurization is also omitted without problems in products destine d for long aging, given that any pathogens can survive for only a relatively sho rt time. Groped to reproduce the characteristics of raw milk is used in many pro cesses have to add special lactic acid bacteria to pasteurized milk: the bacteri al flora typical of a certain environment or a particular breed of animals is st ill successfully reproduced artificially. We must however keep in mind that the phrase "raw milk" is not in itself guarantee a high quality raw material: to pro ve that raw milk must be fresh and it worked a short distance from the productio n site, avoiding transport for long journeys capable of altering its properties. Skimming. The skimmed milk is the elimination of a greater or lesser fraction o f its fat component. This process usually occurs in the traditional way, that is surfacing, letting it rest for a few hours at a temperature below 10-12 ° in a vessel off the bottom and milked milk: fat globules, lighter than the watery par t, tend to to surface, forming the cream or cream, which is removed using a spec ial tool. Skimming can also occur by centrifugation mechanics, and in this case the cream will be more flavorful, but at the expense of milk residue. Skimmed milk and butter production in pasture. © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese The cheese The rennet. Curdle milk (that is, in essence, make cheese) means to separate the lipid and protein component from the water. Several plant extracts, such as lat ex content in unripe figs, or the juice extracted from flowers of thistle or art ichoke were used in the past by many cultures farmers like rennet cheap: the sam e pure milk left for a few days to ' open air at room temperature,€is curdled by the lactic acid that occurs naturally inside the action of certain bacteria (th is process is called "acid coagulation, and it's yogurt, which under Italian law , despite what you might think, is cheese). But the rennet more effective and po werful in nature consists of the gastric juices of the stomach of suckling mamma ls, essential for digestion of their staple food. For millennia, man has learned to exploit its properties. The substance most commonly used as rennet is theref ore known as rennet, a paste, a powder or a liquid obtained by processing the st omachs of lambs, calves or kids. The kid's rennet, more effective than all the o thers, gives a strong flavor to the cheese, so that, when processing requests so explicitly, it is preferred to the calf. Only in a few cases, such as mascarpon e, and had prevailed in the habit of using more neutral tasting substances such as vinegar or citric acid. Coagulation. Renneting results, in a variable time de pending on the amount of milk and rennet used, temperature and other conditions still one of the components of the coagulation of milk protein (casein), which f orms a lattice which is also part of the trapped fat: milk splits as a semi-soli d mass of white, curd, and a residue fluid darker serum, yet rich in sugars and proteins. The curd is usually broken with a tool to facilitate its separation fr om whey: depending on the size of the granules to be reached we will use the "th orn", whose shape is inspired by that branch of hawthorn used dry in ancient tim es, the "pound", so named for the appearance reminiscent of the eponymous musica l instrument, or "sword" that cuts the curd into chunks. Cooking and pressing th e dough. Some of the tools used for breaking the curd. Coagulation Extraction of the curd by hand from the boiler Before squeezing the curd Pressing Top and bottom: the shaping. Note the use of molds © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese Environments. Although many cheeses are consumed fresh, within days of their pro duction, the most common practice is to make them mature for a period can vary f rom weeks to 1-2 years and, in exceptional cases, up to four and beyond. This pr actice was born of practical needs: milk production tends to be seasonal, with p eaks of quality and quantity during the spring and summer, and only with its pre servation was possible to distribute the cheese consumption throughout the year. Curing must always be in suitable, with cool temperature, usually around 10-15 degrees, and humidity high and constant (before the advent of refrigeration oper ation took place in natural caves or artificial, occasionally still used ). Duri ng aging the cheeses are turned over regularly to prevent bulging on the outside . Care of the crust. To prevent excessive growth of mold or attack by pests such as mites, soft rind cheeses are occasionally washed with a solution of water an d salt, and to prevent those cracks and crevices in hard crust are anointed with oily substances. For this operation normally takes place in the oils of seeds, but there are many alternatives (olive oil, animal fat ...) depending on the typ

e of cheese and area of origin. Chemical and physical transformations. During ag ing the dough loses most of its water content (weight loss during long periods i s more than 30% of the initial total), the compact undergoes the transformation of fats and proteins and fermentation of residual sugar, taking its distinctive flavor: the formation of gas can produce eyeing size very variable, depending on the cheese that is considered a virtue or a defect. These changes are most evid ent in the raw milk products. The curd also seasons change color from white to t hat giallopaglierino more or less intense. Because the cheese is "born" in effec t during aging, it is obvious that a hurry too, poorly suited or neglect in perf orming the operations necessary at this stage may lead to bad results even if th e raw material and processing are Excellent quality. It is therefore essential t hat the intervention of the season (or refined) professional who buys the cheese manufacturer,€selects and supervises its evolution, thus providing the cutting and sale of forms when they have reached the perfect ripeness. Curing aging cellar by immersion in brine obtained in the basement of an abandon ed hydroelectric plant. The caves of aging can be very different in size, height, depth in the subsoil a nd building materials used. Essential however is the use of chemically untreated wood for the shelves on which are placed the foemaggi. © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese Classification of cheeses In countries where there is a wide variety of cheese is the problem of their cla ssification even for commercial purposes, and categorize as homogeneous as possi ble. This really is not easy, given that the criteria under which it can be done are many and mutually incompatible. Fat. A first classification system is the m easurement of fat content of cheese: if it exceeds 42% of dry matter under Itali an law will have a fat cheese, between 42 and 20% semi-fat cheese and below 20% a low-fat cheese. It is undoubtedly a strict classification, since the fat can b e measured accurately: the fact that hardware stores is regulated by specific la ws also suffers the fact that once gave particular weight to fat cheese, and a s kimming excessive was deemed essentially a sophisticated food. Hardness of the p aste. The Italian law has attempted to divide the cheese into categories accordi ng to their fat content, but not according to their water content, perhaps becau se it is extremely variable. Conventionally distinguished however, commercially, including hard cheeses, semi-hard and soft. Although many love this kind of cla ssification must be said that, besides being pretty vague, it is also sometimes misleading, since the hardness of the paste of certain cheeses can also vary con siderably depending on time of ripening. Techniques. It is the classification sy stem favored by many technicians, under the principle that the type of processin g has a decisive influence on the final quality of cheese. We have thus, accordi ng to the processes which we have already mentioned, raw cheeses, cooked (or sem i if the curd is heated to temperatures exceeding 48 °), pressed or spun. Animal s producing milk base. According to this classification will have cow's milk che ese (Italian law also provides that the word "cheese" without further specificat ion means certainly cow cheese), sheep, goat, buffalo or mixed. Time of ripening . Again classification is conventional, as the aging time can be very variable. Fresh cheeses are those that are consumed immediately after production, semifres chi those requiring a very short season. The cheeses are a vast family, within w hich we must distinguish some subcategories (the short, medium, long season ...) . You should also speak to the times of maturation medium, because nothing preve nts lengthen depending on their tastes. © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese The cheese in pasture Who today would get the wine pressed with your feet or bread made with chestnuts and leavened with a bit 'of fermented flour had many problems to solve: most of

those faces who is curious to taste a cheese made with the same techniques hund reds of years ago, which is in effect to pasture. The "loading" of mountain past ures, also called "transhumance" in south-central Italy, was born from the need to climb to higher altitudes and cooler when spring gives way to summer, and mea dows downstream start to feel the effects of heat. A similar trip up is so appro priate to the natural rhythms to bring the herds and flocks in a state of euphor ia when they realize in mid to late June that it is time for departure 'pasture, shepherds and their struggle to retain once they embarked on the road to the mo untain. The pasture is divided into two stages: first it makes a stop at 1300-18 00 meters, then up over two thousand in August, when the short alpine summer all ows the grass to reach its full development even at that height.€At the end of t he month we should bring back the two thousand under the looming threat of early snow, while since mid-September the pasture ends with the return to the startin g stalls. The management of this activity is still strictly family: few people s hall herds, if they are made from cows, rarely exceed eighty heads. Even buildin gs dell'alpeggio are reduced to the essentials: a small local milk processing (t he upper floor or attic serve as home for the shepherd cheesemakers) and a barn that can accommodate a few animals. The big herd of sleeping outdoors, where the temperature never drops below zero, however. The alpine life is tough: up at fo ur in the morning and before milking, after which the herd is conducted in pastu res, where they stayed until early afternoon, when it shall meet for the second milking, which is about five. The milk from the cow is allowed to stand for the evening then add it to the morning following is an operation that increases the natural bacteria, and going to enrich the cheese. Mixing the two milk clotting t o proceed and prepare the forms. A herd of about seventy cows can produce about seventy pounds of cheese a day (each head of cattle in pasture you get about 10 liters of milk daily, compared with 40-50 in a cow raised in a closed flat stabl e). Cheese-making techniques are, as stated above, the same as in the past, beca use more than two thousand meters can be transported very little of modern techn ology: it is not unusual to see in the alpine pastures of tools that have more t han a century of life . Bring other from the valley floor would be a significant effort, and useless until the old, indestructible tools continue to do their du ty. To conduct downstream forms produced the traditional medium is the donkey or mule, which can safely withstand a weight of a ton. But it happens that today w e should use the helicopter, despite the costs that this form include: the comme rcial value of the cheese pasture now ample justification. Lovers walking in the mountains know how easy it is to run into pastures abandoned or in ruins, but i s increasingly rare to encounter a herd or flock to pasture. In large Alpine val leys where A pasture in Val d'Ossola to 2200 meters. A mountaineer shall pressing of forms that has just produced. The cheese is made entirely of pasture by hand. The abundance of water as well as grazing is one of the key assets that the past ure must have. © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese Maturation and aging When the majority of dairy products did not come out from the production area th e task of curing was usually the prerogative of the same dairyman: the birth of a national market has however given rise to new figures, the seasons of professi onal cheese, which withdraws from manufacturers forms dealing with fresh ripened , and the similar but more specialized alumina, which buys products already seas on brings, thanks to special treatment, the highest possible degree of perfectio n. Do work of this kind, since the main enemies of the cheeses are drying and te mperature changes, means first of all have a place suitable for seasoning, with a controlled temperature and relative humidity in all seasons, no windows but we

ll ventilated and not too narrow, so as to avoid overcrowding. The shelves on wh ich the forms are also systems must also be strictly untreated wood with chemica ls. But these conditions, achievable only in a cave or in a cellar carved below ground level, are not mature enough for the best. The cheese evolves through a m icrobial submitted to it in the environment in which it is located, which requir es many years to settle in an optimal manner. The importance of this factor is g reater than you think for example in many countries of Campania and Basilicata u nsafeness the traditional caves in the earthquake of 1980 has significantly chan ged the characteristics of certain dairy products, breaking a balance took years to be restored. A maturing cellar can not be improvised so quickly: the more an cient the better to fulfill its task. The right environment, however, is only a container inert without the man. In the cellar, the cheese does not just stay: i t must be tended carefully,€turning them often, cleaning it, oliandolo or washin g with water and salt. It is no coincidence that the cheese industry is consumin g all young people: the production can indeed be done by machines, but a maturin g medium or long is not possible without the constant manual intervention of man , with the costs involved. Finally, the decisive experience of stagionatoreaffin atore, who must know in depth the needs and characteristics of the cheese that i s for example almost imperceptible differences in size or shape in the era of pr oduction could affect the timing of maturation. Only the eye and practice, aided in some cases by a tessellation, can tell exactly when a product is ready to be cut and eaten. © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese I breed (a) In the north-east Italy the term designates a cheese made specifical ly for maturing, when there is a stage version to be consumed fresh. Wilted When a fresh cheese with a crude undergoes a brief season it is said that "fades" be cause the evaporation of the water causes the wrinkling of the surface. House, d airy, toll, Casola In northern Italy this name is given to small dairies which p roduces artisan cheese, or even to places where it is seasoned. Flowery crust is called in this way a crust of cheese on which to form molds or yeasts valuable from the standpoint of dairy. Hard (or soft) On the hardness of the paste to the Italian law does not dictate precise rules. From the commercial point of view a lso known as soft cheeses, semi-hard (or semimolle) and lasts. These usually und ergo a maturation than 90 days. Face is the "base", usually round or square of c heese. It is usually flat but may also be concave or convex. Mezzano Some cheese is the stage of maturation between that fresh and seasoned. It is the mark left holes in the dough from the "bubbles" that are formed during ripening due to fe rmentation. Barefoot is the 'height' of cheese. It can be straight, oblique, con cave or convex. Saffron is the pollen produced by the stamens of Crocus sativus (saffron ornamental plant akin to), mainly grown in the Abruzzo region in Italy, or other plants yet. It is an orange powder with strong coloring strength in so me special processing and is traditionally used to give the crust or the cheese an intense color. © EOS Publishing all rights reserved 2005 book on Italian cheese