The ingredients of Parmigiano Reggiano are three: milk, salt and rennet. Milk, the most important ingredient, is collected twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.

The milk from the evening milking is poured into large and low containers, called surfacing, in which it rests all night to let the cream emerge naturally. These tanks have an automatic tapping so during the night the skimmed milk is automatically transferred in the tank, where it is homogenized. The last step is always manual: it is the dairyman who decides the amount of fat to put in the boiler (the process is therefore half automatic and half manual).

In the morning, in the typical copper boilers with “inverted cone” shape, the waned milk of the evening and the whole milk of the morning are combined.

The proportions of skimmed milk and whole milk depend on the choices of the cheesemaker, which take into consideration also the weather conditions and the milk itself. The goodness of Parmigiano Reggiano is already influenced by this first phase of production.


The first phase is that of heating. During this phase the milk is slowly heated and the whey is added, rich in live lactic cultures obtained from the whey of the previous day’s milk processing.

Once the temperature of 30 ° (86 Fahrenheit) is reached, the rennet is added and left to rest for about 8/10 minutes so that coagulation takes place.

The cheesemaker will proceed with the control of the clot density and then with the second phase, that is the dowelling.

This phase consists in breaking the curd into pieces as small as a grain of wheat with a tool called SPINO, because in ancient times a hawthorn (biancospino in Italian) branch was used.

Being a long-aged cheese, it must be as liquid as possible and therefore it will be the dairyman, with his great experience, who will recognize the right consistency.

At this point the process requires a cooking at 55 ° (131 Fahrenheit) for about 10-12 minutes, during this phase the goal is to make the granules lose moisture so that they will settle on the bottom of the boiler. They will then be left to rest for about 50 minutes in order to compact the cheesy mass.

After this time, the cheesemaker extracts the curd with a wooden shovel and wraps it in a linen cloth.

This curd will be divided into two parts, each of which will then be placed in a mold with a Teflon burden on it, to get a natural pressure. This is how two forms of Parmigiano Reggiano are born!

The forms of the day are turned twice by changing the canvas to dry them. The third time, the cloth is removed and the plastic band – released by the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium – is inserted: this band, during the first night, will print the dots with the Parmigiano Reggiano logo, the serial number 3276, the month and year of production, together with the words CE (European Community) and DOP.

The next day the forms are transferred to a special steel band that will give them the characteristic rounded shape and will remain there for one or two days.

After the 3rd day of life, the forms are immersed in static brine (the salt penetrates by osmosis) and remains there for about 18 days.

The forms are loaded into 5-tier steel cages (for a total of 15 forms) and are automatically lifted and immersed in the brine.

In the old structure, the forms floated in the brine, so they had to be turned manually by the operator to ensure the correct absorption of salt; with the new mode they are kept “squashed” in the solution so there is no need to turn them. In this way the salting time is reduced (18 against 25 days previously).

This leads to the conclusion of the production phase of Parmigiano Reggiano and begins the seasoning phase during which the wheels of cheese are placed on wooden boards inside special rooms called “casere”, in which humidity is constantly controlled.

For Parmigiano Reggiano, the minimum aging period is 12 months.