The milk from the morning and the previous evening is poured into the traditional upturned bell-shaped copper vats. It takes about 550 litres of milk to produce each wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. The milk slowly and naturally coagulates with the addition of rennet and a whey starter, rich in starter cultures, from the previous day’s processing.
The curd which forms is then broken down by the master cheese-maker into minuscule granules using a traditional tool called “spino”.
This is where fire comes into the picture, in a cooking process which reaches 55 degrees centigrade, after which the cheesy granules sink to the bottom of the cauldron forming a single mass.
After about fifty minutes the cheese-maker removes the cheese mass which will give rise to two twin wheels.
Cut into two parts and wrapped in the typical linen cloth, the cheese is then placed in a mould which will give it its final shape.