Grana Padano PDO
The first dairies making the cheese called “grana” spread around the 12th century in the area between the Po, Ticino and Adda rivers. In the early 20th century, Grana was made in very different shapes and it was not until the 1930s that increasingly specialized technologies were able to guarantee a standard production. In 1996, Grana Padano received Protected Designation of Origin recognition and its production was bound to almost the whole of the Po Plain, as far as Trento. At present, Grana, together with Parmigiano Reggiano, is the biggest selling Italian DOP cheese in the world.
Grana Padano DOP cheese is obtained from milk that is partially skimmed by coming to the surface, placed in large copper vats with a capacity of one thousand litres, the total quantity of milk necessary to obtain two cheeses (a cheese must weigh between 24 and 40 kg). Lysozyme, a protein extracted from egg white, which has an anti-fermentation action, is added to the milk, along with liquid calf rennet which causes the milk to coagulate into curd and whey starter culture obtained from the cooking whey of the previous day.
Grana Padano PDO
Grana Padano PDO – The curd is broken down into granules, heated to 53-56 °C for 10-15 minutes and left to rest for 30-70 minutes. During this period the grains are compacted into a single block. When the mass is sufficiently acid and elastic, it is extracted with pieces of cloth and divided into two blocks which will then be placed in the moulds. Two days after production, the cheese which has taken on the characteristic cylindrical shape is plunged into a brine solution for a period that goes from 16 to 25 days and taken into a warming room, with a temperature of between 22° and 28° and a relative humidity of about 90%. The cheeses are then transferred into rooms with systems to control the humidity and temperature where, every 15 days they are turned and washed. Hammering is a phase of fundamental importance in the production of Grana Padano DOP; this is when every cheese is checked using a small hammer, a needle or in the case of more detailed examinations, a sound. Only the cheeses that have the requisites required by the DOP, under the control of the personnel of the Consortium for the Protection of Grana Padano Cheese, are fire-branded at the end of the first phase of ageing of 10 months; ageing can continue for a further 6-12 months. The Grana made in the Province of Trento does not contain lysozyme and is branded with the Trentingrana mark.
The rind of Grana Padano DOP is hard, smooth and thick, dark yellow or golden yellow in colour. The semi-fat paste is finely granulated and straw yellow, with a strong flavour but never sharp. Grana Padano PDO can be used, depending on the different degree of ageing, as a table cheese or as an ingredient in the preparation of dishes in the Italian gastronomic tradition.