Mini-glossary

Separation:
physical process in which the fat of the milk or cream tends to separate from the rest when placed in tanks and left to settle. Separation occurs because of the difference in specific weight.
Curd:
the cheese-like mass thickened by the addition of rennet, which acts as a coagulant.
Curd, breaking of:
the curd, once formed, is broken up into pieces, sometimes very small, to aid the expulsion of the whey.
Rennet:
extracted from the membrane of the fourth stomach (abomasum) of calves, lambs or young goats and made into a powder, paste or liquid compound, rennet is added to the milk to coagulate it. May also be of vegetable origin.
Fascera:
wooden mould, generally round in shape, into which the curd is inserted after being broken up and partially pressed, to drain the whey. The fascera shapes the cheese.
Full-fat cows’ milk:
milk containing all its constituent properties, as it is milked from the cow.
Semi-skimmed cows’ milk:
milk from which part of the fat has been removed (top of the milk, or cream).
Skimmed cows’ milk:
milk from which all, or almost all, of the cream has been removed.
Holes:
bubbles of varying sizes which form inside the cheese during the fermentation stage of the maturing process. It is characteristic of some cheeses, in which the holes are particularly evident.
Side:
the side of cylindrical shaped cheeses may be straight, concave or convex.
Skimming:
removal of the fat of the milk. The skimming process can be carried out in two ways: by means of the natural separation of the cream, which is removed after the milk has been left to settle in a cool place for a sufficient amount of time; or by means of centrifugation, especially in the large-scale dairy industry.
Coagulation techniques:
in order for milk to be made into cheese, it must first coagulate. To this end, the milk is brought to an ideal temperature (which varies from 18 to 42°C, depending on the type of cheese). Then rennet or milk enzymes are added.
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