Ibérico cheese

Cheese with a pressed uncooked curd, with a semi-hard to hard consistency, a cylindrical shape with varying dimensions and a height ranging between 7-12 cm / 2.7-4.7 in and varying weight, although no more than 4 kilos / 8.8 lb. It is made with a mixture of cow’s milk (maximum 50%), goat’s milk (minimum 15%) and ewe’s milk (minimum 15%).

Tasting notes

Paste with a firm compact texture and yellowish-white color.

Other notes

The rind has a semi-hard to hard consistency and a dry appearance, with a coloring which may range in tone from yellowish white to greenish black. It has a smooth surface, or else the imprint of the molds or paddles on the sides. At the top and the bottom bears the characteristic flower imprint.

Production / Processing method

- Curdling:
It is made with rennet or other authorized enzymes. Curdling takes place between 28-32ºC / 82.4-89.6ºF, in a period of under 45 minutes. Once the curd has acquired the correct consistency, it is then cut into the correct size. The curd is separated and left to stand for 5 minutes, and part of the whey is removed.

Immediately after, the temperature is gradually raised to 36-38ºC / 96.8-100.4º F while the curd is gently stirred. The mixture is stirred more vigorously at this temperature, until the curd divides into to firm rubbery pieces the size of a grain of wheat, which takes approximately 30 minutes.

- Molding and pressing:
This is done in molds adapted to the particular shapes and dimensions of this cheese as described in the section above.

The cheese is pressed in suitable presses, according to the requisite times and pressures, so that the pH at the end of the pressing process is between 5.0 and 5.5.

- Salting:
By immersion in sodium chloride brine for the necessary time according to the temperature and the concentration of the solution, but never more than 48 hours. The sodium chloride content in the cheese at the end of the process is a maximum of 2.5%.

- Fermentation:
Mainly through the action of lactic bacteria.

- Ripening:
Between 12º-16ºC / 53.6º-60.8ºF, with a relative humidity of 75-90% in the drying process which is followed by an aging process at between 4º-10ºC / 39º-50ºF, with the same relative humidity.

- Other characteristics:
After ripening period the cheese can be preserved in olive oil or vacuum packing. This cheese can also be found sold in portions, sticks, slices and grated, provided it is packaged.

Ibérico cheese