Abruzzo Scamorza cheese
Although “scamorza” is widespread throughout the region, its production is more historically rooted in the provinces of L’Aquila and Chieti that border with the Molise region.
This spun curd cheese is made from cow’s milk and can be eaten fresh or lightly dried. Ingredients include raw, whole cow’s milk, calf rennet (which may be in powdered or liquid form) and salt.
The milk is filtered before the cheese-making begins and then it is then heated to 36-38°C in a cauldron, when whey or starter cultures are added, containing acidifying microflora composed mainly of thermophilic lactic bacteria that start up the production process. After about half an hour rennet is added to make the milk clot, the amounts used being defined by the strength of the rennet itself and the acidity of the milk; the mass is shaken for a few minutes. After the milk has coagulated, which takes about 30 minutes, another hour passes before the curds are cut to fragments about the size of a hazelnut. The mass kept in whey at a temperature of 35-36°C for about three hours until the fermentation processes are completed and the paste acquires the level of acidità needed for spinning (normally about 5.15-5.30 pH).The curds are then extracted and spun in a special container with water at 80-90°C. During this stage salt can be added, dissolved in the spinning water where the paste reaches a temperature of about 65°C, which allows for 70% microbe content reduction. After the paste has been spun, always in a water temperature of at least 55°C, the cheeses are hand-shaped to produce the shapes and sizes required. These are then left to firm in cold water for about 20 minutes, and after this they are salted in brine, if this was not done during spinning. The amount of time the product is left in brine depends on how concentrated this liquid is.
So the “scamorza” that is to be consumed fresh are left in a container with storage liquid (drinking water, salt and/or buttermilk), then refrigerated at 4°C. The “scamorza” that is to be dried is hung at cool temperature (10-12°C) in well-aired premises until they develop a light, waxy rind. Fresh “scamorza” should be eaten with 48 hours of its production and refrigerated at 4°C; when dried the cheese will last about 10 days at room temperature in a cool, well-aired place, and should then be refrigerated at 4°C.