The ripening of Gorgonzola Pdo is a very complex process that begins immediately after the molding of the curd and will last for a minimum of 50 days as from the Gorgonzola Pdo standard.
In the 24 hours after the milk coagulation, the acidification curve of the curd addresses on the right pathway the cultures metabolism, the enzymatic processes and the wheying off, in order to achieve the goal of a fi nished product in line with the expectations. Once the acidifi cation is completed the cheese wheels are cooled down from 22-24°C of the acidifi cation room, to 6-8°C. The cooling stops the lactic starter’s activity and prepares the curd to receive the right amount of salt. After a dry-salting of the entire surface, the wheels of cheese are blocked with a belt of wooden or plastic slats, essential to maintain the shape in the fi rst days of ripening when the texture is still too soft for self-sustaining. The salted cheese then enters into a warm room where the wheying off will be completed and the real ripening gets started.
Modifications occurring in the warm room
The warm rooms are set at a temperature between 18 and 24°C with relative humidity above 85% without any air ventilation that might dry the cheese surface. In these rooms the cheese remains for two to three days, being turned and dry salted on the faces at least two times. The combined action of salt, temperature and pH completes the whey purge. In the same time the yeasts, previously added to the milk, begin to develop carbon dioxide and the gas “opens” the structure of the curd, creating microcavities. A good development of these cavities is crucial to allow a good circulation of the air inside the cheese. Oxygen is extremely important for the growth and the development of the blue moulds. The right opening can be checked introducing into the cheese a special trier to extract a sample, to evaluate the cavities and to clo se again the hole.