Chemical propriety of milk, caused by the presence of acids and acid groups. Acidity tends to increase with the fermentation of the milk (creation of lattic acid from lactose) and lipolisys phenomenons (liberation of fat acids).



Mountain territory that is used douring the summer period as a field for animal pasture and is particularly rich in natural qualities that subsequently appear in the milk. There are a lot of local terms that are used to indicate an alpeggio, the most used being Malga and Alpe.



Phisiological process that is found in milk when its left to rest, where the fat emulsion appears superficially in a spontaneous way due to the difference of specifical weight. It´s a technique used in making the partially skimmed milk and in the production of semifat cheese as Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano.



Sum of the olfactory elements that are found in a product that can be analyzed by retrosmelling the product: the olfactive molecules go though the retronasal canal instead of the nasal canal as usual.



Moulds that are used for shaping the cagliata when, after the permanence in the cauldron, it´s put to drip (soft cheese) or to be pressed (hard cheese). These moulds can be made either in wood, in metal or in sinthetic resins and usually have embedded the producer´s name and the date of making.


Breaking of the cagliata

Mechanic operation that brakes the thin upper-skin that forms on the milk douring processing, in order to hasten the separation between the serum and the other components. It is usually done with instruments that in the italian tradition are called "spini" or "lire". The breaking of the cagliata must be initially done coarsely, in a second period it will be done again in order to obtain the wanted dimensions, that vary from cheese to cheese: particles as big as a nut for soft and fresh cheese, as a corn for raw and pressed cheese, as a grain of rice for hard cheese.



With the term butter the Italian legislation denotes: "The product obtained with mechanic operations from the cream of cow´s milk, from cow´s serum or from a mix of both things". The most common mechanic operation is the use of the churn: beating on the milk cream in order to brake the upper skin (composed by little globules of fat) and separate the watery part.



First product from the milk coagulation, where caseines pass from a colloidal solution to a more solid consistence, usually as the result of the addition of rennet. Cagliata is casein in a gelatinous state separated from the sereum and it´s the forst step towards the making of the cheese.



The most abundant proteine in milk (approximately 80% of the proteine total); it´s divided in several fractions denominated with greek letters (alpha, beta and kappa) that with the aid of enzymes or acidity curdle originating the rennet. (see Cagliata)



Natural ambients where sometimes cheese (particularly soft cheese) is left to season. Their main characteristics are low temperatures and high levels of humidity, produced by air movements in the hollow rock. Famous caves are the Valsassina Caves where the Taleggio is seasoned, and the Roquefort fleurines.



The ideal place to keep one´s cheese, it has the optimal values of light, humidity and temperature necessary to the phisiological process of seasoning.


Cheese rind

Superficial stratus that forms after the chees has been salted, cooked or seasoned. In soft cheese the superficial microorganisms contribute in a relevant way to the definition of its organolectic properties, while in the other cheese types it mainly serves as a protection or as a vehicle for gas and water exchange. The rind can be washed, oiled or treated with paraffine in order to discourage the formation of mould.



Important passage in the caseary transformation, it´s the phase where caseines precipitate, with the formation of the cagliata and the separation of the the serum. It can be either acid (like in Robiola di Roccaverano, Quark, Mascarpon cheese) or originated by the addition of rennet (as in most of the cheese).



Usually referred to the inner part of the cheese or the rind of the cheese. It mainly depends on the milk used and the seasoning period passed.



Milk that is produced in the first days after giving birth and containing several chemicals that aren´t usually found in common milk.



Sum of the sensations that derive from the mastication of the cheese, its adherence to the tongue and upper palate. With this examination, tasters can determinate the cheese structure.


Cooked and semicooked cheese

Cheese cathegory that includes all the cheese that douring the process undergoes the rupture of the cagliata after it has been cooked in order to hasten the sineresys, give it an elastic consistence and facilitate the aggregation of the granules. The cooking temperature ranges from 44-45 °C (semicooking, it´s the case of Fontina, Asiago, Bitto ecc.) to 54-55 °C (cooking, it´s the case of Grana Padano, Parmigiano Reggiano, Emmenthal ecc.).



Important milk derivate, it separates douring the creaming part that is used douring the preparation of butter, but that can be also used in pastry industry. It´s made of a 25-40 % of fat, but all the other components remain practically equal to the originating milk.


D.O. Denomination of Origin

This is an Italian recognition, ordinated by the law number 125/54, that at the 2nd article states that: "Are recognized as Denomination of Origin all the cheese that are produced in geographically limited areas with the use of traditional and local methods and that have merceological characteristics mainly derived by the area of production."


D.O.P. Denomination of Protected Origin

Recognition that involves cheese or another product, ordinated by the CEE Regulation 2081/92 that in the 2nd article states that: "Denomination of Protected Origin: name of a region, a determinated area and in rare cases of a country that is used to indicate a particular alimentar or agricular product made in that area, possessing characteristics and qualities that are directly dependent from the geographical position (both by phisiological and human factors) and that is entirely produced and processed in the said area. "



Complex organic substance that favours particular chemical reactions; milk contains approximately 60 different enzymes and some of them have a particularly relevant use. Chimasys, pepsine and lipasys that are contained in the rennet are enzymes.



The balance that a particular cheese has of its various organolectic sensations. The more these are harmonic, the more the cheese has value.



This is a particular characteristic of cheese that present internally variegation of green and blue colour due to the presence of particular moulds. This is a characteristic of some renowed European cheese like Stilton, Roquefort and the French Bleu. The term deives from the dialect term of the Lombardia region Erborin (parsley), referred to the particular colour of the cheese. The French term is Persillé.



The two planes that are the superficial support in the cheese´ cylindrical forms. Usually there is an upper face and an inferior face and a number of other subdivision is made according to the superficial characteristics: there are plain faces (Grana, Parmigiano), convex faces (pressed Asiago) and hollow faces. Sometimes on the cheese´ faces is burned or plastered the origin moniker.



Fundamental part of the milk, where it can be found as suspended globules coated by a rich lipidic and vitaminic membrane. A classification of the various types of cheese is done by their fat percentage: light cheese (less than 20%), semifat cheese (ranging from 20 and 42%) and fat cheese (more than 42%).


Flowered rind

This means that the rind is partially or entirely formed of mould, determined by the presence of superficial microorganisms (Mucor and Penicillium) that give to the cheese the tipical gray-white colour (such as Taleggio or Camembert).



Defect that is usually found in hard, cooked cheese or in spun cheese. The cheese brakes innerly apart in foils; it´s a situation originated by a too quick coagulation, the use of acid milk or by the addition of either too much salt or pressure douring the seasoning process.



Exterior aspect of the cheese, reconducible to a solid geometrical form with variable dimensions: circular, coned, peared, squared ecc.


Fused cheese

Products obtained by the fusion of cheese with the addition of heat and eventually with the addition of milk, cream, water, specific salts...they are usually pasteurized and have a compact,. almost plastic constitution.



The feeling of grainy particles douring the mastication exam of a cheese sample.


Hard cheese

Cathegory that includes all types of cheese that have a water percentage inferior than 40%. In this cathegory you can find raw and pressed cheese, spun cheese, cooked and semicooked cheese.



Resistence that a cheese presents to a slight pressure of the mouth.



Sum of the holes that appear in the inner part of the cheese as a result of acid fermentations with gas production (more specifically carbon dioxide). Usually the holes are little and uniformly present in the whole cheese, but there are remarkable exception such as Emmenthal cheese, where the holes are quite big as results of propionic bacteria.


I.C.P. (Geographically Protected)

Recognition usually given to cheese or other alimentary product by the CEE Regulations 2081/92. The I.C.P. must not be confused with the D.O.P. (see D.O.P.) because to be granted an I.C.P. it´s just necessary to have a particular quality, some reputation or another characteristic that comes from the geographical area where the product is produced and/or processed.


Inoculation (or graft)

An addition to milk of selected and active cultures of microorganisms in order to hasten the lactose fermentation. The main substrata where the microorganisms are left to proliferate are milk and serum, thus the various addition will be called either milk inoculation or serum inoculation (spontaneous bacteria growth), milk ferment or serum ferment (selected bacteria growth).


Lactic ferments

Microorganisms (bacteria) that have an enourmous importance for the caseary industry, as they are the main responsables for the organolectic characteristics of the cheese by intervening in the fermentation process. A rough selection of the bacteria (including lactic bacteria) is made by thermization, while they are almost completely obliterated with the pasteurization.



The characteristic sugar present in milk, it represents the energetic substance that´s more quickly absorbed. Chemically it´s the union of a glucose molecule with a galactose molecule and (besides milk) is rarely found elsewere in nature. Lactose is not overly important in the caseary industry as it remains soluted in the milk serum, but it is nonetheless a decisive cause to the cheese organolectic characteristics as it ferments in lactic acid from the action of the lactic flora.



Scission process of the fat favoured by the presence of specific enzymes (lipasys). Lipolisys is quite important in the maturation process of some cheese types, particularly those types that have a high fat hydrolisys (in Pecorino and Provolone with the addition of lipasys and rennet, in Gorgonzola with the addition of lipasys made by moulds)



This term defines the retrolfactive sensation´s duration in time. When examining it, it´s important not to count the salty and spicy sensations, as they are changeable douring the caseification process and thus they don´t express the true nature of the product.



Global result of the various chemical and phisical reactions of the cagliata and that result in the future form, aroma, taste and consistency of the cheese. Both temperature and humidity must be controlled with the utmost care several times a day.



According to the Internationa Convention the definition of milk is. "The integral product obtained from the complete and uninterrupted milking of a healthy milking female, well nourished and not overly tired. The results must be accurately collected and must not contain colostrum. The simple denomination "milk" denotes only cow milk. The hygene of all the instruments used in the processing must assure that the natural composition will not be tarnished in any way". The general composition of cow milk is :Water 87-88 per cent, Fat 3,4-4,4 per cent, Proteines 3,0-3,5 per cent, Lactose c4,7-5,2 per cent, Mineral Salts 0,8-1 per cent. The milk derivated from other species is apt to be collected and processed: we must remind sheep and goat milk (highly valued) and buffalo milk.



Operation that has the specific task of getting milk from the various milking species; it can be done either manually or mechanically but must be done in a hygenichal way and not cause any relevand damages to the animal´s udder.


Mineral salts

Milk contains numerous mineral substances that play an important role in everyday alimentation. More specifically, milk has rich quantities of Calcium and Phosphorus (present in the most assimilable way for growing organisms) but has poor Iron values.



Microorganisms belonging to the Superior Prostitys kingdom (Eumicetys) of the genre Aspergillus, Mucor, Penicillum, that live as saprofites on organic substances forming with their bodies a more or less thick layer that can be either white, gray, greenish and sometimes black.



Chemical process that takes place when cheese is left for a long period exposed to the air. Oxidation produces visual alterations (to the cheese colour) and also taste and smell alterations (the fat matter becomes incresively rancid).



Sum of all the tactile sensations that are found in the oral cavity that define the number of sensorial cells engaged in the taste process and the quality of the sensation itself. Palatibility is generally determined by the fat sensations, while quantity is determined by the complexive balance that the cheese expresses.



Thermic treatment usually administered to raw milk for a minimum time of 15 seconds with a minimum temperature of 71,7 °C; as a result of this treatment the milk will present a negative reaction to the phosphatasys test. Pasteurization has the purpose of neutralizing all dangerous bacteria and germs, thus assuring a safe consume, but it also heightens its resistance to ambient temperatures.



A particular type of mould that usually is found in the inner or superficial part of cheese. Penicillum Roqueforti is the principal responsable of the characteristic colour and consistence of cheese such as Roquefort and Gorgonzola while Penicillum Camamberti is active on white cheese such as Camembert and Brie.



Particular human-made hole that is bottle-shaped and usually is 3 meters deep, with a 2 meter basys and a 1 meter entrance. It is usually dug in the tufa rock in the Sogliano al Rubicone (FO) and Talamello (PS) areas. In the production of pit cheese, the forms are put in the pit approximately around the half of August, then the pit is ermetically closed and never opened again until the 25th of November, Saint Catherine´s day, when the cheese is extracted and sold.



Process phase that is characteristic of hard, uncooked, cheese. Those types of cheese receive a continuous pressure for a determinated amount of time that can span from an hour to a whole day, with the sole puropse of expelling the serum before the rind forms completely.



Fundamental components of milk, with their functional properties they determin its organolectic characteristics. Proteins are eterogeneous and can be divided in two groups: caseines and serumproteines. More specifically, caseines are found suspended in milk and precipitate with the addition of rennet or by acidity.



Fundamental process in the aging of cheese that stands on the division of complex caseine molecules into simpler azotated substances (aminoacids): proteolisys is favoured by specific proteolitic enzymes.



Fresh cheese, produced industrially with pasturized milk coagulated by acidification with the addition of rennet and conserved with the chain of cold.Usually to be eaten in one or two weeks at most.


Raw cheese

Cheese cathegory that includes all those cheese types that don´t undergo the cooking of the cagliata. Fresh and soft cheese are in this cathegory and so are hard and semihard cheese as Bra, Raschera and Castelmagno (from Italy) and the english Cheddar.


Raw milk

Milk that wasn´t precessed in ant way and usually destinated to the cheese industry. This milk maintains all the naive microbic flora that was typical of its original ambient and this contributes strongly to the definition of the future organolectic properties of the cheese.



Rendering of the milk precessed in cheese. It´s expressable in percentage form (kilograms of cheese produced / 100 kilograms of milk used). Usually there is a rendering of 10%, but this data may vary from a 15.20% of fresh cheese to the 7-8% of hard cheese.



Animal extract that contains proteolitic enzymes (chimasi and pepsine) that curdle caseine. It´s usually produced from the abomasus (stomach) of young ruminants. Some rennets contain also lipasys, enzymes that can hydrolate fat. Rennet is found commercially in different forms: liquid, in powder, in paste or in capsules; other curdling substances can be either from vegetable origin or fungine origin.



According to the Italian legislation, Ricotta isn´t a cheese: it isn´t made with the coagulation of caseine in the milk, but from the coagulation of the serum proteines (byproduct of the processing of cow, sheep or goat milk) subjected to high temperatures (80-90 °C). Nutritionally speaking, Ricotta is a light product that has high values of noble proteines.



The last treatment that chees must undergo before the seasoning: salt acts as a conservant with antiseptic powers (it regualtes the microorganisms and bacteria presence) and has osmotic qualities (the cheese gives away serum and enriches of salt). Salting can be done with the "dry salting" method, with the immersion of the cheese in a brine bath or with the addition of salt to the milk or the cagliata.


Scalzo (lateral part)

This is the border part of the cheese form and can present a number of variations all depending on the mould used: it can be straight, convex or hollow. On most of the cheese, the lateral surface is the place where the producer stamps his mark and the cheese production date.


Sensorial Analisys

Analisys of a food product that is conduced thought the five human senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing and tact).



Final phase of cheese production that determinates the future condition of the cheese; it´s done usually in controlled ambients with specific microclimates (such as cellars, caves ecc.) or in thermoregulated cells and can last few days (for fresh cheese) up to one or more years (for the hard cheese). Douring this phase the cheese has to be tended daily with specific treatments and constantly turned in order to make an even seasoning.



Byproduct of the caseary industry, it contains lactose, serumproteines and mineral salts; it represents 90% of the initial milk volume. Partially reused with the fabbrication of serumferments and serumgrafts (see Graft) and the production od ricotta cheese (see Ricotta), it finds various applications in the sweets industry and as an aliment for pigs.



Proteins that don´t precipitate with the addition of rennet or from acidity, thus remaining in the milk. Usually they are noble components that with the fabbrication of Ricotta are reusable. Colostrum is expecially rich of both lactoalbumines and lactoglobulines, as they are the first antygenes that are given to the newborn.



The sum of all the factors that cause the expusion of the serum from the cagliata. Sineresys is more easy to happen when there is rennet, while happens rarely in acid coagulations as the cagliata contracts less.



Operation that has the use of separationg part of the fat from the milk. When it´s a natural process it´s called appearance (see Appearance), but it´s possible to mechanize it and make it faster with the aid of skimming machines that use centrifuge methods to separate the various components.



Sensorial character that derives from the sence of smell, effectuated by the action of smelling.



Action that consists in exposing a product to the smoke originated from the burning of particular vegetables. Several cheese are conserved with this method, as the smoke deposits on the rind and forms a protective coating.


Soft cheese

Cathegory that includes all types of cheese that have a water percentage higher than 40%. In this cathegory you can find mostly fresh cheese (Mozzarella, Robiola, Quartirolo ecc.) and medium seasoning cheese (Gorgonzola, Taleggio ecc.).


Sterilization (UHT)

Thermic treatment that is usually applied to raw milk for a minimum time of 1 second at a minimum temperature of 135°C; after this treatment milk won´t present significant alterations for a period of 15 days (passed in a30°C ambient).


Stufatura (heating)

This is a process that consists in leaving the cheese forms in a humid and heated ambient (24-28 °C) for a period of time that spans between a couple of hours and a whole day. This treatment helps to finish the the fermentation of cheese like Taleggio and Gorgonzola.


Spun cheese

Cheese cathegory that undergoes specific methods of making: the cagliata is left for a number of hours in a hot acid serum bath (70-90 °C) in order to demineralize it and make it acquire a plastic-like consistence. The resulting cheese is then processed with hot water to give it the desired shape. Famous spun cheese are Mozzarella, Provolone, Caciocavallo, Ragusano ecc.



Common alteration found in short cheese, caused by the presence of gaseous microorganism colonies. The swelling is "premature" when caused by lactose fermentation made by outsider bacteria (such as Coli) and "late" when it manifests at the end of the seasoning period, caused by butirric or propionic ferments.



Sensation produced by the ingestion of an alimentary product, taste is the leading sense in the examination of cheese.



Thermic treatment that is usually applied to raw milk, which is heated for at least 15 seconds to a temperature ranging between 58° and 68° Celsius. After this treatment the milk must give a positive reaction to the phosphatasys enzyme. The goal of this treatment is to reduce the native microorganisms found naturally in the milk without altering its caseary properties.


Typical Denomination

Recognition regarding cheese that is regulated by Italian law 125/54, that in the 2nd article states that:"Typical Denominations are cheese produced in the National territory with traditional and costant methods, whose particular merceological qualities are directly dependant from the production techniques".



Inner part of the cheese, just under the rind, that usually presents a more vivid colour tone and a more distinct aroma as it´s a part moer prone to the oxydating process.



Sum of all the sensations that are registered in the mouth area after having swallowed the cheese sample. It is valuated for it´s quality and duration.



Fermented milk obtained from Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Steptococco termophilus cultures. Whole milk, partially or completely skimmed, is processed with either a sterilization or a pasteurization process, then specific microorganisms are added and the resulting product is kept at a 4°C temperature until it´s consumed.


Termini e definizioni tratti da "Formaggi d'Europa: storia, modi di produzione, caratteristiche" edito da Slow Food Editore