QUALITY

Raw-milk pecorino cheese
The milk used to make our cheese is obtained from sheep, hand-milked directly in the pastures where our flocks are kept. The milk is processed within 24 hours after the milking, without any process of pasteurization. Natural calf or pork rennet is added to the raw, whole milk after it is warmed up to a temperature of 32-36 °C.
Raw milk cheese benefits, in comparison to cheeses manufactured after milk pasteurization, for different reasons. In fact, coagulation at a low temperature entails that:

• volatile aromas are not lost, thereby conferring to the cheese flavor and aromas typical of the grasses in the pastures on which the flocks fed.
• the natural microbial flora of the milk remains intact, generating cheeses with typical flavors that differ from farm to farm.
• nutritional characteristics of the milk (see the chart below) are maintained, although values can vary in function of the pastures and therefore of the feeding of the sheep, of the lactation season, of the places and micro-habitats where the products are kept for aging/ripening.

COMPOSITION average for the sheep milk (g/100g)
WATER 81.75    
FAT 7.09    
PROTEINS 5.75   %
Casein 4.42 αs1 + αs2 29.60
    β 55.10
    K 8.90
    G 6.50
Soluble proteins 1.06 β–lattoglobuline 51.40
    α- lattoalbumine+sieroalbumine 25.10
    proteosi-peptoni 5.60
    globulina 17.90
N non proteinous 0.265 urea 44.80
    aminoacidi 15.70
    creatinina 1.70
    creatina 2.40
    ammoniaca 0.10
    ac. urico 2.10
    n.d. 33.30
LACTOSE 4,61    
ASHES 0.93    

FAT
The fat content of different kinds of milk is almost wholly responsible for taste and aroma found in cheese. It is in the lipid fraction of milk that most of the aromas originating from the food eaten by the animals are dissolved, as for instance the typical aromas of essences assumed by the animals in pastures. The fat, during the process of cheese making, is almost entirely incorporated in the curd’s net, positively influencing the quantity of cheese.

PROTEINS
Proteins are divided into two categories with different characteristics and of fundamental importance in cheese making.
Casein, represents approximately 82% of the protein found in milk, under the action of chymosin, an enzyme present in rennet, thickens and coagulates the milk generating the "curdle" and trapping globules of fat in the curd’s net. Its importance is therefore fundamental in the process of cheese making, as the speed of formation of the curd clot and its consistency are decisive for the quantity and quality of the cheese produced.
The other proteins are serum proteins, the so-called soluble proteins (J-lactoglobulines, alpha-lactoalbumines and serum albumines), of smaller molecular weight with respect to casein. These serum proteins don't have the ability to coagulate under the action of rennet and therefore remaining in the whey. To provoke the coagulation of such proteins, higher temperatures are needed. Heating the whey to 90°C, these proteins separate in the form of floccules which float up to surface, and are picked-up for the production of “ricotta”. Serum proteins are present in sheep milk in a higher percentage in comparison to goat and cow milk thereby conferring superior biological value to the milk, rich in essential amino acids.

LACTOSE
Lactose is the sugar contained in milk; it is a disaccharide formed by a molecule of glucose and one of galactose, giving milk it’s sweet taste and constituting a substrate for numerous microorganisms, some if which are necessary for the production of cheese products based on fermented milk. In the process of cheese making, a light acidification of the milk facilitates the formation of the curd. During the first phase of maturation of cheese, the lactose's fermentation induced by the lactic bacteria facilitates purging of the whey, thus determining the regular maturation of the product.

ASHES
The salts present in the milk can be divided in macro and micro-constituents; of the first ones, calcium and phosphorus are particularly studied, for their nutritional importance, and for their protein stabilization role during the coagulation process. Among the microelements, iron and copper are particularly important for their catalytic activity during the oxidization of fat, as well as other metals as components of some enzymes. Products manufactured from raw milk are therefore variable, but also richer in taste due to a range of scents and incomparable aromas and have higher nutritional values.

NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES
The nutritional properties of our cheeses (and of genuine cheeses in general), aged/ripened or fresh, are a mine of nutritional elements that are precious for our organism such as calcium and phosphorus, proteins of high biological value, vitamin Á. and those of the group B (B2 or riboflavin and B12). Vitamin B2 is especially important for protecting skin and mucous membranes.
According to the data from the Superior Institute of Nutrition, cheese products marketed in Italy and in Western Europe supply 20 - 50% of the total of proteins, the 60% of calcium, the 30% of vitamin Á. and the 50% of vitamins of the group B. Furthermore, they furnish us with a notable caloric source. Here below, are some examples:

Cheese Kcal Proteins Carbohydrates Fats Calcium Phosphorus
Grana Padano 381 35,5 g < 1 g 25,0 g 1290 mg 702 mg
Asiago 378 33,0 g < 1 g 27,0 g 924 mg 560 mg
Parmigiano Reggiano 374 36,6 g < 1 g 25,6 g 1340 mg 800 mg
Pecorino Stagionato 366 28,5 g < 1 g 28,0 g 1160 mg 675 mg
Fontina 360 27,0 g 0 g 28,0 g 700 mg 540 mg
Ricotta salata 285 14,3 g 7 g 25,0 g 1100 mg 1100 mg
Mozzarella Bufala 279 18,0 g n.d. 21,0 g 220 mg 300 mg
Ricotta fresca 189 9,5 g < 1 g 15,0 g 274 mg 270 mg
(valori medi per 100 g di prodotto)

TRADITIONAL METHOD OF OUR MASTER CHEESE MAKERS

The fresh sheep milk is sifted through a thin cloth in a copper pot.

The milk is brought to a temperature of 35-37°C using a direct flame under the pot. Once the temperature has been reached, the heat of the flame is turned off and the rennet is added. Calf and pig rennet are used. The milk and rennet are stirred in a circular motion using a wooden rod they are mixed thoroughly and to end the procedure a sign of the cross is made with the rod over the pot three times in the traditional Christian way.
The milk is left then to sit for 30-40 minutes waiting for the rennet to act and the curd is formed. The curd is broken when ready and only experience in making this cheese dictates when it is time. The curd is then broken with the wooden rod in a fast circular motion so that the pieces are as tiny as possible.
Very slowly, in a masterly way, the wooden rod is used is then used to separate the cheese and whey, after which it is placed in baskets to form the cheese and the whey is gently pressed out. The typical aspect of wrinkles of the cheese is formed this way. After the cheese has been drained of the whey it is left to purge and then it is salted. The forms are set aside to ripen in grottos until the time in which the product is ready to be consumed.

Indirizzi


View enlarged map

Il Tratturo Caseificio
Via Dante Alighieri 133 65012 Cepagatti (Pe)
Tel/Fax: 085 9749660
Tel: 085 4915371
info@caseificioiltratturo.it
P.IVA 01819790682