The processing of Pecorino Romano, limited to the regions of Lazio, Sardinia and the province of Grosseto in Tuscany, is the fruit of centuries of experience. The basic steps are still entrusted to the hand of man, in particular to the expert hands of the cheesemaker and the salter.
Fresh sheep’s milk, from flocks reared in the wild and fed on natural pastures, is transferred to the processing centres with their modern refrigerated tanks. Upon arrival in the dairy, the milk is measured, filtered and processed directly in the raw state or heated to a maximum temperature of 68°C for no more than 15 seconds.
The curd-making vats are filled in this way and the “scotta innesto” starter culture added, a starter which is prepared daily by the cheesemaker using a process passed down over the centuries.
The innesto is one of the defining characteristics of Pecorino Romano and consists of a group of indigenous thermophilic lactic bacteria.
Once the innesto is added, the milk coagulates at a temperature between 38°C and 40°C using lamb’s rennet in paste form. Ascertaining the optimum moment for the hardening of the coagulate, the cheesemaker proceeds to break it until the curd pieces are the size of a grain of wheat.
After cooling, the rounds receive the marking. The PDO marking is affixed with a stamp that impresses on the round, as well as the designation of origin of the cheese and the logo (the stylised head of a sheep), also the initials of the producer and the date of production.