The fresh milk is poured into wide shallow vessels to enable the cream to naturally float to the top. The partially skimmed milk is preheated and then the starter whey is added. This is a bacterial flora culture that is similar to the starter culture used for yoghurt. The milk is then heated in the traditional copper boilers and natural rennet is added to start coagulation.
The curds that are thereby obtained are cut manually with a tool known as a spino into pieces that are as large as a substance of rice. The temperature is then raised to cook the curds. After cooking, they are left to cool. After about an hour they are left to drip from a hanging cheesecloth..
This substance is now cheese and is placed in cylindrical forms, where it takes on the characteristic shape of the cheese. A few days later, the already cylindrical shape is taken out and is plunged into a brine mixture (water and kitchen salt), where it will stay for a month. It will then be taken out, left to dry and matured in warehouses where it is kept in the dark at a constant temperature for over two years.
During these long months the master cheesemakers take care of the cheese, cleaning it and turning it over several times, brushing it and checking that it is maturing properly by smelling it and above all by using the characteristic hammer that is used to beat the cheese like a drum to listen for the right sound.
After a last quality check at the end of maturation the cheeses are selected that are suitable for becoming Bella Lodi: they will be coloured with the characteristic black rind that was once used for all grana (hard) cheeses, whether they were Lodigiano, Parmesan or Padano.