Crescenza, known as Stracchino, comes from Lombardy, Piedmont, and Veneto and is a fresh Italian dairy product. Today, this name refers to a fresh cheese prepared with whole cow’s milk and a raw curd that has a soft and buttery texture, which may be eaten immediately or after two weeks of maturing. Let’s see why this Crescenza cheese is so prominent among others.
Name Origin Theories
According to the first theory, the word “Crescenza” comes from the Italian word “stracca”, which translates as “weary.” It’s thought that cheese created from the milk of tired cows going up and down the Alps seasonally is higher in lipids and acidic.
The second theory says that the French monks taught villagers how to redirect water to avoid stagnant water and swamps, the primary source of malaria. In addition, methods of constant non-freezing streams were transferred to prevent the freezing of fields, making it possible to mow the grass in the winter. Therefore, the milk obtained from these animals was low in fat and had practically no vitamin value – the dairy product turned out to be “tired.”
The Process of Cheese Making
In Crescenza Stracchino cheese manufacturing used to be distinguished by traditional handcrafted skills, but now it’s solely industrial. Initially, the fat content of the milk is regulated to between 3.6% and 5.5%, and it’s pasteurized for 15 seconds at 72-75 °C. At 37-40 °C, there go milk enzymes and liquid calf rennet to the liquid body substance. Then, it’s allowed to coagulate in multipurpose vats or continuous coagulators.
The curd is mechanically broken up into walnut-sized grains and maintained slightly agitated for 30 minutes before being placed into the dairy product molds. The spread is left to develop at 25-30° C for 3-4 hours in locations with high humidity so that a rind does not develop on the curd, slowing down the whey drain.
Crescenza Сheese Characteristics
It’s a rindless, highly soft dairy product with a creamy, spreadable feel. It generally has a delicate and mild flavor. See the table below to find out the main characteristic features this cheese has.
|Made from||Pasteurized cow milk|
|Country of origin||Italy|
|Texture||Soft and buttery|
|Producers||Bellwether Farms, BelGioso Cheese|
If wrapped in paper or kept in an airtight container, it’ll last for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. The appearance of a little yellowish patina on the surface indicates that the dairy product is beginning to go bad.
How to Eat and What to Replace Crescenza With
Often, it’s eaten on its own as a cheese spread. There’s more than one recipe that contains this ingredient. It’s added to pizza, risotto, polenta, pasta, salads, and sauces.
Let’s look through the popular Italian recipes with this soft dairy product:
- Dessert-ice cream. Cut dairy product and fruit, fill it all with cream, and freeze.
- Pasta. Pasta dressed with the dairy product, sun-dried tomatoes, and spices to taste.
- Italian cheese popcorn. Sprinkle hot popcorn with the grated dairy product before serving.
Is there any Crescenza cheese substitute? The answer is simple: any available soft or curd alternative. In the most challenging cases, a regular processed dairy product with a creamy taste can replace Crescenza cheese.
What Is Crescenza Cheese?
Crescenza, also referred to as Stracchino, is an Italian dairy product made from cow’s milk that is prominent in Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto, and Liguria. It has no peel, a very soft, creamy texture, and a mild and gentle flavor. It’s normally eaten while it’s quite young.
How to Make Crescenza Cheese?
It’s made using whole semi-skimmed or pasteurized milk that’s been treated with lactobacillus at 37 degrees Celsius before rennet and olive oil are added. The cheese is cooked after coagulation before being soaked in brine and matured for 5-10 days.
Where Is Crescenza Cheese From?
According to legend, this fresh and rindless dairy product originated in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Romagna during the fall season. Most dairy products have traditionally been manufactured in the spring and summer when the pastures are lush and green, the days are long, and the milk is at its freshest.