Milking and milk transport

Manual and mechanical

After milking, the milk must not remain at room temperature and must be immediately processed into cheese or refrigerated to a maximum temperature of 4ºC to avoid microbial growth.

The collection and transport of the milk must be carried out under good hygienic conditions, in isothermal tanks, refrigerated tanks or any other system that guarantees that the quality of the milk does not deteriorate, and that ensures that the temperature does not exceed 10ºC during the whole journey or at the point of destination.

Curdling and curd cutting

Know the right time

The milk is coagulated with natural rennet or other coagulating enzymes authorised by law. For this process, the milk is heated in a water bath or steam bath at a temperature of 28ºC to 32ºC for 30 to 60 minutes.

The curd obtained is subjected to successive cuts. The ideal moment for cutting is when the curd is of the right consistency. The movements of the cutting elements must be slow and the cutting surface as fine and sharp as possible.

Moulding and pressing

Types of moulds

The curd is placed in cylindrical moulds by manual or mechanical means. During moulding, the flat sides of the cheese are printed with the flower (“flor”) mark and the side surface is printed with the “pleita”, or plaiting design.

Once the curd has been placed in the moulds, it is pressed for between 1 and 6 hours. At this stage, or at the moulding stage, the statutory casein mark is applied (in a central position), to allow individual identification of each piece.

Removal from the mould and salting

From 5 to 48 hours of curdling

Once the necessary time has elapsed, the cheeses are removed from the moulds.

After pressing and removal from the mould, the cheese is salted, which may be done either wet (brine) or dry, or a combination of both, using sodium chloride.

In the case of immersion in brine, this stage will last for a minimum of five hours and a maximum of 48 hours.


The importance of conservation

The cheeses are matured for a minimum of 30 days for cheeses weighing less than 1.5kg and 60 days for cheeses weighing more than 1.5kg, counted from the date of moulding. During this period, the necessary turning and cleaning practices are applied until the cheese obtains its particular characteristics.

The maturing rooms or chambers must have systems that guarantee the clear identification and separation of cheeses that may be covered by the Manchego Cheese Protected Designation of Origin.

In these rooms or chambers, a temperature of between 3ºC and 16ºC and a relative humidity of between 75% and 90% must be maintained throughout the entire process.