Effect of xylitol on the functional properties of low-fat process cheese.



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Journal of Dairy Science








Process cheese (PC) is a dairy food prepared by blending natural cheese, salt, emulsifying salts, and other dairy and nondairy ingredients, and heating with continuous agitation to produce a homogeneous product. Fat is a critical component of PC and plays an important role in its functional characteristics. The health concerns associated with fat consumption have led to an increase in the demand for low-fat dairy products. Reducing the fat content of PC results in poor functional properties such as increased hardness and reduced melt characteristics. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effect of xylitol on the functional properties of low-fat PC. Three different low-fat PC formulations were prepared with 0% (control), 2%, and 4% xylitol. All 3 PC formulations were formulated to contain 5% fat, and each treatment was manufactured in triplicate. Rheological characteristics including elastic modulus, viscous modulus, and temperature at Tanδ = 1 (melt temperature) were determined using dynamic stress rheometry (DSR). The DSR was carried out at a frequency of 1.5 Hz and stress levels of 400 Pa, using a temperature sweep from 20 to 90°C. The hardness of the samples was determined by using texture profile analysis (TPA). Compositional analysis indicated that all treatments had similar fat, protein, and moisture contents. Elastic and viscous moduli results obtained with DSR showed a significant difference between 0% xylitol (control) and xylitol-containing treatments in the temperature range of 30 to 80°C. The melt temperature was not significantly different between the 3 treatments. However, TPA demonstrated that the addition of xylitol significantly decreased the hardness of low-fat PC. Based on TPA and DSR data obtained in this study, we determined that xylitol addition improved the functional properties of low-fat PC.