Ultrafiltered milk reduces bitterness in reduced fat Cheddar cheese made with an exopolysaccharide-producing culture.



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Journal of Dairy Science








The objectives were to reduce bitterness in reduced-fat Cheddar cheese made with an exopolysaccharide (EPS)-producing culture and study relationships among ultra-filtration (UF), residual chymosin activity (RCA), and cheese bitterness. In previous studies, EPS-producing cultures improved the textural, melting, and viscoelastic properties of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. However, the EPS-positive cheese developed bitterness after 2 to 3 mo of ripening due to increased RCA. We hypothesized that the reduced amount of chymosin needed to coagulate UF milk might result in reduced RCA and bitterness in cheese. Reduced-fat Cheddar cheeses were manufactured with EPS-producing and nonproducing cultures using skim milk or UF milk (1.2×) adjusted to a casein:fat ratio of 1.35. The EPS-producing culture increased moisture and RCA in reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. Lower RCA was found in cheese made from UF milk compared with that in cheese made from control milk. Ultrafiltration at a low concentration rate (1.2×) produced EPS-positive, reduced-fat cheese with similar RCA to that in the EPS-negative cheese. Slower proteolysis was observed in UF cheeses compared with non-UF cheeses. Panelists reported that UF EPS-positive cheese was less bitter than EPS-positive cheese made from control milk. This study showed that UF at a low concentration factor (1.2×) could successfully reduce bitterness in cheese containing a high moisture level. Because this technology reduced the RCA level (per g of protein) to a level similar to that in the control cheeses, the contribution of chymosin to cheese proteolysis would be similar in both cheeses.