The role of cultures and coagulants on taste and texture of cheese

To produce cheeses with just the right flavor and texture to appeal to very specific markets, it’s vital that cheesemakers select the right cultures, adjuncts and coagulants.

Choosing the right coagulant for the right texture

For pasta filata, Cheddar, and continental cheeses such as Gouda and Maasdam, texture, sliceability and shredability are key characteristics, as they can have important consequences on productivity and profitability. These textural traits are heavily influenced by proteolytic activity and a homogenous moisture distribution in the cheese.

Adding a coagulant with a low proteolytic activity – such as a coagulant enzyme that is highly specific towards k-casein and α-casein – to the production process, leads to a cheese with improved texture and moisture distribution, as well as better sliceability. This can result in 15% less waste during slicing. Improved sliceability also allows cheesemakers to increase the water content of a cheese by up to 2%, further increasing the quality of the final product. The economic gain achieved by improving the yield over the entire production run will impact the cost-effectiveness of the cheese production plant significantly.

Flavor also depends on choice of coagulant

Coagulant enzymes also play a key role in the flavor development of cheese. Firstly, they support cheese ripening by cutting the α-caseins to increase accessibility of the enzymes of the lactic acid bacteria; a process that aids the development of flavor. Secondly, specificity in cutting casein also helps to improve taste. This is because the right coagulant prevents the hydrolysis of β-caseins during ripening, avoiding the development of a bitter off-flavor taste.

The role of a culture in flavor development

The type and dosage of the culture used during the cheese development process are important in determining the final taste of a cheese. Cheese cultures have two functionalities. Their acidifying properties decrease the pH scale in a product and thereby affect the taste and texture of the cheese. Cultures also help to further develop taste components by breaking down available sugars (such as lactose and galactose) and proteins, which impacts taste, texture and therefore the characteristics of the final cheese. Both aspects are closely connected.

DSM helps cheesemakers optimize texture and taste

DSM provides cultures and coagulants to help cheesemakers worldwide produce cheeses with just the right texture and flavor to appeal to their very specific markets. Our Delvo® Cheese and Ceska®Star starter cultures help dairy manufacturers optimize cheese production while improving cheese flavor, texture and quality. Our Flavor Wheel™ with the Ceska®Star and Delvo®ADD adjuncts enable cheese producers to achieve distinctive and delicious flavor and/or texture profiles.

DSM also offers a full vegetarian coagulant product range that has VLOG, Kosher, Halal and benzoate-free status. Within this range, our new Milase® Premium enables producers to maintain texture and flavor stability in traditional and low-fat Gouda and Maasdam cheeses throughout shelf life, while also preventing any off-notes in matured cheese. Characteristics of this rennet closely resemble the quality obtained with traditional chymosin products.

To meet stringent cheese quality requirements, DSM’s Fromase® range of vegetarian coagulants obtains the golden standard for large-scale economic and consistent production of cheese. It offers the purest microbial rennet on the market, with high thermolability for an optimal whey value.

Finally, our Maxiren® range of vegetarian-specific fermentation-produced chymosin (FPC) coagulants – 100% pure chymosin enzymes produced by fermentation – offers proven performance in meeting needs without negatively impacting taste or texture. In particular, Maxiren® XDS delivers the highest yield, unique whey quality and superior slicing performance in the industry, while increasing moisture by up to 2,0 % and maintaining cheese quality.

More information?

Whether you are producing continental, mozzarella, Cheddar, cottage, white or Swiss cheeses, DSM’s experts will gladly provide a sample of the appropriate starter culture, adjunct or coagulant. Contact our experts for more information.

Food Fact

Research indicates that selecting the right coagulant can lead to a carbon footprint reduction of 3.5% across the total cheese production process.1

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Published on

25 March 2024