The protein content of cheese milk entering a dairy from farms varies significantly depending on the season and the breed of cow. Maintaining a consistent protein level is essential for uniform cheese production and to optimise the utilisation of the plant.
By using ultrafiltration it is possible to standardise and enrich the protein content by removing permeate. The ultrafiltration permeate can then be used to lower the protein content of e.g. milk drinks, skim milk powder without changing the casein/ whey protein ratio and thereby making full use of the dairy’s resources and ensuring a uniform product. The level of protein in the cheese milk can also be set to match the optimum level required by the down-stream cheese-making equipment.
Ulrik Lund Jakobsen, Director of GEA Filtration in Skanderborg, Denmark, explained that the removal of permeate by ultrafiltration can increase the protein content of the cheese milk from 2.8% up to around 3.6%. “The process gives us 30% flexibility in the protein level which means we can smooth out any seasonal variations, variations caused by the breed of the animal, and match protein levels to be ideal for any type of cheese-making equipment,” he said.
Not only does this standardisation have a dramatic effect on the production level of a cheese-making plant, and ensure a consistent product, it also reduces the quantity of other raw materials, such as rennet, necessary within the process.