Optimised cheese production: protein denaturation increases yield and quality

When producing (hard or semi-hard) cheese, the cheese yield can be increased by subjecting part of the cheese milk to a high temperature heat treatment.
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Sept. 23, 2011 - PRLog -- Thermal denaturation of whey proteins changes the protein structure so that part of the whey remains in the curd during the cheese-making process.

The percentage of denaturated medium can, however, not be increased to any level: too high a percentage of denatured whey protein would adversely affect both the cheese quality and the process sequence.

GEA TDS has already implemented this process in some plants in order to optimise cheese yield. Key factors to be taken into account during the planning phase are the adjustment to the existing overall plant, the products to be made and the flexibility required in the process. Different temperature and time combinations can often be customised to the particular application just as the amount or percentage of the medium to be denaturated.

The components used in the vat milk which already contain denaturated protein (e.g. whey cream, butter milk, starter) also have an influence on the quantity of milk that can additionally be denaturated without any loss in quality.

For processors with a wide range of different types of products, adjustment to the relevant recipe will usually be required. In view of the numerous specific requirements, GEA TDS will not offer a standard solution when planning a plant but will supply an individual concept, custom-tailored to the specific needs, and developed in cooperation with the customer.

Inline denaturation in parallel to an existing milk processing line can often be a feasible solution. Another option is a batch plant, which can frequently provide even higher flexibility. A further option is to integrate the function into a GEA sterilisation plant for bacteria concentrate.

Ideally, these parameters are already taken into account in plants which use a higher-level vat milk recipe. This means that a specific value for the proportion of denaturated massflows to be added can be defined in advance for any type of cheese or vat milk.

The results of these optimised applications in the process are a higher cheese yield and an improved product quality.
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