PROCESSING METHODS FOR HISPANIC-STYLE CHEESES WITH UNIQUE FUNCTIONAL PROPERTIES
Location: Eastern Regional Research Center
Project Number: 1935-41000-071-00
Start Date: Sep 25, 2004
End Date: Jul 07, 2009
The objectives of this research are to: (1) characterize and quantify the chemical and physical properties of Hispanic-style cheeses, (2) determine the cheesemaking steps or parameters that are responsible for developing these characteristics, and develop cheesemaking methods to produce pasteurized Hispanic-style cheeses that meet U.S. regulations and retain the desirable flavors and functional and textural properties of the traditional raw milk cheeses, and (3) develop sensory terminology to characterize the flavors of cheeses made with raw and pasteurized milk and relate flavor development to microflora present in the cheeses and the degree of proteolysis in the cheese.
This research will focus on understanding the factors that give Hispanic-style cheeses their distinctive flavors and functional and textural properties. The first step is to determine the properties of the most popular cheeses available on the market today by characterizing and quantifying the chemical, physical, functional, rheological, and textural properties of three types of Hispanic-style cheeses (Mennonite-style, Queso Fresco, and Queso Blanco); both the traditional raw milk cheeses from Mexico and the pasteurized milk cheeses from the United States and Mexico. At the same time, the cheese making steps or parameters that are key elements in developing the desired characteristics in Hispanic-style cheeses will be identified. The sensory characteristics of the cheeses will be defined, the impact of the microflora will be evaluated and compared in the raw milk and the pasteurized milk cheeses, and the proteolysis of the cheeses will be measured and correlated to sensory and physical properties. Once the specifications for the cheeses have been developed, the processing steps to produce pasteurized Hispanic-style cheeses that meet U.S. regulations and retain the targeted properties of the traditional cheeses will be adapted or modified from current procedures.