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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: PROCESSING METHODS TO MODIFY THE LEVELS OF BIOLOGICALLY ACTIVE COMPOUNDS IN MILK AND CHEESE

Location: Dairy and Functional Foods

Title: Effect of salt on the chemical, functional, and rheological properties of Queso Fresco during storage

Authors
item Guo, Ling -
item Van Hekken, Diane
item Tomasula, Peggy
item Shieh, James
item Tunick, Michael

Submitted to: International Dairy Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 16, 2010
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Citation: Guo, L., Van Hekken, D.L., Tomasula, P.M., Shieh, J.J., Tunick, M.H. 2011. Effect of salt on the chemical, functional, and rheological properties of Queso Fresco during storage. International Dairy Journal. 21:352-357.

Interpretive Summary: Although salt is a widely used and effective traditional preservative and flavor enhancer, high sodium intakes in cheeses can also bring health risks (high blood pressure, heart attack, kidney disease and stroke). This has led to recommendations by many health organizations that Americans significantly decrease sodium and salt intake. Low-salt cheeses currently available in the market are limited by flavor and functionality. Queso Fresco (QF) is a soft, high moisture and fresh Hispanic cheese that contains high levels of salt. In this study, QF were made containing different levels of salt and aged up to 2 months to determine the role of salt in the matrix as it relates to functionality, texture and microstructure. Based on the minor changes in compositional, functional and textural properties, it is feasible to lower the salt concentration in QF to 1.5% before quality traits are altered. The results will be useful in developing low-salt Hispanic-style cheeses with optimum quality and food safety.

Technical Abstract: The contribution of salt to the functional and rheological properties of Queso Fresco (QF), a high-moisture fresh Hispanic-style cheese, was investigated to provide the basis for developing a low-salt version. QF was manufactured in triplicate from pasteurized, homogenized milk using a commercial procedure without starter cultures; dry milled curds were salted at levels of 0, 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2 and 2.5% (wt/wt curd). Color change was slightly variable at different salt levels before and after heating, especially for aged cheeses. Salt content altered the shear stress, shear strain, and shear rigidity of QF cheese. However, texture profile analysis and small amplitude oscillatory shear analysis showed no differences between cheeses due to salt content or storage time. Decreasing salt levels to 1.5% is feasible in QF processing without causing major changes in cheese texture traits. The results will be useful in developing low-sodium Hispanic-style cheeses with optimum quality and food safety.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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