Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/5/2007
Publication Date: 3/9/2008
Citation: Van Hekken, D.L., Tunick, M.H., Drake, M.A., Guerrero, V., Molina-Corral, F.J., Gardea, A.A. 2008. SENSORY AND RHEOLOGICAL TRAITS OF MEXICAN QUESO CHIHUAHUA. Meeting Abstract.
Interpretive Summary: n/a
Technical Abstract: Traditionally, Mexican Queso Chihuahua has been made from raw milk, but as food safety issues increase for cheeses sold with minimal aging, there is concern that pasteurization of the cheesemilk will alter the sensory traits (flavor and texture) unique to this cheese. An international study was developed to characterize the sensory traits of young cheese made with raw or pasteurized milk and to determine rheological changes that occurred with aging. Multiple brands of Queso Chihuahua were obtained within days of manufacture from the Chihuahua region of Mexico. Descriptive analyses of flavor and texture were conducted with panelists trained to a universal or product specific Spectrum™ intensity scale, respectively. Microbial analyses were conducted prior to testing to ensure product safety. Four brands were selected and obtained at 3 different times of the year (early winter, mid-spring, and summer) and aged at 4°C for up to four months. Rheological properties were measured every 4 weeks using texture profile, small amplitude oscillatory shear, and torsion analyses. Results showed that the most prominent attributes in the young cheeses were salty, sour, diacetyl, cooked, whey, bitter, and milkfat flavors with raw milk cheeses having more intense sour and bitter notes compared to the pasteurized milk cheeses. Many cheese texture attributes were similar, but raw milk cheeses were perceived as softer than the pasteurized milk cheeses. Rheological results supported that the raw milk cheeses were softer and their properties more variable than the pasteurized milk cheeses. Aging affected the rheology of the cheeses more than the seasonality of the cheesemilk with the seasonality impacting the rheology of the raw milk cheeses more than the pasteurized milk cheeses. As the demand for Hispanic-style cheeses increases, defining and understanding the sensorial and rheological attributes of traditionally-made Mexican cheeses provides guidance as new ways are explored to improve the production and shelf life of the cheese.