Submitted to: Journal of Food Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/29/2009
Publication Date: 9/8/2010
Citation: Tunick, M.H., Van Hekken, D.L. 2010. Rheology and texture of Queso Fresco cheeses made from raw and pasteurized milk. Journal of Food Quality. 33:204-215.
Interpretive Summary: Hispanic cheeses such as Queso Fresco are gaining in popularity in the US. The milk for making Queso Fresco in the US must be pasteurized, and the resulting cheese is perceived by some consumers to be inferior in flavor and texture to the traditional variety made from raw milk. Queso Fresco samples made in Mexico from both kinds of milk and made in the US from pasteurized milk were analyzed to see if there were differences in texture, structure, and the ability to twist and break pieces of the cheese. The cheeses made in the US contained less moisture and were too hard, crumbly, and brittle when compared to the raw milk cheeses. The differences observed should enable US companies to make Queso Fresco with properties close to those of the raw milk variety.
Technical Abstract: Queso Frescos made in Mexico from raw milk (RM) were compared with cheeses made in Mexico and the US from pasteurized milk (PM) to determine textural and rheological differences. RM cheese, considered the ideal Queso Fresco, contained more moisture than PM cheeses, displayed higher cohesiveness and shear strain, and exhibited lower hardness and shear stress. The US-made cheeses were harder and more brittle and crumbly than the Mexican cheeses. The shear stress decreased as fat content increased in all samples, and the shear strain decreased as the pH increased in the Mexican cheeses. An understanding of the differences between the RM and PM versions should allow cheesemakers to adjust manufacturing procedures so that PM Queso Fresco cheeses will meet consumer expectations.