Submitted to: Journal of Food Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/4/2012
Publication Date: 2/1/2012
Citation: Tunick, M.H., Van Hekken, D.L., Iandola, S.K., Tomasula, P.M. 2012. Characterization of Queso Fresco during storage at 4 and 10 deg C. Journal of Food Research. 1:308-391.
Interpretive Summary: Hispanic cheeses such as Queso Fresco are becoming more popular among American consumers, but their quality traits have not been studied thoroughly. Queso Fresco samples were made in our laboratory, stored up to 8 weeks at 40 and 50 F, and examined for composition, taste, color, melting, texture, structure, and the ability to twist and break pieces of the cheese. Some of the protein and fat were broken down during storage, but the characteristics of the cheese did not change otherwise. Queso Fresco may be stored for at least eight weeks without affecting the quality of the product. This information is valuable for Hispanic cheese producers.
Technical Abstract: The chemical, rheological, textural, functional, and sensory aspects of Queso Fresco, a popular Hispanic cheese variety made without starter culture and with a pH over 6, were evaluated during storage at 4 and 10 deg C. Decreases in lactose and pH levels were observed and attributed to activity by nonstarter bacteria. The appearance of volatile compounds derived from lipids indicated that lipolysis was taking place, and some proteolysis was also noted in electrophoresis studies. The cheese had a characteristic crumbly body and was bright white and non-melting. Minor variations in texture profile, torsion, color, and melt analyses were seen throughout 8 wk of storage. No microstructural changes were seen. A consumer taste panel generally liked two commercially-made cheeses and a cheese made in our pilot plant, and could not distinguish one of the commercial samples from the pilot plant sample. The results provide a basis for assessing the quality traits of Queso Fresco.