Submitted to: American Chemical Society Symposium Series
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/24/2012
Publication Date: 11/15/2012
Citation: Tunick, M.H., Van Hekken, D.L., Guo, L., Tomasula, P.M. 2012. Chemistry of Queso Fresco. In: Tunick, M., Gonzalez de Mejia, E., editors. Hispanic Foods: Chemistry and Bioactive Compounds; American Chemical Society Symposium Series, Washington, DC: American Chemical Society Publication. 1109:11-23. DOI: 10.1021/bk-2012-1109.ch002.
Technical Abstract: Queso Fresco (QF), the most popular Hispanic cheese in the U.S. and Mexico, was fully characterized in a series of studies intended to improve quality traits. QF is a non-melting variety made with rennet and without starter culture, and the curd is commonly finely milled to ensure a crumbly texture. In northern Mexico, QF is traditionally made from raw milk and has more moisture and less NaCl than QF made in the U.S. from pasteurized milk. Although QF normally contains up to 3% salt, lowering the salt content to 1.5% does not substantially alter its characteristics. During storage, activity of spoilage bacteria contributes to proteolysis, appearance of volatile compounds presumably generated from lipolysis, and decreases in lactose and pH levels, though the pH stays over 6.0. Texture, melt, and microstructure do not change appreciably over 8 weeks of storage, the typical shelf life for QF in the U.S., though shear strain and color intensity do change under certain conditions. A full knowledge of the qualities of QF will enable cheesemakers to create a better product.