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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Dairy and Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #317470

Research Project: Effect of Processing of Milk on Bioactive Compounds in Fresh High-Moisture Cheeses

Location: Dairy and Functional Foods Research

Title: Sodium reduction in starter-free Queso Fresco

item Van Hekken, Diane
item Tunick, Michael
item Renye, John
item GUO, L - Northeast Agricultural University
item REN, D - Zhejiang University
item Tomasula, Peggy

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/9/2015
Publication Date: 4/11/2016
Citation: Van Hekken, D.L., Tunick, M.H., Renye Jr, J.A., Guo, L., Ren, D., Tomasula, P.M. 2016. Sodium reduction in starter-free Queso Fresco. Meeting Abstract. IDF Parallel Symposia. Programme and Abstracts. p. 134.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Creating lower sodium Queso Fresco (QF) for health conscious consumers is a challenge when this high-moisture, higher pH, starter-free cheese relies on high salt levels to control the microflora and to obtain its signature salty taste. In phase 1, QF made from pasteurized, homogenized bovine milk without starter cultures and with 0-2.5% added NaCl (w/w) were evaluated over eight 8 wk of 4C storage. Although salt level did influence water activity and torsion rheological properties of the QF, the biggest impact was on the microbiology. At = 1.0% NaCl, bacteria that survived pasteurization showed a 4 log increase and reduced pH up to 0.6 units. In phase 2, QF containing 1.0% NaCl with 0.5, 1.0, 1.3, or 1.5% added KCl were evaluated for microbiology and quality traits over 12 wk of 4C storage; salt levels of 2% NaCl-0% KCl (control) and a 0.75% NaCl-0.75% KCl were also tested. Bacteria counts decreased slightly after 2 wk of storage and then increased 1-2.7 logs over the next 8 wk with no significant differences noted among the salt treatments; pH remained stable at 6.2 +/- 0.1. Compared to the saltiness score of the 2% NaCl control QF, QF containing = 1.0% KCl were less salty while the 1.3 and 1.5% KCl QF were similar with a slight off-flavor detected in the 1.5% KCl QF. Results from this study will help in developing a reduced sodium QF that meets the criteria of the cheese manufacturer and the health conscious consumer.