Effects of Ingredients on the Functionality of Fat-free Process Cheese Spreads


  • We thank the FMC Corporation (Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.A.) and BK Ladenburg (Simi Valley, Calif., U.S.A.) for supplying emulsifying salts for this study and Systems Bio-Industries, Inc. (Waukesha, Wis., U.S.A.) for providing the hydrocolloids. Appreciation is also extended the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research for use of equipment and facilities. This research was supported in part by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.


Emulsifying salts and hydrocolloids, cook time, cook temperature, and pH were evaluated to characterize their effects on firmness, meltability, and spreadability of fat-free process-cheese spreads. Disodium phosphate and trisodium citrate produced properties closest to those of a full-fat reference cheese, with trisodium citrate providing the most meltability. In all cases, incorporation of hydrocolloids resulted in increased firmness, decreased melt, with varying results on spreadability. Increases in cook time generally produced softer, more meltable cheeses, while increases in cook temperature decreased firmness and increased meltability and spreadability.