The influence of milk pasteurization temperature and pH at curd milling on the composition, texture and maturation of reduced fat cheddar cheese


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Reduced fat milks were pasteurized, for 15 s, at temperatures ranging from 72 to 88°C to give levels of whey protein denaturation varying from ˜ 3 to 35%. The milks were converted into reduced fat cheddar cheese (16–18% fat) in 500 litre cheese vats; the resultant cheese curds were milled at pH values of 5.75 and 5.35. Raising the milk pasteurization temperature resulted in impaired rennet coagulation properties, longer set-to-cut times during cheese manufacture, higher cheese moisture and moisture in the non-fat cheese substance, lower levels of protein and calcium and lower cheese firmness. Increasing the pH at curd milling from 5.35 to 5.75 affected cheese composition and firmness, during ripening, in a manner similar to that of increasing milk pasteurization temperature. Despite their effects on cheese composition and rheology, pasteurization temperature and pH at curd milling had little influence on proteolysis or on the grading scores awarded by commercial graders during ripening over 303 days.