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ABSTRACT

The role of age and fat content on the sensory texture properties of Gouda cheeses was investigated. Twenty-one Gouda cheeses were collected from domestic and international sources. The cheese samples represented a range of typical ages and fat contents (3 months to 5 years; 12.2–33.9% fat). A descriptive sensory analysis of texture was conducted using an established cheese texture language. Representative cheese samples were selected for consumer acceptance testing. Two consumer tests (n = 90 consumers each day) were conducted to evaluate the effect of age and fat content on acceptance and consumer perception of texture. Results were analyzed by analysis of variance with means separation. Internal preference mapping was also applied to consumer data. Descriptive panelists documented specific differences in texture attributes with cheese age and fat content (P < 0.05). Consumers also documented differences in color, flavor, texture and overall liking of cheese samples based on age and fat content. A wide variability in color and flavor liking was documented. In contrast, most consumers preferred a smooth, cohesive texture in Gouda cheeses while fracturability, firmness and springiness contributed to a decrease in texture liking and were negatively associated with liking, regardless of flavor. Flavor is a key driver for consumer acceptance of Gouda cheeses. However, there is an ideal or optimum texture concept, and deviation from the expected or desired texture negatively impacts overall liking.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

This study demonstrates the impact of age and fat removal on texture characteristics of Gouda cheese. Consumer perception of these attributes is also addressed. In the case of Gouda cheeses, the ideal texture of Gouda cheese is described by American consumers as “smooth” and “creamy.” These terms correspond to mild or young cheeses that display trained panel texture attributes of cohesiveness, breakdown, smoothness of mass and smoothness of mouth coating.