Abstract: The residual annatto colorant in liquid whey is bleached to provide a desired neutral color in dried whey ingredients. This study evaluated the influence of starter culture, whey solids and composition, and spray drying on bleaching efficacy. Cheddar cheese whey with annatto was manufactured with starter culture or by addition of lactic acid and rennet. Pasteurized fat-separated whey was ultrafiltered (retentate) and spray dried to 34% whey protein concentrate (WPC34). Aliquots were bleached at 60 °C for 1 h (hydrogen peroxide, 250 ppm), before pasteurization, after pasteurization, after storage at 3 °C and after freezing at −20 °C. Aliquots of retentate were bleached analogously immediately and after storage at 3 or −20 °C. Freshly spray dried WPC34 was rehydrated to 9% (w/w) solids and bleached. In a final experiment, pasteurized fat-separated whey was ultrafiltered and spray dried to WPC34 and WPC80. The WPC34 and WPC80 retentates were diluted to 7 or 9% solids (w/w) and bleached at 50 °C for 1 h. Freshly spray-dried WPC34 and WPC80 were rehydrated to 9 or 12% solids and bleached. Bleaching efficacy was measured by extraction and quantification of norbixin. Each experiment was replicated 3 times. Starter culture, fat separation, or pasteurization did not impact bleaching efficacy (P > 0.05) while cold or frozen storage decreased bleaching efficacy (P < 0.05). Bleaching efficacy of 80% (w/w) protein liquid retentate was higher than liquid whey or 34% (w/w) protein liquid retentate (P < 0.05). Processing steps, particularly holding times and solids composition, influence bleaching efficacy of whey.
Practical Application: Optimization of whey bleaching conditions is important to reduce the negative effects of bleaching on the flavor of dried whey ingredients. This study established that liquid storage and whey composition are critical processing points that influence bleaching efficacy.