A Written Report

ORDONIO, Mark Angelo A. ChE 41 - B January 8, 2010

DEFINITION Cheese is a solid or semisolid food product prepared from the milk of cows, ewes, goats, or other mammals. Most cheese today is made from cows' milk. Cheese has been made since prehistoric times—it is one of the world’s oldest food products—for thousands of years, people have raised animals for milk, turning their surplus milk into cheese. It is an important item in the diet of almost all peoples, because it is relatively easy to make and can be preserved for fairly long periods of time. According to the National Dairy Council, "All cheese is made from milk, but different manufacturing and aging processes are used to produce the array of cheese available today. Cheese is made by coagulating or curdling milk, stirring and heating the curd, draining off the whey (the watery part of milk), collecting and pressing the curd, and in some cases ripening. Cheese can be made from whole, 2%, low fat, 1 % low fat or fat-free milk, or combinations of these milks. About one third of all milk produced each year in the United States is used to make cheese. In 1998, 9.7 billion pounds of natural and processed cheeses were produced." Cheese can be broadly categorized as acid or rennet cheese, and natural or process cheeses. Acid cheeses are made by adding acid to the milk to cause the proteins to coagulate. Fresh cheeses, such as cream cheese or queso fresco, are made by direct acidification. Most types of cheese, such as cheddar or Swiss, use rennet (an enzyme) in addition to the starter cultures to coagulate the milk. The term ―natural cheese‖ is an industry term referring to cheese that is made directly from milk. Process cheese is made using natural cheese plus other ingredients that are cooked together to change the textural and/or melting properties and increase shelf life. ETYMOLOGY The word cheese ultimately comes from Latin caseus from which the modern word casein is closely derived. The earliest source is from the proto-IndoEuropean root kwat-, which means "to ferment, become sour". When the Romans began to make hard cheeses for their legionaries' supplies, a new word started to be used: formaticum, from caseus formatus, or "molded cheese" (as in "formed", not "moldy"). It is from this word that we get the French fromage, Italian formaggio, Catalan formatge, Breton fourmaj and Provençal furmo. Cheese itself is occasionally employed in a sense that means "molded" or "formed".


HISTORY It was believed that the first cheese was produced inadvertently, probably through the practice of carrying milk in pouches made from animal stomachs. Bacteria in milk and digestive juices from the stomach worked together to form a curd and then crude cheese. Cheesemaking may originate from nomadic herdsmen who stored milk in vessels made from the sheep’s' and goats' stomachs. Because their stomach linings contained an ideal mix of lactic acid, wild bacteria as milk contaminants and rennet, the milk would ferment and coagulate. A product reminiscent of yogurt would have been produced, which, through gentle agitation and the separation of curds from whey would have resulted in the production of cheese; the cheese being essentially a concentration of the major milk protein, casein, and milk fat. The whey proteins, other minor milk proteins, and the lactose are all removed in the cheese whey. Cheesemaking artifacts dating from 2000 BC have been found. Romans developed a large cheese industry, and later cheesemaking became a specialty of monasteries. Many European abbeys developed secret recipes, and particular varieties began to be developed in certain region of Europe. NUTRITIONAL IMPORTANCE Milk conversion to cheese is an excellent method because virtually all the fat and most of the protein are retained, and the latter is partially digested. However, nearly all the sugar (lactose) and some of the minerals, protein, and vitamins escape into the whey. Today, cheese whey is condensed or dried and used for animal feeds or special dietary human foods. Because cheese is a high-protein food, it is an ideal nutritional replacement for meat in a vegetarian diet. It is rich in the essential amino acids, calcium, protein, phosphorus, other minerals and vitamins, and has a high calorific value. A 30gram (1.1 oz) serving of Cheddar cheese contains about 7 grams (0.25 oz) of protein and 200 milligrams of calcium. Nutritionally, cheese is essentially concentrated milk: it takes about 200 grams (7.1 oz) of milk to provide that much protein, and 150 grams (5.3 oz) to equal the calcium. Cheese is valued for its portability, long life, and high content of fat, protein, calcium, and phosphorus. Cheese is more compact and has a longer shelf life than milk. Cheesemakers near a dairy region may benefit from fresher, lowerpriced milk, and lower shipping costs. The long storage life of some cheese, especially cheese that encased in a protective rind, allows selling when markets are favorable.


RAW MATERIALS USED There are four components that are used in making cheese: milk, starter cultures, coagulants and rennet, and finally salt and other additives. MILK The main ingredient in cheese is milk. Cheese is made using cow, goat, sheep, or a blend of these milks. Milk, can be broken down into its essential parts that play a role in making cheese. Milk contains fat, protein, enzymes, vitamins, lactose, and ash. The fat in milk helps to provide flavor even when cheese is made from skim milk which has only one percent of fat. The protein in milk exists in two forms: as a suspension/colloidal (casein) and in a soluble form (whey proteins). However, consider the first type of protein as a densely woven mesh rather like a string vest suspended freely in the aqueous phase of milk. As long as the milk remains sweet, this structure is unaffected and the milk remains totally fluid. If the milk acidifies (i.e. goes sour) without the presence of coagulating enzymes, the structure changes quite suddenly at the 'iso-electric point' and a fragile curd is formed that collapses with the slightest agitation into tiny fragments. A typical example is the fine mass we see when milk sours naturally. By adding rennet, at just the right time before the milk would go completely sour, the structure of the casein is changed radically to form a solid curd called para-casein. This can then be cut with knives and saved to be collected as grains of curd for subsequent processing. The enzymes in milk come from the cow and have an effect on the quality of raw milk and the ripening of cheese. Milk also contains important vitamins that promote growth such as A, B, D, E, and K. The lactose in milk is the main sugar and provides the energy for the started cutlers. Ash in milk is made up of metallic components such as sodium, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and copper; the most important of these is calcium which helps with the growth of bones. Cheese can be made using pasteurized or raw milk. Cheese made from raw milk imparts different flavors and texture characteristics to the finished cheese. For some cheese varieties, raw milk is given a mild heat treatment (below pasteurization) prior to cheese making to destroy some of the spoilage organisms and provide better conditions for the cheese cultures. Cheese made from raw milk must be aged for at least 60 days to reduce the possibility of exposure to disease causing microorganisms (pathogens) that may be present in the milk.


STARTER CULTURES Cultures for cheese making are called lactic acid bacteria (LAB) because their primary source of energy is the lactose in milk and their primary metabolic product is lactic acid. There is a wide variety of bacterial cultures available that provide distinct flavor and textural characteristics to cheeses. Starter cultures are used early in the cheese making process to assist with coagulation by lowering the pH prior to rennet addition. The metabolism of the starter cultures contribute desirable flavor compounds, and help prevent the growth of spoilage organisms and pathogens. Typical starter bacteria include Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis or cremoris, Streptococcus salivarius subsp. thermophilus, Lactobacillus delbruckii subsp. bulgaricus, and Lactobacillus helveticus. The acid-producing bacteria can directly suppress disease-producing bacteria under normal conditions. This is why fermented milk products are among the safest foods to take in their natural state. COAGULANTS AND RENNET Coagulants and rennet are used to coagulate milk. To coagulate milk is to change it from a fluid to a thickened mass. The type of coagulant used depends on the type of cheese desired. For acid cheeses, an acid source such as acetic acid (the acid in vinegar) or gluconodeltalactone (a mild food acid) is used. For rennet cheeses, calf rennet or, more commonly, rennet produced through microbial bioprocessing is used. Rennet is a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The active enzyme in rennet is called chymosin or rennin but there are also other important enzymes in it, e.g., pepsin or lipase. There are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for vegetarian consumption. One form of rennet is called 'vegetable' rennet which is derived from certain strains of fungi and bacteria. Today, this type of rennet is very popular, reflecting a move towards organic foods, and the manufacture of 'vegetarian cheese'. Substantial amounts are now used at the farmhouse and creamery level. Recently, due to world shortage of calf rennet, recombinant or genetically-engineered pure chymosin derived from different microorganisms is available on the market, and is currently used by many cheesemakers in different countries.


SALT AND OTHER ADDITIVES The last ingredient of cheese is salt. It is used to create different types of cheese including hard-pressed cheese, brine-salted cheese, soft cheese salting, and blueveined cheese salting. Salt ads flavor and acts as a natural preservative. The following additives may also be added to the cheese milk:  Calcium chloride is added to replace calcium redistributed during pasteurization. It improves the coagulation properties of the milk. Milk coagulation by rennet during cheese making requires an optimum balance among ionic calcium and both soluble insoluble calcium phosphate salts. Because calcium phosphates have reverse solubility with respect to temperature, the heat treatment from pasteurization causes the equilibrium to shift towards insoluble forms and depletes both soluble calcium phosphates and ionic calcium. Near normal equilibrium is restored during 24 - 48 hours of cold storage, but cheese makers can't wait that long, so CaCl2 is added to restore ionic calcium and improve rennetability. The calcium assists in coagulation and reduces the amount of rennet required. Sodium or potassium nitrate is added to the milk to control the undesirable effects of Clostridium tyrobutyricum in cheeses such as Edam, Gouda, and Swiss. Because milk color varies from season to season, color may be added to standardize the color of the cheese throughout the year. Annatto, Betacarotene, and paprika are used. The addition of hydrogen peroxide is sometimes used as an alternative treatment for full pasteurization. Lipases, normally present in raw milk, are inactivated during pasteurization. The addition of kid goat lipases is common to ensure proper flavor development through fat hydrolysis.



Figure 1. Cheese production.

There is no standard method of cheese making; limitless variations exist for all stages of the process: milk treatment, curdling, addition of artificial ingredients and salt for flavor, and aging. This variation in processing accounts for the wide range of cheeses commercially available, differing in texture and flavor. Although hundreds of specialized techniques lend different types of cheese their distinct flavors and characteristics, three basic steps are common to all cheese making. First, proteins in milk are transformed into solid lumps called curds. Second, the curds are separated from the milky liquid, called whey, and shaped or pressed into molds. Finally, the shaped curds are ripened using a variety of different aging and curing techniques.


TREATMENT OF MILK Like most dairy products, cheesemilk is often standardized before cheese making to optimize the protein to fat ratio to make a good quality cheese with a high yield. The milk may then be subjected to a sub-pasteurization treatment of 63-65° C for 15 to 16 sec. This thermization treatment results in a reduction of high initial bacteria counts before storage. It must be followed by proper pasteurization. While high temperature – short time pasteurization (72° C for 16 sec) is often used, an alternative heat treatment of 60° C for 16 sec may also be used. This less severe heat treatment is thought to result in a better final flavor cheese by preserving some of the natural flora. If used, the cheese must be stored for 60 days prior to sale, which is similar to the regulations for raw milk cheese. Raw milk cheeses must be aged for at least 60 days to reduce the possibility of exposure to disease causing microorganisms (pathogens) that may be present in it. Milk is then cooled after pasteurization or heat treatment to 90°F (32°C) to bring it to the temperature needed for the starter bacteria to grow. If raw milk is used the milk must be heated to 90°F (32°C). The acidification can be accomplished directly by the addition of an acid like vinegar in a few cases (paneer, queso fresco), but usually starter bacteria are employed instead. The basis of cheesemaking relies on the fermentation of lactose by LAB. LAB produce lactic acid which lowers the pH and in turn assists coagulation, promotes syneresis (extraction or expulsion of a liquid from a gel), helps prevent spoilage and pathogenic bacteria from growing, contributes to cheese texture, flavor and keeping quality. LAB also produce growth factors which encourage the growth of non-starter organisms, and provides lipases and proteases necessary for flavor development during curing. Industrially, the lactic acid level in the milk is increased by adding a starter culture of Streptococci, Lactococci, or Lactobacilli to the milk and fermenting at 32ºC for 10 to 75 minutes. Swiss starter cultures also include Propionibacter shermani, which produces carbon dioxide gas bubbles during aging, giving Swiss cheese its holes. In addition to biologically converting the lactose present in the milk to lactic acid, these strains of microorganisms also greatly affect the eventual flavor of the final product. Thus, the selection of a suitable strain, the amount of starter culture, and the length of pre-ripening, is of the utmost importance in creating the subtle differences in the final color and aroma that distinguishes an expensive cheese from a cheap one. The starter cultures and any non-starter adjunct bacteria are added to the milk and held at 90°F (32°C) for 30 minutes to ripen. The ripening step allows the bacteria to grow and begin fermentation, which lowers the pH and develops the flavor of the cheese.


After inoculation with the starter culture, the milk is held for 45 to 60 min at 25 to 30° C to ensure the bacteria are active, growing and have developed acidity. This stage is called ripening the milk and is done prior to renneting. Homogenization is not usually done for most cheesemilk. It disrupts the fat globules and increases the fat surface area where casein particles adsorb. This results in a soft, weak curd at renneting and increased hydrolytic rancidity. COAGULATION Coagulation is essentially the formation of a gel by destabilizing the casein micelles, causing them to aggregate and form a network which partially immobilizes the water and traps the fat globules in the newly formed matrix. Curds are formed when an enzyme called rennin is stirred into milk. Rennin encourages casein, one of the proteins in milk, to solidify and clump together, or coagulate. Rennet contains the enzyme chymosin which converts k-casein to para-kappa-caseinate (the main component of cheese curd) and glycomacropeptide, which is lost in the cheese whey. Rennin or chymosin is found in rennet, and it aids coagulation only if the milk is slightly acidic, as it is when it becomes sour. Rather than waiting for milk to sour, cheesemakers speed up the process by warming the milk and adding specialized bacteria that convert the sugars found in milk to lactic acid, creating the acidic environment necessary for casein coagulation. As the casein clumps together, it traps fat globules and some of the milky liquid inside the clumps, forming moist, nutritious curds. CURDLING A required step in cheesemaking is separating the milk into solid curds (the thick precipitate) and liquid whey (the thin watery residue). At this point, the cheese has set into a very moist gel. When the curds have reached the desired moisture and acidity, they are separated from the whey. The whey may be removed from the top or drained by gravity. The curd-whey mixture may also be placed in moulds for draining. Some soft cheeses are now essentially complete: they are drained, salted, and packaged. For most of the rest, the curd is cut into small cubes. This allows water to drain from the individual pieces of curd as well as it shortens the distance and increases the available area for whey to be released. The curd pieces immediately begin to shrink and expel the greenish liquid called whey. This syneresis process is further driven by a cooking stage. The increase in temperature causes the protein matrix to shrink due to increased hydrophobic interactions, and also increases the rate of fermentation of lactose to lactic acid. The increased acidity


also contributes to shrinkage of the curd particles. The final moisture content is dependant on the time and temperature of the cook stage. This is important to monitor carefully because the final moisture content of the curd determines the residual amount of fermentable lactose and thus the final pH of the cheese after curing. Some hard cheeses are then heated to temperatures in the range of 35–55 °C (95– 131 °F). This forces more whey from the cut curd. It also changes the taste of the finished cheese, affecting both the bacterial culture and the milk chemistry. Cheeses that are heated to the higher temperatures are usually made with thermophilic starter bacteria which survive this step—either lactobacilli or streptococci. FLAVOR ADDITION After the curd is separated from the whey, salt, seasoning, and other curing and flavoring ingredients are added. Flavor addition aids in curing the cheese. The curd is wrapped in cheese cloth and pressed for 12 to 18 hours to remove the additional whey soaked in the curd. The curd hardens and forms a cheese block in the shape of the press as the whey is squeezed out. Finally, the cheese block is dried for 6 hours. Salt has roles in cheese besides adding a salty flavor. It preserves cheese from spoiling, draws moisture from the curd, and firms the cheese’s texture in an interaction with its proteins. Some cheeses are salted from the outside with dry salt or brine washes. Most cheeses have the salt mixed directly into the curds. These techniques may influence a cheese's texture and flavor. Some examples:   Stretching: (Mozzarella, Provolone) The curd is stretched and kneaded in hot water, developing a stringy, fibrous body. Cheddaring: (Cheddar, other English cheeses) The cut curd is repeatedly piled up, pushing more moisture away. The curd is also mixed (or milled) for a long time, taking the sharp edges off the cut curd pieces and influencing the final product's texture. Washing: (Edam, Gouda, Colby) The curd is washed in warm water, lowering its acidity and making for a milder-tasting cheese.


COMPRESSION OF CURD Compressing the curd shapes the cheese and eliminates more whey. Most cheeses achieve their final shape when the curds are pressed into a mold or form. The harder the cheese, the more pressure is applied. The pressure drives out moisture—the molds are designed to allow water to escape—and unifies the curds into a single solid body. Curds of nearly all cheeses are salted by stirring the salt directly into the curds or by rubbing salt or a saltwater solution, called brine, onto the curd surface. Salt pulls moisture from the cheese, but more importantly, it acts as a preservative and slows down the final step of cheese making—the ripening. AGING During the ripening process, microbes such as bacteria slowly change the composition of the curds, creating cheeses with distinct flavors, textures, and aromas. The kinds of microbes used, the temperature and humidity conditions of the ripening environment, and the duration of the ripening process, all contribute to the final characteristics of the cheese. Some cheeses have additional bacteria or molds intentionally introduced before or during aging. In traditional cheesemaking, these microbes might be already present in the aging room; they are simply allowed to settle and grow on the stored cheeses. More often today, prepared cultures are used, giving more consistent results and putting fewer constraints on the environment where the cheese ages. In some cheeses, the bacteria added to create the acidic environment necessary for curd formation continue to ripen the cheese as well. In Swiss cheese, for example, these bacteria produce gas bubbles during ripening, creating its characteristic holes, or eyes. In other cases, microbes are added to the shaped curd. For example, a blue-green mold called Penicillium roqueforti is used to ripen cheeses such as Roquefort and Gorgonzola. This special mold creates bluish-green veins in the cheese and a characteristic sharp flavor and creamy texture. Other cheeses, such as Brie and Camembert, are ripened by bacteria rubbed on the outer surface of the cheese. The bacteria slowly work their way into the interior of the cheese, creating a soft, pungent interior and leaving a powdery, edible white rind on the outside. Ripening usually takes place in carefully controlled environments. Conditions are often designed to mimic the natural environments of the ripening microbes. The moisture-laden air prevents the cheese from drying out as it ripens. Temperatures are kept cool, not only to encourage the activity of the ripening bacteria but to


inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria that could spoil the cheese. The amount of time that cheeses are allowed to ripen, or age, also contributes to their final character. Generally, longer curing or aging process gives more pronounced flavor, color, and texture of the finished product. FINISHED CHEESE A newborn cheese is usually salty yet bland in flavor and, for harder varieties, rubbery in texture. These qualities are sometimes enjoyed—cheese curds are eaten on their own—but normally cheeses are left to rest under controlled conditions. This aging period lasts from a few days to several years. As a cheese ages, microbes and enzymes transform texture and intensify flavor. This transformation is largely a result of the breakdown of casein proteins and milk fat into a complex mix of amino acids, amines, and fatty acids. Although a higher temperature promotes faster curing, there is also a higher chance of spoilage due to undesirable microbial activities at elevated temperatures. Prior to aging, the cheese block is usually wrapped tightly to exclude air and microbial contaminants from entering and spoiling the cheese. One way to accomplish this is to dip the cheese block in a pot of melted wax. During the aging process, many complicated microbial and chemical actions continue to take place in the cheese block. Thousands of techniques exist to develop various distinctive flavors. These reactions are not well characterized; thus, cheese making is still an art rather than a science. Depending on the technique employed, this final aging process takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months. Cheese maybe cut and packaged into blocks or it may be waxed.



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