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Cheese: Pasta-Filata Cheeses

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... For example, the pressing applied during hard cheese manufacturing (in Cheddar, for example) increases cheese hardness due to the decrease of water content, leading to a more compact protein network (Gunasekaran & Ak, 2003c ). The kneading and stretching processes during pastafilata cheese manufacture (mozzarella) creates a characteristic elastic, fibrous texture (Kindstedt, Caric, & Milanovic, 2004). The proteolytic breakdown of the cheese protein matrix during ripening (Cheddar, smear cheese, Camembert) decreases cheese hardness (Gunasekaran & Ak, 2003c; McSweeney, 2004 ). ...
... The manufacturing processes also have an important impact upon cheese texture. During mozzarella manufacture, the kneading and stretching processes applied in hot water creates a characteristic elastic fibrous texture (Kindstedt et al., 2004) associated with high values of hardness, springiness and cohesiveness. However, each cheese variety studied has an expected dominant textural character brought about by the distinct composition, manufacturing and ripening processes (Foegeding et al., 2003; Gunasekaran & Ak, 2003c) which may alter the cheese matrix disintegration and nutrient release during simulated in vitro digestion. ...
... Both Camembert and aged Cheddar cheeses have significantly higher amounts of fat (Table 1) resulting in a higher fat layer mass (11e14%), whereas it was small (<1%) for mozzarella cheese (Fig. 2B). This was not expected since mozzarella cheese contains large fat pools (Kindstedt et al., 2004) that are in the liquid state at the chyme temperature (37 C), and therefore are expected to be easily released from the cheese particles . Also, cheese particles are subjected to water absorption since they are immersed in gastric juice which may ease fat leakage. ...
Article
Solid food disintegration in the stomach has recently been linked to food texture, which changes during digestion. This phenomenon is likely to affect the kinetics of protein digestion and therefore associated postprandial metabolic responses. Depending upon the variety, the cheese protein and lipid content as well as the texture can be modulated, illustrating complexity. Five commercial cheeses, covering a range of textural properties, were selected and characterised. Cheese particles were submitted to an in vitro digestion model to study cheese disintegration and protein/peptide release. Cheese disintegration was affected by cheese texture and composition. At the end of gastric digestion, elastic cheeses (mozzarella) were less disintegrated when compared with ripened and soft cheeses with high fat content (Camembert, aged Cheddar). The protein digestion was different amongst cheeses according to different disintegration rates. Cheese structural and textural properties, attributed to processing parameters, can be used to modulate gastro-intestinal digestion of cheese proteins.
... Low-moisture Mozzarella cheese prepared with substitution of NaCl with KCl was observed to have increased meltability with storage (Ayyash and Shah 2011). This increase may be attributed to two factors: (1) an increase in proteolysis during storage, (Kindstedt et al. 2004) and ...
... lower that the experimental PMC from 0 to 49 days. Kindstedt et al. (2004) and Kuo et al (2003) also reported a decrease in the stretchability of Mozzarella cheese during ripening, which may be due to plasmin activity, especially if the curd has not been subjected to a high heat treatment in the cooker or stretcher or cheese has been stored at very low temperatures (Lucey et al. 2003). Lower stretchability values of control PMC from 0 to 49 days could be the reason of weaker protein–protein interaction between casein particles attributed to the extensive solubilization of colloidal calcium phosphate in the presence of sodium ions during brining (El-Bakry et al. 2011) and possibly calcium sequestration by trisodium citrate salt which lead to formation of solubilized calcium and exposed casein which might have weaker strength between protein–protein linkages and thus resulted in lower stretchability. ...
Article
Dietary sodium has been considered to cause hypertension and other health ailments. Processed Mozzarella cheese (PMC) is a type of processed cheese that contains high sodium in the form of sodium chloride and sodium emulsifying salts. Henceforth, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of partial substitution of sodium chloride (NaCl) with potassium chloride (KCl) and total replacement of sodium-based emulsifying salts with potassium-based emulsifying salts in the production of experimental PMC. A blend of potassium citrate and dipotassium phosphate (1:1) was used as an emulsifying salt. Changes in sensory attributes, physico-chemical characteristics, and functional properties of PMC were analyzed and compared with the corresponding changes in a control PMC made with NaCl and trisodium citrate. Products were evaluated after regular intervals of 7 days up to 56 days. Significant differences in flavor (28–56 days), sensory body and texture, acid degree value (0–42 days), soluble protein, titratable acidity (7–56 days), pH (7–56 days), meltability (0–56 days), and stretchability (4–49) were evident between the control and experimental PMC over storage. It appears that potassium replacement of sodium resulted in a low decrease in casein hydration and an increase in pH and bitterness. This subsequently resulted in a lower rate of proteolysis, lower flavor scores, lower meltability, lower titratable acidity, lower acid degree values, and greater stretchablity and sensory body and texture scores.
... If the pH is too high, the curd is tough and can easily fracture during stretching, whereas if the pH is too low, it is excessively soft and can collapse during shaping. As reviewed by Kindstedt et al. (2004), due to variations in terms of conditions of acidification, added cultures, composition, degree of ripening and temperature, the ability of curd to be stretched like a long fine piece of rope 'can be achieved over a broad range of combinations of total calcium content and pH'. Hence in the traditional artisanal manufacture of Caciocavallo, the stretchability test is still the yardstick for establishing the degree of maturation, and none of the dairies systematically checked curd pH. ...
... The salting procedures were extremely variable, but were always performed by brining unlike Russian and Balkan kashkaval cheeses traditionally dry salted during the first 2-3 weeks of ripening ( Kindstedt et al. 2004). As a general consideration, shorter salting time corresponded to higher salt concentration although, due to the large variability in dipping time and concentration, it might be easily expected that the magnitude of salt uptake differed among the different varieties. ...
Article
This paper presents the results of a survey carried out in 68 dairies in southern Italy on the manufacturing processes of traditional Italian Caciocavallo cheese varieties. Following a study of the relevant literature, the various cheesemaking processes were analysed and the implications of different cheesemaking procedures were explored. The manufacturing variations able to influence the organoleptic characteristics of Caciocavallo cheese were milk and rennet types, procedures for curd acidification and stretching, salting and ripening conditions, and smoking treatment. This survey is designed to guide producers and consumers alike with respect to the perceivable effects of manufacturing variants on cheese quality.
... In fact, both heating and kneading promote the conversion of the para-casein network into a melted, fibrous matrix in which calcium creates bonds among casein fibres, conferring them the typical string texture. Once this texture is obtained, some void channels appear in the cheese matrix, in which fat and free serum are stuck (Kindstedt, 2007;Kindstedt, Cari c, & Milanovi c, 2004;Lucey & Fox, 1993;McMahon & Oberg, 2011;McMahon & Oberg, 2011, 2011Mizuno, Matsuda, Lucey, & Ichihashi, 2009;Vogt et al., 2015). ...
Article
The impact of the stretching phase on the volatile compounds (VOC) and odor intensity of high moisture mozzarella was investigated. Three trials were done using raw milk with different microbiological quality for the preparation of control and aseptic (sodium azide) cheeses at two different stretching temperatures. The SPME-GC/MS analysis showed that stretching caused a decrease of VOC from curd to cheese in the aseptic samples due to volatilization or solubilisation into the stretchwater. It was not observed in the control mozzarella due to the formation of microbial-derived VOC during the cooling phase. As to the effect of the temperature, the samples stretched at 70°C had the highest amount of VOC, except for those made from high quality milk. The formation of new VOC due to stretching remained doubtful. The control samples stretched at 70°C had the highest odor intensity, whereas stretching at 90°C resulted in a more intense odor in the aseptic cheeses.
... " Pasta filata cheese is made by using unique peculiar technique in which the curd is melted in hot water, followed by kneading and stretching to obtain a homogeneous dough. This treatment imparts a fibrous structure to the finished product, conferring to it unique melting and stretching properties (Kindstedt 2002;Mijan et al. 2010;Lacivita et al. 2016). ...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the texture properties of two prominent Italian cheese, namely the pasta filata and cooked curd cheese. Some information is also given on other peculiar Italian cheeses that do not belong to these categories. To give an overview of the different texture characteristics of Italian salumi, the chapter presents some of the most popular ones, providing some information on their historical and geographical background, focusing the attention on sensory evaluation and instrumental measurements of their texture characteristics. There is no doubt that one of the most distinctive product of the Italian gastronomy is bread. For centuries, bread was the basic component of the diet of a large part of the population. Some features characterize the technology of the Italian traditional bread: no sugar or antistaling are used in the formulation, no pan is used during leavening and baking, and sourdough is the leavening agent.
... S. thermophilus used in our work is a galactose-negative bacterium, so its metabolism generates a residual concentration of galactose in the curd (Iyer et al., 2010;Kindstedt et al., 2004). Galactose and residual lactose can be metabolized by adjunct cultures such as L. rhamnosus and L. acidophilus giving way to the organic acids production (Watson et al., 2012). ...
Article
The aim of this study was to manufacture pasta filata cheeses added with two probiotic lactobacilli: Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Lactobacillus acidophilus LA5, either individually or combined, and to evaluate the effect of the storage temperature (4 and 12 °C) on their chemical, microbiological, and sensorial characteristics. Three cheese types were made: (i) G: containing L. rhamnosus GG, (ii) L: containing L. acidophilus LA5, and (iii) GL: containing both probiotic strains. Gross composition, pH, microbiological, and sensory characteristics were determined. No differences in gross composition were found among them. pH values remained above 5.2 in cheeses stored at 4 °C. However, a postacidification was observed in cheeses ripened at 12 °C. L. acidophilus LA5 was not able to grow, while L. rhamnosus GG grew 1.5 log10 CFU/g in G and GL cheeses stored at 12 °C, reducing the pH from day 8 onwards. These results emphasize the importance of the storage temperature since the good characteristics of probiotic cheeses are kept if the cold-chain is respected. Thus, the selection of probiotics, together with the food matrix and the starter, should be carefully evaluated.
... The stretched curd is usually shaped, cooled under running water and then packaged in bags containing diluted brine solution (preserving liquid). This solution preserves the soft-springy texture and high amounts of expressible serum during storage at 4 C (Kindstedt, Cari c, & Milanovi c, 2004). ...
Article
Cell numbers of presumptive lactic acid bacteria varied markedly between 7 natural whey starter cultures (NWSC) used for producing traditional cows' milk Mozzarella cheeses in the Apulia region of Southern Italy. Taxonomic identification revealed a large diversity at species level, including mesophilic and thermophilic lactobacilli, lactococci, streptococci and enterococci. Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD-PCR), analysis showed the biodiversity among the strains and, for lactobacilli, some relationships with provenience of the natural starter. Cell numbers of presumptive lactic acid bacteria in the corresponding Mozzarella cheeses were similar or higher than those found in the corresponding NWSC. RAPD-PCR analyses showed that most of the strains in cheese originated from the starter. The gross composition varied markedly between the 7 Mozzarella cheeses and ranged from 53-64% moisture, 17-23% protein, 13-20% fat and 0.50-1.61% salt. The values of pH for several samples were above 6.0. As shown by urea-PAGE of the pH 4.6-insoluble nitrogen fractions, cheese samples were characterized by differences in alpha(S1)- and beta-casein hydrolysis. Cheeses also differed with respect to secondary proteolysis as shown by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of data from RP-HPLC of the pH 4.6-soluble, pH 4.6-70% ethanol-soluble and 70% ethanol-insoluble nitrogen fractions. These differences were attributed to the different microbial composition of the NWSC. Strain selection and optimization of a protocol for producing a natural whey starter culture to be used by dairy factories of the Apulia region appears to be a pre-requisite to standardize the major traits distinguishing this cheese variety.
Article
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To better understand the origins of the problems occurring during mozzarella cheese whey concentration, lactose crystallization, and spray-drying steps, a physicochemical characterization was achieved. For this purpose, mozzarella cheese wheys were sampled and their content in different compounds such as total nitrogen, noncasein nitrogen, nonprotein nitrogen, lactate, citrate, chloride, sulfate, phosphate anions, calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium cations, and the sugars glucose and galactose were measured. In a second step, the results were compared with the corresponding content in cheddar cheese wheys, raclette cheese wheys, soft cheese wheys, and Swiss-type cheese wheys. At the end of this survey, it was shown that mozzarella cheese wheys were more concentrated in lactate and in minerals--especially phosphate, calcium, and magnesium--than the other cheese wheys and that they contained galactose. These constituents are known to be hygroscopic. Complementary surveys are now necessary to compare the hygroscopicity of galactose and lactate and discover whether the amounts of these compounds found in mozzarella cheese wheys are a factor in the problems encountered during the concentration, lactose crystallization, and spray-drying steps.
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The effect of NaCl substitution with KCl on chemical composition, organic acids profile, soluble calcium, and functionality of low-moisture Mozzarella cheese (LMMC) was investigated. Functionality (meltability and browning), organic acids profile, and chemical composition were determined. Chemical composition showed no significant difference between experimental cheeses at same storage period, and same salt treatment. Meltability of LMMC salted with 3NaCl:1KCl, 1NaCl:1KCl, and 1NaCl:3KCl was higher compared with only NaCl (control). The amount of soluble Ca and P increased significantly during storage, with no significant difference between salt treatments. Organic acids profile did not differ between salt treatments at the same storage time.
Article
Bulk milk from a spring-calved dairy herd on a good plane of nutrition was collected and made into low-moisture Mozzarella cheese weekly over 10 weeks from 22 September (218 days in lactation, DIL) to 27 November (284 DIL). The 10 weeks were divided into three lactation periods: normal lactation (NL), 218–240 DIL; late lactation (LL), 241–265 DIL; and very late lactation (VLL), 266–284 DIL. Lactation period did not significantly influence milk composition, percentages of milk fat or protein recovered to cheese, cheese yield and composition, primary proteolysis or cooking properties during storage. The curd firmness of the rennet-induced gels from the LL or VLL milk samples was significantly higher than that of the NL milk. The mean firmness over the 40-d storage period of cheese from the LL and VLL milks was significantly higher than that of the cheeses from the NL milk. Satisfactory Mozzarella cheese making characteristics of milk from spring-calved cows can largely be sustained into late lactation by maintaining good dietary nutrition and herd management practices.
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From its journey from milk through to its end use, Mozzarella cheese undergoes significant transformations in its makeup of components and their structural arrangement. The typical Mozzarella processing steps each alter the structural configuration of the system. The colloidal dispersion of proteins, fat, lactose and minerals that is milk experiences physical, thermal, chemical, biological and ionic induced changes to its composition and structure throughout the manufacturing process and storage. This review critically evaluates the literature related to the structural changes occurring as a result of each step in Mozzarella cheese production process. Emphasis is placed on the role of each step and the induced transformations at the micro and macro scale in the system. Additionally, the review also looks at the changes that occur as a result of storage. This evolution in structure culminates in the creation of an end product with a bi-continuous gel structure that has a desired functionality in its end use.
Article
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity is used throughout the world as a marker for the proper pasteurization of milk, to guarantee its hygienic safety. The Standard ISO 11816-2/IDF 155-2 describes the analysis of ALP in cheese. However, the method has been questioned in the past because there have sometimes been ambiguous results. The critical operations of the analytical procedure are more precisely defined and a zonal cheese sampling adopted. ALP inactivation is firstly evaluated in the relevant steps of controlled cheese makings of hard (Emmental), semi-hard (Raschera) and soft (Chaource) cheeses. Application of the improved procedure in over 700 samples of typical cheeses from France, Italy and Switzerland proved the applicability of the method. Based on this large study, a limit for ALP activity in cheese from pasteurized milk is proposed at 10 mU/g.
Article
Blue discoloration in fresh mozzarella cheese (FMC) is a defect caused by certain biotypes of Pseudomonas spp. This defect has been increasing in frequency worldwide over the last decade; instances have occurred recently in the U.S., Italy, Germany, England, and Spain. In the current study, lactose oxidase (LO) was utilized as a surface treatment to investigate its potential to inhibit blue discoloration in two types of FMC: that produced through direct acidification (DA) by addition of citric acid, and that produced by starter fermentation (SF). Cheese samples were surface-treated with one of four concentrations of LO: 0, 0.012, 0.12, and 1.2 g/L; they were then inoculated with ∼4.25 log CFU of the P. fluorescens biovar IV isolate with designation “FSL W5-0203”. A negative sample (NS) was also prepared, which was treated with neither LO nor P. fluorescens. Cheese samples were stored at 6ºC for 16 days. Pictures of the cheese samples were taken during this time, and the Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage (CIE) colorimetric system was used to quantify changes in color undergone by the samples. In DA the surface application of LO at a concentration of 1.2 g/L resulted in retention of conventional color characteristics; a concentration of 0.12 g/L also performed promisingly, but with less consistency than the higher concentration. A LO concentration of 0.012 g/L did not show an inhibitory effect. Quantification of LO’s effects on blue discoloration in SF revealed less consistency than that seen with DA FMC; however, based on the researchers’ visual assessments, the 1.2 g/L concentration performed the best out of those investigated, with obvious blue coloration occurring in only 1 out of 6 samples. A decrease in pH was observed when LO was applied at a concentration of 1.2 g/L in both the DA and SF cheeses; this indicates that LO is oxidizing the cheese’s residual lactose to produce lactobionic acid. This study demonstrates a promising clean-label approach to prevent blue color defects in DA FMC, and provides hope for further progress in combating blue color in SF FMC.
Article
Mozzarella cheese distinguishes itself from other cheeses by the stretching stage, which corresponds to a thermomechanical work of the curd that transforms the amorphous structure into an organized, elastic and compact structure. Adjusting the stretching temperature allows to control the chemical composition of the Mozzarella cheese. The molecular interactions involved in stretching of Mozzarella cheese are important in explaining the modifications that occur during storage. In this way, the objective of the study was to evaluate the effect of the stretching water temperature on the chemical composition, water mobility and protein stabilization of Mozzarella cheese. The stretching water temperature (75 °C and 85 °C) did not affect the composition of the Mozzarella cheeses (P > 0.05). However, there was a decrease in the water mobility (T1) of the cheeses with the refrigerated storage time (P ≤ 0.05), and an increase in the electrostatic interactions (P ≤ 0.05) and hydrogen bonds (P ≤ 0.05) with higher intensity in the cheese subjected to the stretching with water at 85 °C, which reflected in lower water mobility and lower casein degradation peaks when compared to the cheese stretching with water at 75 °C.
Article
Cheese characteristics, such as composition or textural properties, can impact the matrix degradation rate which could modulate the bioaccessibility of fatty acids during digestion. The aim of this study was to identify texture parameters influencing cheese degradation in a gastrointestinal environment. A static in vitro digestion model has been used on nine commercial cheeses: young and aged cheddar, regular and light cream cheese, parmesan, feta, camembert, mozzarella, and sliced processed cheese. At the end of gastric digestion, camembert and mozzarella presented the lowest matrix disintegration whereas aged cheddar, regular and light cream cheeses showed the highest. For all cheeses, the fatty acid release was fast during the first 30 min of duodenal digestion and slowed down afterwards. A partial least square regression revealed that springiness, cohesiveness, and hardness were negatively correlated to the rate of cheese disintegration during gastric digestion. In addition, textural parameters were not correlated with free fatty acid release. By modulating cheese texture, it could be possible to influence matrix disintegration during gastrointestinal digestion which could have an impact on lipids release.
Article
Low-moisture mozzarella cheese (LMMC) is commonly shredded before packaging, however, the effects of shredding are not fully understood. Industrially-produced block and shredded LMMC were studied during 8 weeks of storage at 4 °C. Cheese shredded on 15 d and at 8 weeks of age, coated with microcrystalline cellulose and stored in a modified atmosphere (70% N2 and 30% CO2), had an altered microstructure after 8 weeks compared with vacuum-packed block cheese, in the latter case the fat formed a more dispersed phase. Proteolysis was higher in shredded samples and a higher level of two bacterial proteases was detected. Despite these differences, the meltability and stretchability of the block and shredded LMMC were similar. The microstructure and functionality of cheese shredded at 15 d and stored for a further 6 weeks was similar to cheese shredded at 8 weeks, suggesting there is a flexible period for performing cheese shredding processes.
Chapter
The Lactobacillus delbrueckii group consists of six subspecies: Lb. delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, Lb. delbrueckii subsp. lactis, Lb. delbrueckii subsp. delbrueckii, Lb. delbrueckii subsp. indicus, Lb. delbrueckii subsp. sunkii, Lb. delbrueckii subsp. jakobsenii. Lb. delbrueckii strains form single or short chains of rods and have an optimum growth in milk between 40 and 45 °C. The Lb. delbrueckii group are obligately homofermentative and produce the D(−) isomer of lactic acid from a variety of carbohydrates. Strains from the Lb. delbrueckii group can produce exopolysaccharides (EPS) bacteriocins and are commonly used in cheese manufacture.
Article
Lactobacillus plantarum 18A, Lactobacillus helveticus 2B, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis 20F, Streptococcus thermophilus 22C, Enterococcus faecalis 32C and Enterococcus durans 16E were the most acidifying strains within 146 isolates for natural whey starters. The effect of media and temperature on 2 autochthonous multiple strain cultures (AMSI: 18A, 2B, 20F and 22C, 32C and 16E and AMSII: 18A, 2B, 20F and 22C) was studied. Genomic analysis showed a constant cell numbers for AMSII during 16 days of propagation in whey milk. Mozzarella cheese was made by using AMSII, commercial starter (CS) or citric acid (DA). Compared to other cheeses, the DA had a lower level of protein, ash, Ca, free amino acids and a higher level of moisture. Based on confocal laser scanning microscopy analysis, AMSII cheese showed the lowest microstructural variations during the period of storage compared to other cheeses. All the sensory attributes were scored highest for AMSII cheese. ASMII extend the shelf-life to ca. 12-15 days instead of the 5-7 days of traditional high-moisture Mozzarella cheese.
Chapter
Mozzarella is a prominent member of the pasta filata, or stretched curd, cheeses that originated in Italy. Pasta filata cheeses are distinguished by a unique plasticizing and kneading treatment of the fresh curd in hot water, which imparts to the finished cheese its characteristic fibrous structure and melting and stretching properties.
Chapter
In the previous edition of this book, Fox and Guinee wrote that while Italy may not be ranked among the leading dairying countries of the world, at least relative to its size, its cheese industry is of the highest order. It is in many respects unique, with a history of more than 2500 years. To cite Reinhold1 ‘Like Italian art, architecture, music and literature, Italian cheese is a product of an ancient culture. Cheese graced the banquet tables of the Caesars, served as rations for the conquering Roman armies, and, today, is part of traditional dishes. ’
Article
The aim of this study was to determine what hap- pens to water in Mozzarella cheeses during storage and to relate those changes to cheese microstructure and functionality. A reduced fat (8% fat) Mozzarella cheese and a control cheese with 19% fat were made and evaluated over 21 d of refrigerated storage at 4°C. Fat, protein, ash, salt, and water were measured on d 1. Meltability, total water, freezable water, and expressible water were measured on d 1, 7, 14, and 21. Even though the reduced fat cheese had a higher total water content than did the control cheese, the reduced fat cheese contained less water on a fat-free basis. The amount of water expressible at 25°C was higher in the control cheese than in the reduced fat cheese and was proportional to the fat content of the cheese. During storage, the expressed serum for both cheeses decreased to zero by d 21. Based on changes observed in microstructure of a commercial Moz- zarella cheese (19% fat) during storage, we concluded that the expressed water was derived from water contained in the fat-serum channels that were inter- spersed throughout the protein matrix. The amount of bound water was lower in the control cheese than in the reduced fat cheese and was proportional to the protein content of the cheese. Bound water levels remained constant throughout storage. During storage of the commercial Mozzarella cheese, the fat- serum channels became smaller with the protein matrix expanding into the areas between the fat glo- bules. By d 21, the fat globules were completely en- cased by the protein matrix. This expansion of the protein matrix in the commercial cheese occurred over the same time span as the decrease in expressible water of the experimental cheese and indicated that the protein matrix was absorbing the water originally located in the fat-serum channels. Because no change in bound water was observed, the water that had been expressible at d 1 was being absorbed into the protein matrix as entrapped water. The meltability of both cheeses increased during storage while the per- centage of entrapped water increased.
Article
Shredding and melting characteristics are vital to the function of low-moisture Mozzarella cheeses that are used as ingredients for pizza and related foods. Newly manufactured Mozzarella melts to a tough, extremely elastic, and somewhat granular consistency with limited stretch that is unacceptable for pizza. However, during the first few weeks of refrigerated storage, a dramatic transformation occurs as the unmelted cheese becomes softer and the melted cheese becomes more viscous, less elastic, and highly stretchable. Thus, the cheese attains optimal functionality for pizza. Over longer periods, Mozzarella becomes excessively soft and fluid when melted and is no longer acceptable for pizza. Low-moisture Mozzarella is correctly viewed as a cheese that requires aging. The functional characteristics of low-moisture Mozzarella are due initially to the chemical composition, including fat, moisture, NaCl, and mineral contents, and the structure of the paracasein curd matrix that is established during manufacture. Changes in functional characteristics during aging are directly related to proteolysis rate and possibly proteolytic specificity. Proteolysis during aging is influenced by manufacturing factors such as starter culture, coagulant, and stretching temperature, and possibly to indigenous proteases in the cheesemilk such as plasmin.