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Texture Development During Cheese Ripening

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      Abstract

      The texture of a cheese is determined primarily by its pH and the ratio of intact casein to moisture. The texture generally changes markedly in the first 1 to 2 wk of ripening as the hydrolysis of a small fraction of αs1-casein by the rennet to the peptide αs1-I results in a general weakening of the casein network. The relatively slow change in texture thereafter is determined mainly by the rate of proteolysis, which in turn is controlled largely by the proportion of residual rennet and plasmin in the cheese, salt to moisture ratio, and storage temperature. The rise in pH that occurs during ripening is also important in many cheese varieties. Cheese texture may be significantly changed by the use of coagulants other than chymosin, addition of neutral proteases, and incorporation of whey proteins. The stretching characteristics of natural cheese curd depend upon both its pH and the proportion of colloidal calcium phosphate that has been removed. Cheese containing residual coagulant loses stretchability very rapidly with age. Eye formation in Swiss-type cheese is dependent upon the cheese pH at the time of transfer to the hot room.

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