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Observations on the Melting Behavior of Imitation Mozzarella Cheese1

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      Abstract

      The melting characteristics and functional stability of imitation and natural commercial Mozzarella cheeses were investigated. Five brands of commercial casein-based imitation Mozzarella cheese (three to five samples per brand) were randomly assessed for apparent viscosity and free oil formation. Average apparent viscosity among brands ranged from 9.5 ± 1.8 to 28.3 ± 14.5%; average free oil ranged from 4.3 ± 1.9 to 7.9 ± 1.3%. Apparent viscosity and free oil were also measured weekly in five different samples of imitation Mozzarella (three different brands) during 3 to 4 wk of storage at 4°C. Stored imitation cheeses showed a high degree of functional stability with comparatively little change in apparent viscosity or free oil. In contrast, natural low moisture part skim Mozzarella cheeses (n = 8) underwent large changes in apparent viscosity and free oil during 4 wk of storage at 4°C. Apparent viscosity decreased from 111 ± 22 to 27 ± 6% in the first 14 d after manufacture; free oil increased from 5.9 ± .6 to 8.4 ± .9%. These data indicate that casein-based imitation Mozzarella cheeses examined were functionally analogous to 2- to 4-wk-old (apparent viscosity) and 0- to 2-wk-old (free oil) natural low moisture part skim Mozzarella cheese and were functionally more stable during refrigerated storage. Such stability makes analogs very attractive to the food processing and service industries. Analogs may make substantial inroads into the Mozzarella market in the future if certain labeling constraints, which presently limit their acceptance, are overcome.

      Key words

      Abbreviation key:

      AV (apparent viscosity), FO (free oil), LMPS (low moisture part skim)

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