Use of microparticulated whey protein concentrate, exopolysaccharide-producing Streptococcus thermophilus, and adjunct cultures for making low-fat Italian Caciotta-type cheese
Di Cagno R
De Pasquale I
De Angelis M
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Low-fat Caciotta-type cheeses were manufactured with partially skim milk (fat content of similar to 0.3%) alone (LFC); with the supplementation of 0.5% (wt/vol) microparticulated whey protein concentrate (MWPC) (LFC-MWPC); with MWPC and exopolysaccharides (EPS)-producing Streptococcus thermophilus ST446 (LFC-MWPC-EPS); and with MWPC, EPS-producing strain ST446, and Lactobacillus plantarum LP and Lactobacillus rhamnosus LRA as adjunct cultures (LFC-MWPC-EPS-A). The non-EPS-producing isogenic variant Streptococcus thermophilus ST042 was used for making full-fat Caciotta-type cheese (FFC), LFC, and LFC-MWPC. Cheeses were characterized based on compositional, microbiological, biochemical, texture, volatile components (purge and trap, and solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatographymass spectrometry), and sensory analyses. Compared with FFC and LFC (51.6 +/- 0.7 to 53.0 +/- 0.9%), the other cheese variants retained higher levels of moisture (60.5 +/- 1.1 to 67.5 +/- 0.5%). The MWPC mainly contributed to moisture retention. Overall, all LFC had approximately one-fourth (22.6 +/- 0.8%) of the fat of FFC. Hardness of cheeses slightly varied over 7 d of ripening. Microbial EPS positively affected cheese texture, and the texture of LFC without MWPC or microbial EPS was excessively firm. Free amino acids were at the highest levels in LFC treatments (2,705.8 +/- 122 to 3,070.4 +/- 123 mg/kg) due to the addition of MWPC and the peptidase activity of adjunct cultures. Aldehydes, alcohols, ketones, sulfur compounds, and short- to medium-chain carboxylic acids differentiated LFC variants and FFC. The sensory attributes pleasant to taste, intensity of flavor, overall acceptability, and pleasant to chew variously described LFC-MWPC-EPS and LFC-MWPC-EPS-A. Based on the technology options used, low-fat Caciotta-type cheese (especially ripened for 14 d) has promising features to be further exploited as a suitable alternative to the full-fat variant.