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New CSK strains to improve low fat cheese

By Guy Montague-Jones , 28-Oct-2009

CSK Food Enrichment has unveiled a new selection of strains to improve the texture and flavour of low fat cheese.

More and more slim line cheeses are coming onto shelves but removing fat can result in a flat taste and rubbery texture. To help manufactures of traditional yellow cheeses overcome these problems CSK has launched the Health Plus concept.

For the new concept CSK has developed new strains for its L and S culture ranges that the Dutch company claims represent a breakthrough in improving flavour and texture of low fat cheese.

“Unique is also that the combination of strains showing both effects, i.e. improving both texture and flavour profile,” added Judith Lunter, product manager at CSK.

Development of the strains came on the back of a research study conceived to determine the attributes needed to create cheese with appealing flavour and texture.

Good taste

On the flavour front CSK focused on increasing levels of flavour compounds like diacetyl, which is one of the key aroma compounds in butter. The company found that combining specific types of starter cultures with different adjunct cultures resulted in a rise in the diacetyl content of cheese.

Using different adjunct cultures can have quite a marked effect on levels of sweetness and bitterness, so CSK worked on different combinations to select the most suitable cultures for low fat cheese.

Due to higher water content these healthier cheeses can easily develop a bitter taste. Lysis from lactic acid bacteria plays a crucial role in the formation of cheese flavour and a lack of it can create bitterness. To avoid this, CSK worked on the development of lysis sensitive strains as “debittering” agents.

Texture improvements

On the texture side of low fat cheese CSK used certain adjunct cultures to break down the proteins during ripening and create a softer cheese. And with the aid of some acidifying strains formation of certain types of extra cellular polysaccharides (EPS) can be boosted, creating a softer texture with only very limited acidification, according to CSK.

CSK is targeting its new strains at the bulging market for low fat cheese. According to Mintel data a quarter of the European cheese launches in Q1 of 2009 were in the no/low/reduced fat sector. Innovations that provide a better balance between health and taste will help these products increase their stake in the cheese market even further.

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