Chr. Hansen has developed a new Swiss cheese culture which makes it possible to reduce ripening time, cuts costs, and produce products with a milder, less pungent flavour.
According to the Denmark-based natural ingredient manufacturer, the OpenIT PS-80 culture makes it possible to produce Swiss-style cheeses such as Maasdammer and Emmenthal faster, while at the same time improving the taste.
Chr. Hansen cheese cultures marketing manager Anne-Claire Bauquis told DairyReporter.com that many Swiss-style cheese manufacturers are looking for a “cleaner flavour” to differentiate themselves from rival products.
According to the firm, differentiation is a significant driver in the Swiss cheese market - with many Maasdammer and Emmenthal brands differentiating on the basis of flavour intensity, texture, salt content, or milk origin.
In response to this demand, Chr. Hansen decided to extend its OpenIT range of organic acid cheese cultures with launch of PS-80.
“We developed this product to have low lipolytic activity. Most Swiss cheese cultures have high activity, which can give an unclean, pungent flavour. But we have customers in the Swiss cheese market who are asking for a cleaner flavour,” said Bauquis.
“Producers of Swiss cheese struggle with the formulation of rancid, pungent flavour in the cheese, coming from the degradation of lipids into fatty acids. Using the new culture PS-80 cheese makers will be able to achieve a deliciously extra mild and clean flavour in the cheese.”
In addition to producing a milder flavour, PS-80 enables Swiss cheese producers to reduce their typical cheese ripening period by up to a quarter – allowing for greater productivity and cost efficiency.
“Another property of the culture is its ability to create carbon dioxide at a quicker rate than other cultures. It creates holes in the cheese in a shorter time, thus reducing the ripening time,” said Bauquis.
“From our experience, there is around a 25% reduction. So if you’re ripening time is usually four weeks, this culture will cut that to three weeks.”
“There could also be significant cost reductions, because time is money,” she added.
Eyeing Swiss market
Chr. Hansen is eyeing a significant part of the 900,000 tonnes per annum Swiss-style cheese market following the launch of the PS-80 cheese culture.
“Obviously, there are manufacturers that prefer to produce strong-flavoured cheese. For some, the flavour created by the culture may be too mild,” said Bauquis. “We don’t intend to cover the whole Swiss cheese market. But we think it is a culture that will really bring something to the market.”