Pasta filata means ‘spun paste’ – the elasticy texture allows the cheese to be pulled and twisted. Such cheeses make up 12 per cent of European cheese production – some 900,000 tones per year, with the hub of production in Italy.Demand for cultures of this kind has also been high from South American dairies, according to Nanna Borne, marketing manager for cheese cultures.
Borne told FoodNavigator.com that the new blends can help bring about cost savings for dairies because it eliminates the spoiling of some vats by bacteriophages.
If the harmful bacteriophages win out against the beneficial bacteria, this can lead to a ‘dead’ vat, where the cheese-making process does not begin and the result is like normal milk, or poor quality vats that can only be sold for a reduced price for other uses.
In a lot of dairies cheese is produced in a continuous process that is automated in a dry matting conveyor. Cleaning happens only once process is switched off at night, so bacteriophages build up throughout the day.
“You need a robust culture to work in those conditions,” she said.
Another benefit is said to be the speed at which the blends work, acidifying the cheese milk much faster than bulk starters and with much less required.
Each of the new blends contains multiple trends, which act in synergy. Moreover, the three available blends, called FD-DVS STI-12, FD-DVS STI-13, and FD-DVS STI-14, contain different strains and can be used in rotation.
This, Borne said, means they are not all attacked by the same bacteriophages, and daily rotation minimises the risk of them propagating.
Borne explained that Chr Hansen has offered cultures for pasta filata cheeses in a frozen format for a number of years. But since the frozen version requires specific storage conditions at around -45 degrees, and comes in larger pack sizes, this made them hard for some potential customers to handle.
The new freeze-dried cultures are “a conversion of a popular concept”. They are not so sensitive, and are available in pack sizes that are appropriate for the vat sizes of small and mid-sized dairies.
Direct Vat Set sense
Chr Hansen’s Direct Vat Set (DVS) family of cultures are designed to replace traditional starter cultures. This removes the need for dairy producers to make their own starter culture first, so they can focus on the end product.The DVS technology is also said to bring more flexibility of use, performance consistency and customisation of blends.