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A post-manufacture method to evaluate the effect of pH on mozzarella cheese characteristics

Authors: P.S. Kindstedt, A. Zielinski, M. Almena-Aliste and C. Ge


A post-manufacture method to increase or decrease the pH of mozzarella cheese by exposing shredded cheese to volatile ammonia or acetic acid, respectively, was developed and used to evaluate the effect of cheese pH on melting characteristics and calcium distribution. This approach enabled the cheese pH to be varied over a wide range without causing large collateral and confounding changes in cheese composition. Low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheeses melted to a progressively more fibrous and elastic consistency, and the apparent viscosity increased in a linear manner with increasing pH in the range of ca. 5.0 to 7.0. In contrast, cheeses lost the ability to flow and melt at pH values less than 5.0, causing a large increase in the apparent viscosity with decreasing pH in the range of 5.0 to 4.7. Water-soluble calcium increased with decreasing cheese pH, especially in the pH range of 5.0 to 4.7. The results demonstrate that the pH of mozzarella cheese is a strong determinant of structure and functional characteristics, independent of other important parameters. A better understanding of the effect of pH on mozzarella cheese at different stages of ageing could lead to new strategies to tailor and control functional characteristics.

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