Date of Award:

1991

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

C. A. Ernstrom

Abstract

The purpose of this dissertation was to study factors affecting moisture distribution in 290-kilogram stirred-curd Cheddar cheese blocks cooled in stainless steel hoops. Uneven moisture distribution within blocks may create cheese with variable texture and flavor, which can be extremely costly to the producer. The effects of temperature, pH, and vacuum treatment on moisture distribution were investigated. Temperature, pH, moisture, and pressure profiles were presented. Also, comparisons were made between temperature profiles of 290- kilogram stirred-curd Cheddar cheese blocks cooled in stainless steel and in plywood hoops, as well as between temperature profiles of 66-kilogram Swiss cheese blocks cooled in cardboard and in plastic boxes.

Moisture transferred from high to low temperature in the cheese blocks. Moisture may have transferred in response to thermally induced curd moisture-holding capacity gradients in the cheese blocks. Moisture also may have transferred in the cheese blocks by a mechanism similar to thermo-osmosis of liquids in porous solids.

The cheese in the plywood or cardboard insulating materials cooled more uniformly than the cheese in the stainless steel or plastic containers. More uniform cooling of the cheese produced more uniform moisture distribution in the cheese blocks. Recommendations were made to help the cheesemaker produce cheese with even moisture distribution.

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