Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Donald J. McMahon


Donald J. McMahon


David W. Britt


Silvana Martini


Marie K. Walsh


Robert E. Ward


Low-fat cheese faces great challenges associated with its texture being hard and rubbery, desirable flavors being missing, color being undesirably intense and translucent appearing, and melting being improper. In an effort of improving the quality of low-fat cheeses, several strategies have been tried to accomplish three major objectives, 1) improving the melting and baking properties of low-fat Mozzarella cheese, 2) improving the color of low-fat Cheddar cheese, and 3) investigating the feasibilities of enriching low-fat Cheddar cheese with dietary fibers.

For objective 1, 4 batches of low-fat Mozzarella cheese with target fat of 6.0%, 4.5%, 3.0%, and 1.5% were made using a stirred curd method, comminuted in a bowl chopper and mixed with different levels of melted butter (0.0, 1.5, 3.0, and 4.5% (wt/wt), respectively) before pressing. This would made the cheese that had increased free oil, increased melting, and improved baking as the level of added butter increased. The added butterfat was present as free fat along the curd particle junctions as shown by laser scanning confocal microscopy while the fat droplets originating from the milk were distributed within the protein matrix of the cheese. In objective 2, consumer tests and flavor profile analysis were performed on 4 commercial brands of full-fat Cheddar cheese and 9 low-fat Cheddar cheeses manufactured at Utah State University with different colors. Low-fat cheeses were rated different (P < 0.05) for their liking by a consumer panel even though they were all made the same way except for addition of color. The only difference in flavor detected by a trained panel was for a slight variation in bitterness. Using a combination of annatto and titanium dioxide produced a cheese that was rated the highest. Annatto when added singly produced a low-fat cheese that was rated the lowest. Moreover, commercial cheeses were also ranked significantly different for liking and buying preference.

For objective 3, several trials were conducted to enrich low-fat cheese with inulin, pectin, polydextrose, or resistant-starch either by incorporating them into cheesemilk, mixing with 15-d aged cheese followed by repressing, or by formulating a W/O/W emulsion with inulin and incorporating the emulsion into the milk prior to cheesemaking. Adding fibers directly to milk resulted in less or no retention of fibers in cheese, whereas fibers added to comminuted cheeses were too crumbly. Adding fiber as a W/O/W emulsion improved fiber retention in the cheese and produced an improved texture of low-fat cheese.




This work made publicly available electronically on April 10, 2012.

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