Development of Methods for Assessing the Effect of Moisture and Aging On Sliceability of Cheese
This work made publicly available electronically on May 9, 2012.
Sliceability is a cheese’s ability to cut cleanly into thin slices, resist breakage or fracture at slices edges, and undergo a high level of bending before breaking. Intuitively, sliceability depends on the chemistry, microstructural, and rheological properties of the casein network. Currently there is no reported scientific research investigating evaluation methods of cheese slice quality, as well as properties that influence a cheese’s ability to slice. In this study, a method for slice quality evaluation was developed on purchased cheese and performed on commercial cheeses and experimental cheeses manufactured at three different moisture contents (40.6%, 37.0%, and 33.9%). In addition, tack force, tack energy, flexibility force, G’, G”, and G* were examined to determine whether or not moisture content influences cheese sliceability. Overall, slice quality at all three moisture contents improved as storage time increased, and the high moisture cheeses produced the worst quality slices and the low moisture cheeses produced the best. Both tack energy and tack force increased with increasing moisture content, and G’, G”, and G* decreased This work made publicly available electronically on May 9, 2012. with increasing moisture and did not change over time. Tack energy and G” were found to be slightly correlated with cheese slice quality. Flexibility force was not correlated with cheese slice quality. Moisture and storage time, as well their interaction, had significant effects on dependent variables, potentially indicating that a higher moisture cheese texture changes differently compared to medium and low moisture cheeses during storage. Correlation tests did not express a strong connection between moisture content, age, and cheese slice quality, overall. This research lays the foundation for future slice quality evaluation, and is a starting point upon which other companies and scientists can build.