Effect of Lactobacillus helveticus and Propionibacterium freudenrichii ssp. Shermani combinations on propensity for split defect in Swiss cheese

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Journal of Dairy Science







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One of the least controlled defects in Swiss cheese is development of splits that appear during refrigerated storage after cheese is removed from the warm room. Such fissures, or cracks, in the body of the cheese can be as short as 1 cm, or long enough to span a 90-kg block. A 2 × 2 × 2 factorial experiment was used to determine the effect of different Lactobacillus helveticus/Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii starter culture combinations on the occurrence of split defect in Swiss cheese. Eights vats of cheese were made in summer and eight in winter. Each 90-kg block of cheese was cut into twenty-four 4-kg blocks and graded based on the presence of splits. Only small variations were found in the composition of cheeses made during the same season. There were no correlations between moisture, pH, fat, protein, calcium, lactose contents, D/L lactate ratio, or protein degradation that could be used to predict splits after 90 d of storage. However, cheese made in the summer had 2% higher moisture content and a greater prevalence of splits. There was a sixfold increase in amount of downgraded cheese between the best and worst culture combinations used during cheese manufacture. After 90-d storage, 14 to 90% of cheese had splits in the summer, and 1 to 6% in the winter. Split formation increased with time from 60 to 120 d of storage and extent of split formation was influenced by both the lactobacilli and propionibacteria cultures used.

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