Improvement in Melting and Baking Properties of Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese

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Journal of Dairy Science



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Low-fat cheeses dehydrate too quickly when baked in a forced air convection oven, preventing proper melting on a pizza. To overcome this problem, low-fat Mozzarella cheese was developed in which fat is released onto the cheese surface during baking to prevent excessive dehydration. Low-fat Mozzarella cheese curd was made with target fat contents of 15, 30, 45, and 60 g/kg using direct acidification of the milk to pH 5.9 before renneting. The 4 portions of cheese curd were comminuted and then mixed with sufficient glucono-δ-lactone and melted butter (45, 30, 15, or 0 g/kg, respectively), then pressed into blocks to produce low-fat Mozzarella cheese with about 6% fat and pH 5.2. The cheeses were analyzed after 15, 30, 60, and 120 d of storage at 5°C for melting characteristics, texture, free oil content, dehydration performance, and stretch when baked on a pizza at 250°C for 6 min in a convection oven. Cheeses made with added butter had higher stretchability compared with the control cheese. Melting characteristics also improved in contrast to the control cheese, which remained in the form of shreds during baking and lacked proper melting. The cheeses made with added butter had higher free oil content, which correlated (R2 ≥ 0.92) to the amount of butterfat added, and less hardness and gumminess compared with the control low fat cheese.