Use of Fat Replacers in Low Fat Mozzarella Cheese

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Journal of Dairy Science



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Low fat Mozzarella cheeses with <6% fat were made using fat replacers to increase the moisture content and to improve the functional properties of the cheese. We used two protein-based fat replacers (Simplesse® D100 and Dairy-Lo®) and two carbohydrate-based fat replacers (Stellar™ 100X and Novagel™ RCN-15). Moisture contents of the cheeses were 53.0, 54.3, 55.2, 55.3, and 57.3% for the control, Stellar™, Dairy-Lo®, Simplesse®, and Novagel™ cheeses, respectively. Apparent viscosity of the cheese at 80°C was not significantly affected by addition of fat replacers, but there was a significant effect on meltability. Cheeses made with Stellar™ and Simplesse® had greater overall meltability than cheese made with Dairy-Lo® or the control. The cheese made with Novagel™ contained the most moisture but, from d 1 to d 14, melted to the least extent. By d 21, all cheeses melted to the same extent.

The location of the fat replacers in the cheese structure was examined using scanning electron microscopy. Distribution of the fat replacers within the cheese was influenced by the extent of microparticulation of the fat replacer, size of the fat replacer particles, and processing steps that caused an interaction between the fat replacer and the caseins in milk. Novagel™ was present as the largest particles (up to 80 μm), and their incorporation into the cheese curd resulted in increased openness in the cheese, and large serum channels (up to 300 μm) were formed. None of the other fat replacers increased the openness of the cheese structure. Cheese sample preparation for the electron microscopy caused the Novagel™ particles to shrink and to appear artifactually as solid particles rather than as fibrous particles as shown by freeze-drying. Stellar™ was observed as spheroid particles (0.5 to 1 μm in diameter) embedded within the protein matrix of the cheese as well as being present in the serum channels. No discrete Dairy-Lo® particles were observed in the protein matrix, indicating a low level of microparticulation (particles < 0.2 μm) of the proteins in Dairy-Lo®.

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