Reinventing and upgrading low-fat mozzarella-type cheese is set to enable cheese lovers to have their cake and eat it.
Cheese-making in Europe is under threat with new EU legislation that calls for limiting fat content in cheeses. The industry is therefore looking at ways to decrease fat while maintaining taste, texture and melting ability of cheeses.
This is the aim of the EU-funded project CHEESECOAT. The project is developing a mozzarella-type cheese with less than 3 % fat that would taste much better than low-fat varieties available on the market.
To achieve its aims, the project team is isolating novel starter cultures to enhance the texture and taste of low-fat mozzarella-like cheeses, improving processing stages related to acidity, milk–fat ratio, casein-to-fat ratio, melting factor and temperature. It is also creating an oil coating process of cheese shreds to improve the properties of the cheese without all the fat.
The initiative, which brings together 11 partners from several European countries, businesses and research centres, began by investigating the latest advances in low-fat cheese-making. It found that low-fat mozzarella improves with higher moisture content, less calcium and improved proteolysis, brought about by better starter cultures and processing. After screening 100 microbial cultures and culture combinations for proteolytic ability and other characteristics, the project team chose four cultures that displayed better performance and tested them in cheese-making.
In parallel, CHEESECOAT made significant progress in developing a promising fat-based coating to enhance melting behaviour of cheese, aiming to optimise its results in the future. So far, the results have been very good, paving the way for more research and for new mozzarella-type cheeses to hit the market.
Armed with these developments and advances, the small and medium-sized businesses under the project are expected to increase their market competitiveness. Dieters, pizza fans, sandwich makers, health-conscious individuals and cheese lovers will undoubtedly welcome the new product.
Provided by Cordis