Low Fat Natural Cheese Strategic Platform Study, Objectives 1 & 4

Principal Investigators: Donald J. McMahon, Utah State University

Project Summary:

To make the scientific findings from this research applicable to a broad industry and to gain the most usable information from past (and future) research, low fat cheese with specified composition will be made at three different locations using standardized make procedures.  A well-defined starter culture will be selected, and other than curd washing and slight pre-acidification, no other interventions will be used in making the reduced fat and low fat cheeses, that would drastically alter either cheese chemistry or microbial activities.  To account for the influence of curd washing used in the low fat cheese, there will be two full fat cheddar cheeses made, one without using curd washing and the other using curd washing, so that any findings on flavor and texture can be referenced to the established scientific literature on cheddar cheese. The full fat and reduced fat standardized cheeses will be made at Utah State University and California Polytechnic State University, the standardized low fat cheese will be made at these two locations and at University of Wisconsin.  In addition low fat cheeses will be made at each of the three institutions using various strategies proposed for improving the flavor and texture of low fat cheese. These may include such things as different starter cultures, addition of enzymes or other ingredients, specialized make procedures, etc., that will be chosen by the different institutions on a collaborative basis to avoid duplication of efforts. Four such cheeses will be made at the University of Wisconsin, and one each at Utah State University and California Polytechnic State University. 

We will manufacture a total of fifteen cheeses in duplicate that will provide

  1. basis for a systematic study of why the flavor and texture develops differently in low fat cheese compared to full fat cheese,
  2. benchmark for low fat cheese upon which all other research at the dairy research centers can be linked, and
  3. quick screening of possible interventions for improving the quality of low fat cheese suitable for table that will help to guide future research.
The cheeses will be stored at 8oC at their manufacturing location, and sampled made available to other investigators for analysis as needed at 2 wk, 6 wk, 3 mo, 6 mo and 9 mo storage times.





Published Abstract:

McMahon, D. J.  2007.  Improving the quality of low fat cheese. ADSA Annual Meeting, J. Dairy Sci. 90 (Supp. 1):184 (Abstract 197).

McMahon, D. J. 2007.  Making low fat cheese.  2007 Dairy Innovation Forum, Scottsdale, AZ, Feb 14-15.


McMahon, D.J. 2009. Low Fat Natural Cheese Strategic Platform Study - Objective 1. Western Dairy Center Annual Meeting. May 6, Utah State University, Logan.