Production of High Protein Cheddar Cheese with an Improved Extrusion-Modified TexturePrincipal Investigator:
Marie K. Walsh, Utah State University
This project will investigate the use of extrusion technology to improve the texture of high protein (low fat) Cheddar cheese. High protein Cheddar cheese has a composition of approximately 54% moisture, 6% fat and 34% protein. This composition results in a cheese that has flavor defects and a rubbery texture. Therefore, several blends of Cheddar cheeses (full fat aged, and nonfat) will be grated and blended prior to extrusion in a twin-screw extruder. Extruder conditions of low temperatures (40 to 60 C), screw and paddle configurations of medium shear, and moderate pressures (~350 psi) will be explored to improve the cheese texture by disruption of the casein matrix and evenly distributing fat, moisture and air cells. Additionally, the use of fat replacers (Temp Pro WPC, Novagel, Simplesse, Vitacel MCG and Vitacel Plus) to improve the texture of the extruded cheese will be investigated. All cheeses will be analyzed for protein, moisture and fat content and the texture will be determined and compared to full fat aged and nonfat Cheddar cheeses. The goals of this project are to optimize the extruder configurations (screw and paddle sequences) and the physiochemical parameters (formulation, temperature and pressure) to allow the extrusion modification of Cheddar cheese texture and to investigate the influence of fat replacers on the texture of the extruded cheese. The use of full fat, aged cheeses blended with nonfat cheese in conjunction with extrusion may yield a product with enhanced flavor and texture compared to currently available high protein Cheddar cheeses.