New cheese culture can halve ripening time and improve taste
Researchers from DTU National Food Institute have developed a new cheese culture that can be used to produce an aged cheese in half the time, making cheese production more sustainable.
Thursday 03 August 2023
Cheese production is time-consuming and costly. A cheese typically needs to age from a few weeks up to more than a year to achieve the desired taste and aroma. This is done in special cheese warehouses with specific temperature and humidity requirements. Great costs are also associated with storing the cheeses for long periods. If the storage time can be shortened, there are major financial and environmental benefits to be gained.
Researchers from DTU National Food Institute have recently succeeded in developing a solution that can reduce the ripening time of stored Danbo cheese from approximately 25 to 13 weeks.
“We have tested the culture at a Danish dairy on a large scale on a mild Gouda cheese and an aged Danbo cheese. For both cheese types, the results were faster ripening and improved taste, which surprised the dairy’s cheese experts. Faster cheese ripening has many benefits, among them financial savings and a more sustainable cheese production,” says Associate Professor Christian Solem from the National Food Institute, who is behind the innovation.
The culture releases cheese ripening enzymes more efficiently
The purpose of the cheese culture is to produce lactic acid as well as ripening enzymes. The ripening enzymes are found inside the lactic acid bacteria and are usually released slowly during the cheese ripening period. The problem with existing solutions is that this process is slow and only partial.
“The National Food Institute has developed a culture that releases all ripening enzymes at once, resulting in faster ripening,” explains Associate Professor Christian Solem.
The culture can be used like any other cheese culture and does not require any equipment other than what the dairies already have available. The method, which is 100% natural, represents an innovative way of thinking dairy production.
For more information
The results are currently being published in the article: ‘Simple & Better – Accelerated cheese ripening using a mesophilic starter based on a single strain with superior autolytic properties’