Effects of Starch-based Anti-caking Agents on the Functional Properties of Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Akins, Maureen Lynch
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Mozzarella cheese production has been gaining market share due in part to increasing market for pizza and ready to eat food items. Anti-caking agents are utilized in the production of shredded cheese for reducing clumping and increasing the appearance of separate cheese shreds. Six anti-caking agents were applied to low moisture part skim Mozzarella cheese and examined for effects on three major functional properties of Mozzarella cheese; meltability, stretchability, and free oil formation. Meltability determination utilizing a fabricated UW Meltmeter resulted in no significant differences between untreated samples (control) and samples treated with anti-caking agents containing cellulose, potato starch or mixtures including dextrose. Stretchability measurements taken using a modified helical viscometry procedure also resulted in no significant differences between control and treated samples. Significant differences were found when comparing free oil percentages obtained from varying treatments of anti-caking agents. A mixture of potato starch and cellulose resulted in the lowest level of free oil among all samples tested. Because potato starch treated samples performed equally to cellulose treated samples in both meltability and stretchability testing, anti-caking agents containing potato starch could be considered as an alternative to cellulose-based anti-caking agents. In addition, the use of potato starch alone and in conjunction with powdered cellulose has been shown to be more effective for free oil control. By treating with potato starch, functional properties of shredded Mozzarella cheese have been positively altered in a way which may increase acceptability by consumers.
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