Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The taste of cheese

Cheese is the generic name for a group of fermented milk-based food products. Over 2,000 natural cheeses have been named and identified, including "original" cheeses, as well as "imitations" of originals.

In cheese, the yeast seems to take part in several microbial interactions important for the fermentation and maturation process of several cheeses.

Dairy-related attributes (dairy fat, dairy sour, and dairy sweet), fundamental tastes (bitter, salty, sour, and sweet), and sharp and astringent were found in every type of cheese.

The volatile flavor compounds in cheese originate from degradation of the major milk constituents; namely lactose, citrate, milk-lipids, and milk proteins (collectively called caseins) during ripening which, depending on the variety, can be a few weeks to more than 2 years long.

The breakdown of protein is important for cheese taste, and some off-flavors, for example, bitterness, but are unlikely to contribute much to aroma. The breakdown of protein also softens the cheese texture by breaking down the casein network. Compounds arising from the catabolism of free amino acids contribute directly to cheese taste and aroma.

Bitterness, origination from nitrogen containing compounds, especially small peptides, is one factor that can limit the acceptability of cheese. NaCl is responsible for the salty taste, and other salts often contribute to the bitter taste.

Chevre had the highest goaty flavor and was rated among the highest for dairy sour flavor, sour taste, and astringency. Chevre had very low dairy flavor notes.

Gruyere could be considered a sweet cheese; it was higher than most cheeses in both sweet taste and dairy sweet, and was low in bitterness.
The taste of cheese
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