DSM Food Specialties has introduced a new cheese ripening enzyme that it claims accelerates flavor development while also eliminating the bitter off-taste often formed during cheese maturation.
Designed to cut costs and improve efficiency by speeding up the cheese maturation process, DSM said trials with its new product have demonstrated a three month reduction of cheddar cheese maturation time.
According to the company, because Accelerzyme CPG is a pure enzyme, it is also the first reliable product on the market that always produces the same result.
DSM claims its new product does not contain any extra, unwanted enzymes, which are usually found in competitor products. This purity means that its work is not disrupted by the side effects of other enzymes, which often result in off-tastes.
"In some cases, previous generation cheese ripening enzymes work very well. But depending on the conditions of cheese making, other enzymes sometimes come into play, and the work of the enzyme is not reliable," said Dr Rutger van Rooijen, new business development manager of DSM's dairy ingredients.
As well as its reliability, Accelerzyme CPG is also marketed for its ability to eliminate bitter peptides that may be formed during the cheese maturation process by culture bacteria or other enzymes.
"By removing an amino acid from bitter peptides that are sometimes formed, this enzyme can be used as a safeguard against bitterness," Dr van Rooijen explained.
And because of the enzyme's pH profile, it does not interfere with whey processing, said the company. The enzyme remains relatively inactive at the high pH levels in the early stages of cheese making (around pH 5.5), allowing the whey and curd to separate without interference.
Once these have separated and the lactate produced acidifies the curd, the pH level goes down and the enzyme comes into action. And because Accelerzyme CPG is also thermo-labile, it is inactivated when whey is pasteurized, meaning that it does not interfere with further uses of whey, said Dr van Rooijen.
The new product will be introduced at the International Cheese Technology Exposition (ICTE), which will take place later this month in Madison, Wisconsin.
Accelerzyme CPG has already been available on the market for around four months, and initial customer trials have brought positive feedback, said the Dutch ingredients firm, which hopes its new product will attract significant interest.
Indeed, DSM appears to expect this interest as it is prepared to churn out large quantities of the enzyme from its production facility in Seclin, France.
"There is no limita to production. If the whole cheese world wants it, we can produce it," Dr van Rooijen told FoodNavigator-USA.com.
But despite being produced in France, cheese manufacturers in that country, as well as in Denmark, will have to wait before they can use the new product. According to DSM, standard delays in authorizing new enzymes in the two countries mean that it may be unlikely to hit those markets until next year.
Although available in all other markets globally, DSM said it currently intends to focus on marketing the product in the US, where it particularly plans to target cheddar manufacturers.
Studies of the enzyme in cheddar have revealed that it allows the cheese to have the flavor of a 6 month-old product after just three months of maturation.
Dr van Rooijen said the company is still assessing the enzyme's full potential in other semi hard and hard cheeses, such as brie, parmesan and gouda, but added that "we already have good indication that it works for other cheeses."
However, because of the enzyme's pH profile, it may not prove to be equally as suitable for cheeses with a high pH. But according to Dr van Rooijen, although the enzyme works best with low pH cheeses, "it is still too early to say it doesn't work in cheeses with a high pH. We will certainly give it a try."
The new enzyme is also marketed as 'label-friendly,' as it is GM free, allergen free and Kosher and Halal approved.