New cheese ripening process promises to boost profits

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cheese Milk Hansen

Chr. Hansen has developed a new cheese ripening process that it claims will add €1.5m to the profits of an average-size continental dairy.

The biotechnology company said the refined foil ripening method produces an 8 per cent increase in yield for manufacturers of sliced, grated or chopped continental cheeses such as Gouda and Edam.

“At current rates this yield increase and the concurrent decrease in storage time at the dairy would add €1.5m to the bottom line of an average-size continental dairy producing 5,000 tons of cheese annually,”​ said marketing director Soeren Herskind.

Starter cultures

At the heart of the new cheese ripening method is Chr. Hansen’s flavour control series of starter cultures that were developed in collaboration with large European dairies.

These were added to the process to increase yield and overcome flavour issues that are commonly associated with foil ripening.

Normally this method of ripening entails the wrapping of young cheese in foil before it is stored at 4-7°C, with the advantage being that moisture is retained during ripening so the producer avoids losing valuable cheese to rind formation.

Flavour development

However, flavour development often falls short of expectation due to the different conditions in the vacuum-packed foil.

By adding adjunct cultures to the cheese, Chr. Hansen claims foil ripened cheese can develop the same quality and flavour as naturally ripened cheese. The flavour control cultures work by speeding up the breakdown of compounds during the cheese ripening process to help the flavour develop.

With the addition of the cultures, the foil-wrapped cheese can be stored at a higher temperature for a shorter time period, helping to cut overall production time.

“Chr. Hansen has cracked that nut,”​ said market development engineer Anne-Claire Bauquis.

Bauquis explained the specific details of the refined method. “We suggest combining a Direct Vat Set starter culture with an adjunct starter culture with a higher proteolytic and peptidolytic activity and we propose storing the foil-wrapped cheese at 10-16°C for four to six weeks –one to two weeks shorter than in naturally ripened cheese.”

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