Easy on the salt: Chr. Hansen develops sodium-reducing cheese concept
The SaltLite concept – a combination of existing Chr. Hansen DVS starter and adjunct cultures and CHY-MAX M cheese coagulants – can cut sodium levels by up to half while ensuring “exceptional product quality.”
According to the Denmark-based ingredients manufacturer, the cultures help to maintain the taste forfeited when cutting salt levels. While the cheese coagulants improve texture and reduce bitterness.
Reducing sodium levels in cheese is technically challenging as it can have an adverse impact on taste, texture and shelf life, said Chr. Hansen dairy enzymes marketing manager Timothy Wallace.
Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Wallace said this development will become “invaluable” to cheese manufacturers.
“Slightly different” but still likeable
“We know that reducing salt levels in cheese is challenging. The end product often doesn’t taste, look or feel the same. This solution is able to counter those effects and produce a cheese with a similar taste and texture profile to normal salt cheese,” said Wallace.
“There is interest in reducing salt levels in all food categories from bread to cheese. This is a solution that will be invaluable to cheese manufacturers attempting to reduce sodium levels.”
Wallace conceded that manufacturers will have to make some formulation changes, and the reduced-sodium cheese produced will be “slightly different.”
Wallace added, however, that the “likeability” of the finished product will be similar.
“But salt does play a very important role in the manufacture of cheese. When you reduce salt levels in cheese you have to make a few alterations to your formulation,” he said.
“The taste and texture of cheese manufactured using this concept will also be slightly different, as salt plays an important role in the development of cheese.”
“It will not be the same, but it will be very similar. The likeability of the finished product will be very similar to normal salt cheese.”
Concept can be “adapted”
SaltLite is the result of a PhD project carried out in collaboration between Chr. Hansen and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. It was developed primarily to reduce sodium levels in cheddar and continental cheese products.
Wallace added that Chr. Hansen has plans to extend the initial research to adapt the Salt Lite concept for other cheese types.
“The primary use of this concept is on cheddar and continental-type cheeses such as Gouda and Edam. But we are looking at other cheese types, as we think this concept can be adapted.”
“The principal of the concept should work with other cheese types. That is something we are looking into at the moment," said Wallace.