Thursday, November 03, 2005

CHEESE Maturation

The process of cheese making is broken down into the four steps: curdling or coagulation of the milk, shaping of the curds, salting, washing, and seeding, and maturing.
It is the aging of the cheese which gives it its unique flavor – the longer the cheese has been aged, the stronger the flavor. Thus the maturation stage of the cheese making process is an important stage to complete the each cheese cycle in producing its own unique flavor.
According to
All about cheese , the environment in which the cheese matures is the main factor that alters the cheese ripening process. The cellars that store the cheese may be either humid and warm, or relatively cool. Most cheeses, however, are stored in drying-rooms to speed up the maturation. The temperature of the cellars can range from 32 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit but the majority of cheeses, once again, is ripened between 46 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The ripening stage is the exchange of gases such as carbon dioxide and ammonia from the cheese and oxygen in the air. This exchange is what leads to the growth of both ‘aerobic surface flora’ and ‘interior flora’.

Carbon dioxide has been recognized as a food preservative. The
Dept of Health, during the food and drug regulations act passed an amendment that acknowledged the obtainment of a submission to permit the use of carbon dioxide in a variety of foods. The intention was to provide for the use of carbon dioxide as a ‘pH adjusting agent’ in milk in the production of cheese.

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