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Title:
NEW CHEESE-BASED FOOD PREPARATIONS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/184856
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
New cheese-based food preparations are described, with or without melting salts, realized with the aid of a particular formulation based on pea starch and vegetable fibers. Further, a process for thereof preparation is described. Such preparations, obtainable without resorting to artificial additives or with a limited recourse to them, have a high nutrient/ healthy content, and show a suitable consistency to be further processed through the industrial procedures of slicing, dicing or grinding and the like.

Inventors:
BIANCHI, Maurizio (Via M.F. Quintiliano 30, Milano, 20138, IT)
Application Number:
EP2016/061023
Publication Date:
November 24, 2016
Filing Date:
May 17, 2016
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
PRODOTTI GIANNI S.R.L. (Via M.F. Quintiliano 30, Milano, 20138, IT)
International Classes:
A23C19/082; A23C19/09
Domestic Patent References:
WO1997003572A11997-02-06
WO2005107487A12005-11-17
WO2008054232A12008-05-08
WO2004064540A12004-08-05
WO2015069678A12015-05-14
Foreign References:
EP0289096A11988-11-02
US20040096564A12004-05-20
EP1123658A22001-08-16
EP2138052A12009-12-30
Other References:
DATABASE GNPD [online] MINTEL; March 2015 (2015-03-01), ANONYMOUS: "EMMENTAL FLAVOURED VEGE SLICES", XP002749115, retrieved from WWW.GNPD.COM Database accession no. 3029723
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GERLI, Paolo (BOTTI & FERRARI S.r.l, Via Cappellini 11, Milano, 20124, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. Cheese-based food preparation comprising: cheese, pea starch, and vegetable fibers.

2. Preparation according to claim 1 , wherein said vegetable fibers comprise insoluble vegetable fibers and soluble vegetable fibers.

3. Preparation according to claim 2, wherein the weight ratio between insoluble and soluble vegetable fibers is comprised between 0.5: 1 and

I .5: 1.

4. Preparation according to claim 3, wherein said ratio is about 1 : 1. 5. Preparation according to claims 1-4, wherein said vegetable fibers are present as a whole in a weight percent comprised between 1% and 4%.

6. Preparation according to anyone of claims 1-5, wherein said pea starch is present in a weight percent comprised between 3% and 8%.

7. Preparation according to anyone of claims 2-6, wherein said insoluble vegetable fiber is selected from: wheat fiber, bamboo fiber, sugarcane fiber, oat fiber and mixtures thereof.

8. Preparation according to anyone of claims 2-6, wherein said soluble vegetable fiber is selected from Plantago ovata/Plantago Psyllium fiber.

9. Food preparation according to anyone of claims 1-8 further comprising one or more among water, powdered milk, milk proteins, sodium chloride and flavours.

10. Food preparation according to anyone of claims 1-9, free of melting salts.

I I . Use of the cheese-based food preparation described in claims 1- 10, for the production of food products.

12. Food product comprising the food preparation described in claims 1- 10.

13. Process to obtain a food preparation as defined in claims 1- 10, characterized by mixing pea starch, vegetable fibers, cheese and possible excipients.

14. Process according to claim 13, performed without the use of melting salts, comprising the following steps: a) dispersing in water said pea starch, vegetable fibers and possible excipients; b) heating under stirring, to a temperature comprised between 80°C and 90°C, the dispersion obtained in a); c) adding said cheese to the product of b); d) maintaining the product of c) under stirring, at a temperature comprised between 80°C and 90°C obtaining a single homogeneous and viscous phase; e) cooling the product of d) to a temperature comprised between 1 °C and 6°C, and maintaining it at such temperature for a time period comprised between 2 and 3 days.

15. Process according to claim 14, wherein in step b) the dispersion is heated to a temperature comprised between 80°C and 85°C.

16. Process according to anyone of claims 14- 15, wherein in step d) the product of c) is maintained at a temperature comprised between 80°C and 85°C.

17. Process according to anyone of claims 14- 16, wherein in step e) said product of d) is cooled to a temperature comprised between 2°C and 4°C.

18. Process according to anyone of claims 14- 17, wherein in step c) sodium chloride is added. 19. Process according to claim 13, performed without the use of melting salts, comprising the following steps: a) homogenizing at room temperature said cheese and possible excipients; b) homogenizing at room temperature said pea starch and vegetable fibers; c) joining the homogenates obtained in a) and b) d) heating under stirring the product of c) to a temperature comprised between 80°C and 90°C; e) cooling the product of d) to a temperature comprised between 1 °C and 6°C, and maintaining it at such temperature for a time period comprised between 2 and 3 days.

20. Food preparation obtainable by the process described in claims 13- 18.

Description:
Title: New cheese-based food preparations

DESCRIPTION

Application Field

The present invention relates to the field of the food industry. In particular, the invention relates to cheese-based food preparations obtainable both with the traditional use of melting salts, and without the use of melting salts. In particular, but not exclusively, the invention relates to the field of the cheese substitutes, industrially produced, e.g. in the form of a single portion. Prior Art

As it is known, cheese, its derivatives and numerous other foods containing them are among the most globally consumed foods. Many of these foods, intended for mass distribution, are produced in large quantities in a standardized manner on an industrial level. An important group of foods in this field is that of the cheeses offered to the public in formats for easy manipulation, typically in the form of a single portion as mini-cheeses and cheese-based snacks. A further important product category is represented by cheese-based food preparations that are used as semi-finished intermediates in the industrial preparation of countless types of products ready to use (products ready to cook and ready to eat}. Such products require a particular consistency that allows them to be subjected to industrial procedures as slicing, dicing, mincing, and similar operations.

On the other hand, it is known that such foods do not always guarantee a balanced nutrient supply, and often they also contain substances and additives potentially harmful to the human body. These artificial substances are used for example to standardize/ improve the rheology of the dough adapting it to heat and mechanical treatments which lead to the formation of slices, single portions, etc. Among the potentially harmful additives and substances used during the formulation of the above mentioned foods, the melting salts are widely used, such as phosphates, polyphosphates and/ or citrates, in particular of alkali metals and/ or alkaline-earth metals and hydrates thereof. These salts have the multiple purpose of emulsifying fats, isolating casein, so that this latter can act as surfactant itself and, therefore, produce a stable, homogeneous product also endowed with the desired consistency. However, the use of melting salts makes the final product less attractive to the final consumer, being this latter even more conscious about health and food security; also, it can result in an undesired level of quality of the product, e.g. forming crystals and segregation areas, due to the limited solubility of such salts. In addition, complications are possible during the production process such as, for example, the demixing of the fatty phase from the aqueous phase, caused by an incorrect choice of the melting salt or the quantity thereof, in association with the pH conditions. On the other hand, it is particularly difficult to industrially produce a cheese having a determined consistency without the use of melting salts which act on the final texture of the product.

There is therefore the need of cheese-based food preparations, having a suitable consistency, which limit as much as possible the use of additives, without prejudice to their industrial processability; moreover, there is the need of cheese-based food preparations which maintain substantially unaltered for the entire requested shelf-life their rheological and structural characteristics; new production processes that make available such products are also required, which may further optimize the structural features thereof.

Summary of the Invention Object of the present invention is a cheese-based food preparation, with or without melting salts, particularly adapted to the industrial preparation of semi-finished dairies such as slices, multi portions, single portions, snacks and similar forms. Said preparation comprises cheese, pea starch and vegetable fibers acting as texturizing ingredients and, optionally, additional ingredients used in cheese-based preparations [e.g. powdered milk or other milk derivatives, sodium chloride, flavorings, etc.). The melting salts may be present as for the traditional processes of melted cheeses production or absent (according to an advantageous embodiment of the invention). The invention also includes a process for obtaining the food preparation described above. In a preferred embodiment, in the type "without melting salts", the process is characterized by a step of hydration under heating of a mixture of said pea starch and fibers and possible excipients and the subsequent incorporation under heating of the cheese, followed by appropriate cooling and maturation. A second possible process involves homogenizing the cheese and a mixture of said pea starch and fibers and possible excipients without heating, followed by treatment under heating and subsequent appropriate cooling and maturation. The present food preparations in turn are industrially processable and usable as ingredients for the preparation of finished food products.

Description of the drawings

Figure 1 : Example of cheese-based food preparation made according to the invention. Detailed Description

The invention has for an object the realization of cheese-based food preparations, obtained by a particular formulation of ingredients, comprising cheese, pea starch, and vegetable fibers, with or without the addition of melting salts. The thus obtained preparations have a consistency suitable to be subjected to the industrial processes of slicing, dicing and/ or grinding, in particular those intended to realize slices, multi portions, single portions, snacks, etc.

In the present description, with the term "cheese-based food preparation" is meant a cheese-based semi-finished product which can be easily cut into standard portions, which maintains its shape at room temperature, which can be easily manipulated in the course of industrial processes (e.g. storage, transfer on walkways, loading to hoppers, etc.) with substantial integrity of shape and rheological qualities; such semi-finished product is usable as an ingredient in the preparation of various foods. With the term "melting salts" (also referred to as "emulsifying salts") are meant the salts commonly used in the industrial production of cheese in order to emulsify fats, isolate casein, so that this latter can act as surfactant itself and, therefore, produce a stable, homogeneous and having the desired consistency product; they are in general phosphates, polyphosphates and/ or citrates, in particular of alkali metals and/ or alkaline earth metals, and hydrates thereof.

In the preparations according to the invention, the pea starch is present in a weight percent preferably comprised between 3% and 8%.

The vegetable fibers used in the present preparations may be derived from one or more vegetable sources. Preferably, they comprise at least one insoluble vegetable fiber and at least one soluble vegetable fiber; the solubility of the fiber is understood with respect to water. The weight percent of vegetable fibers in the above preparations is preferably comprised between 1% and 4%. When using soluble and insoluble vegetable fibers, the weight ratio between insoluble and soluble vegetable fibers is comprised between 0.5: 1 and 1.5: 1 , preferably being approximately equal to 1 : 1. The insoluble vegetable fibers are preferably selected from wheat fiber (Triticum aestivum), bamboo fiber, sugarcane fiber (Saccharum officinarum), oat fiber, and/ or mixtures thereof.

The soluble vegetable fibers are preferably selected from Plantago fiber, such as Plantago ovata and/ or Plantago psyllium. The presence of "real" cheese in the present preparations is a key feature of the present invention: that distinguishes it from any food composition containing foods that only mimic the look, the texture and/ or the organoleptic characteristics of cheese, without using the latter. For the purposes of the invention, it is therefore possible to use a wide range of fine cheeses from the point of view of the organoleptic, nutritional or typical provenance characteristics, e.g. fontal, mozzarella, edammer, cheddar, gouda, emmentaler, gruyere and/ or a mixture thereof.

The food preparation of the invention can further comprise one or more of the additional ingredients commonly employed for these products such as water, powdered milk, milk proteins, sodium chloride (NaCl) and flavorings; the melting salts are only optional as, with the product of the present invention, products free of melting salts can advantageously be produced. Common thickeners and gelling agents (carrageenan, guar gum, gelatins, etc.) can be possibly added to the recipe in order to impart desired characteristics or peculiarities (e.g. the modulation of the structure during the heating of the finished product) .

The preparations obtained according to the invention are provided with a suitable consistency to be subjected to the industrial procedures of slicing, dicing or grinding.

The pea starch, together with the vegetable fibers provided according to the invention, has proved able to confer to the obtained product the requested texture, without altering the organoleptic properties of the cheese; the pea starch has also proved to have a high gelling power in the present preparations, further, it showed a neutral taste that, consequently, does not affect the flavor of the finished product.

The insoluble fibers cooperate in improving the consistency of the preparation, due to the network structure they form in the matrix of the cheese, and they also possess a significant water retention capacity both in the final product and during the different production steps for obtaining the same. The soluble fibers cooperate to the matrix elasticity, to water retention. The above vegetable fibers, soluble and insoluble, further give to the preparation (and to the final food containing it) a "healthy" composition appearance and in line with the most current nutritional indications; in the context of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, they cause a variety of beneficial effects on the human organism, such as a generic laxative effect and a regularization of digestion in the intestine, a decreased level of cholesterol associated with low density lipoproteins in the blood stream and/ or a decrease in the glucose level in the blood.

The synergy between all the above mentioned components has allowed to realize cheese-based food preparations, even without the use of melting salts, having suitable consistency to be subjected to industrial processes of slicing, dicing or grinding. The present invention includes a process for the production of the above cheese-based food preparations. In its general sense, the process is characterized by mixing the above mentioned ingredients, with or without melting salts. Moreover, the Applicant has studied a specific embodiment of the process in its variant without melting salts (according to two different methodologies here defined as "Method 1 " and "Method 2") able to optimize the characteristics of the industrial processability, increasing the homogeneity and constancy of rheological properties and texture.

METHOD 1 : According to this embodiment, the cheese is added under heating to a liquid and very viscous phase (here called "weld") comprising the above mentioned pea starch and fibers, previously prepared by dispersing in water said pea starch and fibers and heating said dispersion to 80-90 °C. In particular, said process, which does not require the use of melting salts, provides the following steps: a) dispersing in water said pea starch and vegetable fibers; b) heating under stirring, to a temperature comprised between 80°C and 90°C, the dispersion obtained in a); c) adding the cheese to the product of b); d) maintaining the product of c) under stirring, at a temperature comprised between 80°C and 90°C obtaining a single homogeneous and viscous phase; e) cooling the product of d) to a temperature comprised between 1 °C and 6°C, and maintaining it at such temperature for a time period comprised between 2 and 3 days. During step a) of the process it is possible to add, as an option, further excipients and/ or co-formulants commonly used in the field of cheese preparation.

In step b), a preferred range of heating is comprised between 80 °C and 85 °C. The heating to these temperatures can be applied for a relatively short time, e.g. comprised between 100 and 300 seconds. The step b) gives rise to a homogeneous and viscous liquid phase, also called "weld".

In step c), to the weld formed in b) cheese is added; preferably it is added in the form of small pieces [e.g. granules, grounded, dried powder), so to facilitate a uniform incorporation. In the case in which the formulation provides for the use of sodium chloride (NaCl), this is preferably added at this stage. In step d), a preferred range of heating is comprised between 80 °C and 85 °C. The heating to these temperatures can be applied for a relatively short time, e.g. between 100 and 300 seconds.

All of the above steps a)-d) are carried out keeping the mixture under appropriate stirring. The stirring rate can be conventionally chosen depending on the size of the reactor, the type of stirrer, etc.; as a non- limiting example, it can be comprised, e.g. between 300 and 1000 rpm.

A critical feature of the above embodiment of process consists in the fact that, in a first time, a viscous phase (weld) is formed containing the ingredients of the preparation except cheese; only later, cheese is added to said weld. This represents a distinguishing element from the known processes, in which the additional ingredients are added after the cheese has been melted or at most during melting of the cheese.

In step e), the cooling step of the product of d), i.e. the time taken to bring the hot homogeneous phase coming from d) to the temperature provided for the step e), has a duration preferably comprised between 30 min and 1 h; the cooling temperature is preferably comprised between 2 °C and 4 °C; the maintenance phase (maturation) to the above mentioned 2-3 days then follows. METHOD 2: According to this embodiment, without the use of melting salts too, the cheese and the other ingredients provided by the recipe, with the exclusion of pea starch and vegetable fibers, are homogenized at room temperature until obtaining a creamy phase; the homogenization can be carried out by high energy mixing according to known techniques, e.g. by the action of a cutter at rates comprised between 1000 and 2000 rpm; the creamy phase thus obtained is then added to a mixture of pea starch and vegetable fibers, said mixture being previously homogenized at room temperature. The whole of the two above mentioned homogenates is heated (under stirring, e.g. in a heating cutter, fuser, or other equipment suitable for the purpose) up to the temperature of 80-90 °C, preferably 85- 90 °C, then packaged or stored in suitable containers and then cooled to a temperature comprised between 1 °C and 6 °C, keeping it at this temperature for a time period comprised between 2 and 3 days.

The preparations of the invention in the embodiment "with melting salts" can be prepared by known methods.

The cheese-based food preparations of the invention can be used as such as finished foods or, preferably, be used as semi-finished foods in the production of a broad range of cheese containing food products. The above mentioned preparations have shown a significant strength to melt caused by exposure to heat sources: for this reason, they are particularly useful in the manufacture of food products which need a cooking and/ or heating phase before consumption, such as crumbed and fried cheese, cordon bleu fillings, cheese sausages, filled bakery products, etc. The food preparations herein described advantageously allow to operate both with the normal processes involving the use of melting salts, and with the aforementioned innovative mode that allows to avoid the use of melting salts, such as phosphates, polyphosphates or citrates, notoriously unpopular and hardly accepted by the consumer. In addition, where the use of powdered milk and/ or milk proteins is expected, these ingredients can be used in quantities smaller than those commonly used, with considerable advantages from the point of view of production costs. The latter advantage remains even in the case of realization of cheese-based food preparations with melting salts where the high structuring effect of the above mentioned ingredients (pea starch and vegetable fibers) allows to obtain products endowed with excellent texture, without use of high amount of milk proteins (e.g. caseinates), with indisputable economic advantages.

In summary, the present invention provides a new cheese-based food preparation which, in addition to offering advantages compared to the current technology of production of melted cheese (due e.g. to the improving of the structure, cost reduction), allows the production of industrial food preparations of high quality, with the possibility of using valuable varieties of fine cheese, without alteration of taste, organoleptic properties and nutritional value, minimizing the use of undesirable additives, possibly eliminating the use of melting salts, and maintaining a consistency suitable for the processing of typical forms of semi-finished products for the food industry (blocks, cubes, tubular sausages, etc.); such semi-finished products are in turn used for the production of products ready to use (products ready to cook and ready to eat} as well as products for end use such as mini-cheeses, single portions and snacks.

Below, by way of non-limiting example, a characteristic recipe for a cheese-based food preparation free of melting salts made in accordance with the invention is reported.

(* according to the invention)

The preparation obtained using the above recipe showed a consistency suitable for slicing, dicing and grinding. The recipe was repeated by varying the type of cheese, then using the edam type cheese (or edammer), fontal and mozzarella. Even in the case of these variants, the obtained preparations showed a consistency suitable for slicing, dicing and grinding. The recipe was also repeated by adding melting salts (sodium citrate and polyphosphates), employing a traditional process which may involve either the initial melting of the cheese with melting salts under heating and the subsequent adding of the other ingredients under heating, or the initial incorporation of all the ingredients in a single phase ("All-in" method) and the subsequent heating/ melting up to 90 °C.