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Title:
USE OF HUMECTANTS IN ANALOG CHEESE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/061679
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Disclosed herein are methods of reducing the stickiness and improving the freeze-thaw stability of cheese analogs. The preservation of analog cheese is achieved by using preservatives, and not by reducing the free water available for deteriorative biological activities. Disclosed herein is the application of humectants, with the primary goals to improve properties of analog cheese to make these properties more like natural cheese.

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Inventors:
ATAPATTU, Chandrani (1005 N. Warson Road, Suite 232St. Louis, MO, 63132, US)
FANNON, John (1005 N. Warson Road, Suite 232St. Louis, MO, 63132, US)
Application Number:
US2014/062169
Publication Date:
April 30, 2015
Filing Date:
October 24, 2014
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
ALLIED BLENDING & INGREDIENTS, INC. (1005 N. Warson Road, Suite 232St. Louis, MO, 63132, US)
International Classes:
A23C20/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO1999026482A11999-06-03
Foreign References:
US5935634A1999-08-10
Other References:
AWAD ET AL.: "Application of Exopolysaccharide-Producing Cultures in Reduced-Fat Cheddar Cheese: Texture and Melting Properties.", J. DAIRY SCI., vol. 88, 2005, pages 4204 - 4213
DAIYA.: "Cheddar Style Shreds.", 6 October 2013 (2013-10-06), pages 1 - 7
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BENNETT, Dennis, A. (Global Patent Group, LLC1005 N. Warson Road, Suite 40, St. Louis MO, 63132, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of improving the properties of an analog cheese comprising the addition of 0.5% - 5.0%) (w/w) of a humectant during the cheese making process.

2. The method as recited in Claim 1 , wherein said improved property is reduction of

stickiness in a high starch analog cheese.

3. The method as recited in Claim 1, wherein said improved property is increase in water holding capacity.

4. The method as recited in Claim 1 , wherein said improved property is improved body of melted analog cheese shreds.

5. The method as recited in Claim 1, wherein 0.8% - 3.25 % of said humectant is added.

6. The method as recited in Claim 5, wherein 2.75% - 3.25 % of said humectant is added.

7. The method as recited in Claim 6, wherein about 3.0 % of said humectant is added.

8. The method as recited in Claim 1, wherein addition of said humectant improves the

freeze-thaw stability of said analog cheese.

9. The method as recited in Claim 1, wherein addition of said humectant reduces the shred definition in said analog cheese when melted.

10. The method as recited in claim 1, wherein said humectant is chosen from salt, sugar, sorbitol, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, glycerin, polyhydric alcohols, and carbo waxes.

11. The method as recited in Claims 10, wherein said humectant is glycerin.

12. The method as recited in Claim 1, wherein said cheese analog is chosen from pizza

cheese type, parmesan type, salad block type, melting cheeses.

13. A cheese analog comprising a dry blend, a humectant, a fat, and water, wherein said humectant comprises 0.8%> - 3.25%> (w/w) of the analog.

14. The cheese analog as recited in Claim 13, wherein said humectant comprises 2.75% - 3.25 %> (w/w) of the analog.

15. The cheese analog as recited in Claim 14, wherein said humectant comprises about 3.0% (w/w) of the analog.

16. The cheese analog as recited in Claim 13 wherein said cheese analog does not stick to the teeth of a consumer when eaten.

17. A method of making an analog cheese comprising: combining a dry blend, a humectant, a fat, and water; mixing the ingredients to form a mixture; and heating and cooling the mixture to provide an analog cheese.

18. The method as recited in Claim 17, wherein said analog is meltable and shreddable.

Description:
USE OF HUMECTANTS IN ANALOG CHEESE

[001] This application claims the benefit of priority of United States provisional application No. 61/895,219, filed October 24, 2013, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference as if written herein in its entirety.

[002] In recent years there has been a significant increase in demand for cheese generally, as well as for cheeses with specific performance or nutritional characteristics. This general demand is driven in part by the steady growth in the ready meal or convenience food sector of the food industry since cheese is an ingredient in many foods within this sector. The increasing popularity of various pizza-type products is one specific example of cheese-containing products in this sector that have contributed to the surge in demand. These concerns, as well as cost

considerations, have been the impetus for the development of a number of cheese analogs (e.g., imitation cheeses or cheese substitutes) that offer various health advantages (e.g., replacement of animal fat with healthier vegetable oil and increased vitamin or mineral levels) and cost benefits (e.g., vegetable oils are less expensive than certain dairy ingredients).

[003] Analog cheeses constitute a major category of cheese. As alluded to above, there has been an increased demand for analog cheese because of cost and health considerations. Analog cheese generally refers to a cheese in which milk fat and/or a protein source has been substituted with a source that is not native to milk. Analog cheeses are typically lower cost than other cheese types because the processing can be performed less expensively and because certain milk ingredients can be substituted with cheaper products (e.g., substituting vegetable oil for milk fat). The health benefits derive from substitution of the milk fat and protein with other healthier substitutes and the ability to add other ingredients that can improve the nutritional characteristics of the final product.

[004] Cheese analogs are typically categorized as dairy, partial dairy, or nondairy, depending on whether the fat and/or dairy components are from dairy or vegetable sources. They can also be classified as being an imitation cheese or a substitute cheese. Imitation cheese is a substitute for and resembles another cheese but is nutritionally inferior to that cheese. A cheese substitute, on the other hand, resembles another cheese but is not nutritionally inferior to that cheese. [005] However, replacing a conventional cheese composition ingredient can present one or more technical hurdles because cheese compositions are complex compositions and their properties can be sensitive to (i.e., require) the presence and/or amount of certain ingredients. Thus, conventional cheese manufacturing has come to rely on certain cheese composition ingredients to provide certain properties. Exemplary technical challenges include finding a substitute ingredient that can provide a cheese composition with one or more suitable functional properties (e.g., melt, stretch, and firmness), organoleptic properties (e.g., texture and flavor), and nutritional properties.

[006] Casein is one of the major components of cheese analogs. These proteins are commonly found in mammalian milk, making up 80% of the proteins in cows' milk. Over the last few years casein has dramatically increased in price. Accordingly, there is an ongoing need in the cheese industry for a substitute for casein in the manufacture of cheese analogs. One such substitute is the use of whey. Whey can be used to reduce or eliminate the need for the use of casein in making cheese analogs.

[007] Another substitute is certain types of starch. However, the ability to replace casein protein with starch can be significantly limited depending on the desired functional, organoleptic, and/or nutritional properties of the cheese composition. For example, replacing casein with starch can provide a cheese composition with less than desired functional properties (e.g., melt, stretch, and firmness) because starch is not necessarily always a "functional" replacement of casein protein, but can merely replace a certain mass of casein protein. Similarly, starch can impart a different, sometimes less desirable, flavor and/or texture to the cheese composition than provided by casein. Furthermore, replacing casein protein with starch, a carbohydrate, can significantly alter the nutritional characteristics of a cheese composition. Thus, conventional cheese making has come to rely on the mere presence and sometimes quantity of casein protein to provide certain cheese composition properties.

[008] Despite these limitations, there exists a strong desire (e.g., economic incentives) to further reduce the amount of casein protein in certain cheese compositions. Many demographics receive most of their proteins and/or carbohydrates from a single source, such as rice. The availability of low-cost cheese adds diversity to their diets, and allows proteins from other sources. Demographics that traditionally include cheese in their diets are able to include cheese even in a recessed economic climate with the availability of low-cost cheeses. However, providing suitable functional, organoleptic, and nutritional characteristics while reducing the casein protein even further in certain cheese compositions presents significant technical challenges.

[009] Another ingredient that is commonly found in analog cheeses is shortening, which often contains trans-fat. In general, recent consumer trends indicate that trans-fatty acids (i.e., "trans- fat") in food products and food intermediates are being avoided by consumers to help increase the healthfulness of their diet. Accordingly, many food product marketers are finding ways to provide consumers with food products having reduced and/or substantially no trans-fat content.

[0010] Trans-fat is an unsaturated fatty acid in which the hydrogen atoms of a double bond (or unsaturation) are on opposite sides of the molecule. The trans isomer of the fatty acid causes the carbon chain to assume a straight-chain configuration similar to that of a saturated fat. Trans- fatty acids are primarily formed through the metal-catalyzed process of hydrogenation, however they have also been found to form naturally and is found at low levels in cow's milk. By hydrogenating oils through industrial processing, hydrogen atoms are added to unsaturated sites on fatty acids, creating a larger population of saturated fats in the oil. In a partially-hydrogenated oil, some of the unsaturated fatty acids remain. However, the processing causes some of the double-bonds of the unsaturated fatty acids to undergo isomerization from the cis configuration to the trans configuration.

[0011] Partial hydrogenation of fats was introduced into the U.S. food supply beginning in 1910. The practice was put into widespread use in the 1940's in order to make semisolid fat products. The process of hydrogenation raises the melting point of a fat and increases the solid fat content. Such fats having higher melting points and solid fat content help provide food compositions (e.g., cheese compositions) with highly desirable functional properties. For example, oils containing trans-fats can help an analog cheese to have highly desirable properties (e.g., melt, crumble, stretch, firmness, combinations of these, and the like) at one or more temperatures (e.g., shred temperature, temperature of a consumer's mouth, combinations of these, and the like). In addition, the stability of the fat is greatly enhanced through hydrogenation by reducing susceptibility to oxidation and subsequent rancidity. Therefore, positive contributions to processing properties, shelf-life, texture, and taste of food products (e.g., cheese compositions and food products incorporating such cheese compositions) are imparted by hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats.

[0012] A recent consumer trend is to avoid consuming food products that are high in, or have an undue amount of, trans-fat. To help meet consumer demand many food manufacturers would like to provide consumers with food products (e.g., analog cheeses and food products that include cheese (e.g., snack food (e.g., frozen snack food) including pizza, pizza-type snack food, and the like)) having a low amount of trans-fat (e.g., about 5% or less by weight of trans-fat based on the total weight of the fat component). However, changing the formulation of a food composition to accommodate this can present significant technical hurdle(s) because of the reliance specifically on trans-fat containing ingredients to provide one or more highly desirable properties in food products and food product intermediates. Changing the trans-fat content of a food product can significantly impact properties such as processing properties, organoleptic properties, combinations of these, and the like, of the food product. As mentioned above, analog cheeses are complex chemical compositions, therefore their properties (e.g., melt, crumble, stretch, firmness, combinations of these, and the like) could be unduly affected by changes in formulation amounts and/or ingredient(s) that would affect trans-fat content. Accordingly, there is a strong need to provide analog cheeses having a low amount of trans-fat (e.g., about 5% or less by weight of trans-fat based on the total weight of the fat component) while at the same time substantially maintaining and/or improving analog cheese properties such as melt, crumble, stretch, firmness, combinations of these, and the like. In addition, there is a strong need to provide food product(s) including such analog cheeses and methods of making such analog cheeses and food products.

[0013] Additionally, it has been a challenge to the manufacturers or researchers who work in the area of cheese analogs to create a product that has stretch as a 100% analog. Typically, starch companies recommend and express the need to use casein protein as at least a part of the formula to get the stretching property like in mozzarella cheese. Starch companies manufacture and recommend Octenyl succinic anhydride (OSA) starches as emulsifiers. Hydrophobic nature of these starches has not been used or recommended to create the hydrophobic attractions between starch molecules to make a product stretch.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0014] The preservation of analog cheese is achieved by using preservatives, and not by reducing the free water available for deteriorative biological activities. Disclosed herein is the application of humectants, with the primary goals to improve properties of analog cheese to make these properties more like natural cheese. Some non-limiting examples of improved properties include: reduction of stickiness, increased water holding capacity in low moisture analog cheese, improved body of analog cheese shreds, and freeze thaw stability. The principle of using humectants applies to both 100% cheese analogs as well as cheese analogs with added natural cheeses.

[0015] It has been discovered that the addition of humectants can be effective to remove the stickiness from analog cheese when melted, as well as to improve the freeze-thaw stability and improve the body and mouthfeel after melting of said cheese analogs. The resulting analog cheese can exhibit substantially the same or improved properties (e.g., functional/processing properties, organoleptic properties, combinations of these, and the like) over a range of significantly different cheese formulations.

[0016] There is disclosed a method of reducing the stickiness of melted cheese analogs, which is an inherent characteristic of some of the starches used in said cheese analogs via the addition of a humectant, or combination of humectants, during the cheese analog making process.

[0017] Further embodiments disclose:

[0018] Disclosed herein is a method for improving the properties of an analog cheese comprising the addition of 0.5% - 5.0% (w/w) of a humectant during the cheese making process. [0019] In an embodiment, said improved property is reduced stickiness in a high starch cheese analog.

[0020] In an embodiment, said improved property is increased water holding capacity, wherein said analog cheese will cook with less water.

[0021] In an embodiment, said improved property is improved body of analog cheese shreds. [0022] In an embodiment, said humectant works as a lubricant. [0023] In an embodiment, 0.8% - 3.25 % of said humectant is added. [0024] In an embodiment, 2.75% - 3.25 % of said humectant is added. [0025] In an embodiment, about 3.0 % of said humectant is added.

[0026] In an embodiment, addition of said humectant improves the freeze-thaw stability of said analog cheese.

[0027] In an embodiment, addition of said humectant reduces the shred definition in said analog cheese when melted.

[0028] In an embodiment, said humectant is chosen from salt, sugar, sorbitol, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, glycerin, polyhydric alcohols, carbo waxes.

[0029] In an embodiment, said humectant is glycerin.

[0030] In an embodiment, the cheese analogs are pizza cheese type, parmesan type, salad block type, melting cheeses. [0031] A cheese analog comprising a dry blend, a humectant, a fat, and water, wherein said humectant comprises 0.8% - 3.25% (w/w) of the analog.

[0032] In an embodiment, said humectant comprises 2.75% - 3.25 % (w/w) of the analog.

[0033] In an embodiment, said humectant comprises about 3.0% (w/w) of the analog.

[0034] In an embodiment, said cheese analog does not stick to the teeth of a consumer when eaten.

[0035] A method of making an analog cheese comprising: combining a dry blend, a humectant, a fat, and water; mixing the ingredients to form a mixture; and heating and cooling the mixture to provide an analog cheese.

[0036] In an embodiment, the analog cheese is shreddable and meltable.

[0037] In an embodiment, the concept can be applied either at 100% analog cheese or analogs in combination with natural cheeses at 90%> analog /10%> cheese (90/10), 70%> analog/30%) cheese (70/30), 50%) analog/50%) cheese (50/50) while maintaining the desired improved properties, such as reduction of stickiness.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0038] A "cheese analog" as used herein refers generally to a cheese in which at least one milk fat and/or protein source has been replaced with a source that is not native to milk. The basic ingredients for a cheese analog are usually water, casein, a fat/oil and a sequestering agent.

Cheese analogs are typically categorized as dairy (all fats and proteins come from dairy sources), partial dairy (some fats and proteins come from dairy sources, while other have been replaced with non-dairy fats and proteins), or nondairy (all fats and proteins come from non-dairy sources). They can also be classified as being an imitation cheese or a substitute cheese. Imitation cheese is a substitute for and resembles another cheese but is nutritionally inferior to that cheese. A cheese substitute, on the other hand, resembles another cheese but is not nutritionally inferior to that cheese.

[0039] An "extended cheese product" is a food product based on a natural cheese, but wherein filler material has been added to the natural cheese to extend the mass and volume while maintaining the physical properties of the natural cheese (i.e. meltability, stretchability, browning, elasticity, free oil formation, etc.).

[0040] Processed cheese has several technical advantages over unprocessed cheese, including extended shelf-life, resistance to separation when cooked, and uniformity of product. Its production also enjoys significant economic advantages over traditional cheese-making processes, most often through the ability to incorporate any of a wide variety of less expensive ingredients.

[0041] Dry blend refers to the "dry" (i.e. less than 15% water) starting material one would use in make of cheese analog. A dry blend is a homogenous mixture of the ingredients that may be sold as a pre-packaged mix to a cheese manufacturer or user. Normally water and some type of fat would be added to produce the cheese analog. One could also add in a desired flavor to resemble the desired cheese taste.

[0042] In general, manufacturers use glycerin and other humectants to increase water-holding capacity of intermediate moisture, food compositions. The primary goal is to extend to keeping quality by reducing the water activity of the product. For that purpose, considerably a high level of glycerin or similar ingredient is required.

[0043] The method that is provided here for use in the cheese analog is designed to: 1) remove the stickiness when melted on pizza which is an inherent characteristic of some of the starches we use in the analogs; and 2) improve on freeze-thaw stability. If the product sticks to teeth while eating, the product is considered sticky and unacceptable. [0044] The methods disclosed herein can be used to make analog cheese via the following process. A combination of melted fat, dry blend, water, and, optionally, flavoring is blended for 5 minutes. Cook the mixture to 180°F-185°F. Add cheese and/or cheese curd and cook the resulting mixture to 140°F-175°F. A humectant, such as glycerin is added. Form the analog cheese and cool it. The analog cheese can then be packaged and refrigerated. Once cool, the product may be shredded or sliced, if desired. The amount of natural cheese product used may vary, such as from 2%-80%, depending the on the desired product.

DRY BLEND EXAMPLES

[0045] Examples 1-12 are for making a dry blend for use in making analog cheese. All amounts are in percent weight.

Salt 7.5 6 6.48 6.5 6.5 6.84 6.5 6.5 5.3 6 6.5 6.5

Sodium Citrate 0 2 1.99 2 0 0 0 0 3.9 4 0 0

Mono Sodium

Phosphate 2.58 0 3.49 5.2 0.61 0 0 0 0 0 0.6 1

Di-sodium

phosphate 4.92 0 1.17 1.55 1.84 0 0 0 1.3 2.5 1.8 3

Sodium

Aluminum

Phosphate 0 2.5 0 0 0 2.63 2.5 2.5 0 0 0 0

Lecithin 0 0.8 0.8 1 1 1.05 1 1 0 0.8 0 0

Antimicrobial

Agent 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.5 0 0

Mineral Oil 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.32 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.6

Potassium

Sorbate 0.4 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.25 0.26 0.25 0.25 0 0 0.3 0

Sorbic acid 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.32 0.3 0.3 0 0 0.3 0

Titanium

dioxide 0.1 0.28 0.2 0.28 0.2 0.21 0.4 0.4 0 0.4 0.2 0

Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

ANALOG CHEESE EXAMPLES

[0046] Examples for use in making an analog cheese. All amounts are in percent weight.

1 26.25 26.25 44.5 3 0 0 0 100

1 23.8 23.8 49.4 3 0 0 0 100

1 11.66 11.66 23.68 3 50 0 0 100

2 27.76 22.62 49.1 0.52 0 0 0 100

2 30 25 32 3 10 0 0 100

2 28 22.2 46.8 3 0 0 0 100

3 25 25 37 3 10 0 0 100

4 32 27.5 37 3.5 0 0 0 100

5 40 22 36 2 0 0 0 100

6 31.09 24.42 38.89 4 0 1.6 0 100

7 29.5 24 41.55 3 0 1.8 0.15 100

8 23.39 28 43.66 3 0 1.8 0.15 100

9 26.98 22.36 45.41 2 0 3.25 0 100

9 28.3 24.6 44 3 0 0 0.1 100

10 29 22 47 2 0 0 0 100

11 48.48 25 25.52 1 0 0 0 100

12 37 24 36 3 0 0 0 100

[0047] It is understood that the examples and embodiments described herein are for illustrative purposes only and that various modifications or changes in light thereof will be suggested to persons skilled in the art and are to be included within the spirit and purview of this application and scope of the appended claims. The cheeses of the present invention may be made by the methods described herein, or by any other method that produces a finished cheese product having the same physical or chemical properties as the present cheeses. All publications, patents and patent applications cited herein are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety for all purposes to the same extent as if each individual publication, patent or patent application were specifically and individually indicated to be so incorporated by reference.