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Rheology and processing of mozzarella cheese Muliawan, Edward Budi

Abstract

Taken as an engineering material, mozzarella cheese can be considered as a complex food system that has dynamic structure and complex flowproperties. Food scientists have been actively developing methods to characterize mozzarella cheese rheologically, but most of these methods are empirical in nature. In the past decades, there has been a paradigm shift towards the utilization of well-developed rheological methods which have been widely applied in the study of commercial synthetic polymers. In this work, the rheology of mozzarella cheese was studied using well-developed rheological techniques. Utilizing various rheometers, the linear and non-linear rheology of mozzarella cheese was examined. General practical properties of mozzarella cheese such as meltability, flowability and stretchability were extracted from these results. Capillary flow and rolling experiments were also performed to determine their suitability as innovative post-production processing techniques for mozzarella cheese. Finally, a comparative study on the effect of frozen storage on the rheology of three different brands of mozzarella cheese was performed. In general, it was found that mozzarella cheese can be classified as a pseudoplastic (shear thinning) semi-solid material possessing a yield stress at room temperature. Upon heating, the yield stress gradually diminishes and it can be considered as a viscoelastic fluid. The results obtained from the various rheometers indicate that the yield stress, duration of experiment, sample geometry and temperature greatly affect the consistency of the results. It was also shown that extrusion can be used as a processing technique for mozzarella cheese above a certain temperature where the cheese is in a melt state. Rolling was also found to be a potentially feasible processing method. Finally, in terms of the effect of frozen storage, in general, the dynamic moduli decrease with the period of storage due to the freezing of the proteins in the cheese.

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