Application of a liquid ferment on a cheese curd form
A matured cheese develops a tasty, flavoured, or even coloured surface due to the development of microorganisms. The occurrence of the organisms was traditionally left to the atmosphere conditions. Being different from a place to another, it resulted in a multiplicity of traditional cheese types and variations in quality. Cheese-making industries want to control the growth of these microorganisms to achieve a constant quality. Selecting and applying a given mix of microorganisms improve the production.
The base product is a moist shape issued from the settling process of a standardised milk.
The mix comes in a dry and stable form.
It consists in :
- Microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts
The mixes are tailored to suit the desired gustative profile of the cheese to be. They are supplied by companies specialised in microbiology and culture for food.
How does it work?
First a liquid suspension is prepared by dispersing the dry mix with water. The suspension must be homogeneous and stable. It is kept chilled to prevent the growth of the microorganisms before the application.
The suspension is applied evenly on the surface of the cheeses. They usually come in rows and lines corresponding to the moulds they have been formed with.
Given the number of individual products to process, it is a continuous or semi-continuous operation inserted in a larger continuous production. Alternatively, the suspension may be applied on the inner surface of the mould prior to the moulding step of the curd into a shape. In both cases, the cheeses are left to mature.
Application by dipping, spraying
Liquid is applied by dipping into a bath, or with a curtain system, or better with a spray system.
Manifolds of several spray guns or mobile devices are designed to apply the required dose evenly, while limiting losses out of the cheese surface. It also aims at limiting airborne pollution which may become a health hazard.
Spraying combines target precision and accurate dosage
How do you measure your success?
Key quality features
Evaluation is more than a gastronomic treat
It guarantees an even growth under similar conditions
The shape of the form must be preserved, the lesser handling the better
The flavour profile depends on the selection of microoragnisms
Key quality parameters
As it involves a live process, the control factors are more critical
The concentration and cost of the ferment requires an accurate dosage
It should prevent spoiling the environment and avoid hazard issues
The ferment being a live liquid must be preserved from erratic growth. The equipment should be easy to clean to remove all traces of ferment between production runs