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change pressure according to a predetermined programmer. For large-scale production, various systems are available. These include trolley table pressing, autofeed tunnel press, and conveyor press, as shown in Fig. 11 (1).

The pressing time is important for the moisture content in the cheese. Extension of pressing time and higher pressure give lower moisture content in the cheese. In addition to pressing time and pressure, the temperature during pressing is also a significant factor. Lowering the temperature during pressing gives cheeses with higher moisture content. Since cooling, on the other hand, is an effective means for rind fermentation, it will probably be acceptable to press at a relatively high temperature and then cool after pressing. Cooling can be done by putting the cheese in cold water after pressing (6).

Pressing Cheese
Figure 10 Vertical pressing unit with pneumatically operated pressing plates. (From Ref. 1, courtesy of Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB, Sweden.)
Cheese Conveyor Press
Figure 11 Conveyor press. (From Ref. 1, courtesy of Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB, Sweden.)

V. SALTING OF THE CHEESE/BRINING A. Salting Methods

The cheese curd is salted in order to balance the taste and consistency of the cheese and to preserve the cheese by inhibiting the growth of undesirable microflora. Salting of the cheese can be done by adding salt to the whey, by salting of curd after whey drainage, through dry salting by rubbing the surface of the cheese with salt (rind salting), or with brine salting. Often combinations of these methods are employed, but predominantly brine is used to salt the cheese. Brine salting systems of various designs are available, from fairly simple ones to technically very advanced ones. The most commonly used system is to simply place the cheese in a container with brine. A variety of systems based on shallow brining or containers for racks are available for large-scale production of brine-salted cheese. Different salting systems are shown in Figs. 12 and 13.

Brining is normally performed at temperatures no colder than 11°C (52°F), and if the fermentation in the cheese is slow, the temperature of the brine should rise to 22°C (72°F). The salt penetrates rapidly into the outer layer of the cheese and a high concentration of salt will stop fermentation of the remaining lactose in this layer. If the cheese is stored initially under dry and cold conditions, a leveling of this condition will take a long period of time and harmful fermentation can later occur under the rind. When there is a balance between whey draining, fermentation, temperature adjustment of the cheese, as well as swelling of the curd, brining can be done the day after the processing of the cheese. However, the specific technique for each kind of cheese and for each different processing plant varies and this must be taken into consideration.

B. The Salt Uptake of the Cheese

In the beginning, the cheese takes up salt rapidly, but for how long and to what extent it is absorbed depends on many conditions. The salting time is primarily dependent on the desired salt content in the cheese, but also depends on the following (5):

The temperature of the brine. Higher temperature results in more rapid salt diffusion. Salt concentration in brine. More saturated brine gives quicker salt uptake but a more difficult condition for uniform distribution of salt inside the cheese.

Figure 12 Surface brining system. 1, Inlet conveyor with sliding plate; 2, regulating screen; 3, inlet door with regulating screen and guiding door; 4, surface brining department; 5, outlet door; 6, twin agitator with sieve; 7, brine level control with pump; 8, pump; 9, plate heat exchanger; 10, automatic salt dosing unit (including salt concentration measurement); 11, discharge conveyor with gutter; 12, brine suction device; 13, service area. (From Ref. 1, courtesy of Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB, Sweden.)

Figure 12 Surface brining system. 1, Inlet conveyor with sliding plate; 2, regulating screen; 3, inlet door with regulating screen and guiding door; 4, surface brining department; 5, outlet door; 6, twin agitator with sieve; 7, brine level control with pump; 8, pump; 9, plate heat exchanger; 10, automatic salt dosing unit (including salt concentration measurement); 11, discharge conveyor with gutter; 12, brine suction device; 13, service area. (From Ref. 1, courtesy of Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB, Sweden.)

Shape and weight of the cheese. Flat cheeses take up salt very rapidly; square cheeses are salted slower than round ones.

Moisture in the cheese. Cheeses with high moisture content take up salt much more rapidly than quite dry cheeses. Hard cheeses, (e.g., Grana) will take up salt very slowly.

Acidity of the cheese. More acidic cheeses will take up salt more rapidly than less acidic cheeses.

Proper salting has a significant effect on the later development that takes place in the cheese. This includes effects on texture and flavor, and secondly effects on rind and color.

Figure 13 Rack brining system. 1, Feed conveyor; 2, mechanical loading station for brining racks; 3, brining racks; 4, mechanical unloading station for brining racks; 5, unloading conveyor; 6, lift; 7, rinsing bath; 8, belt conveyor; 9, space for empty racks and spare racks; empty racks can also be stored in the brine: If the cheeses are packed/treated immediately after brining, this area is not needed; 10, overhead traveling crane. (From Ref. 1, courtesy of Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB, Sweden.)

Figure 13 Rack brining system. 1, Feed conveyor; 2, mechanical loading station for brining racks; 3, brining racks; 4, mechanical unloading station for brining racks; 5, unloading conveyor; 6, lift; 7, rinsing bath; 8, belt conveyor; 9, space for empty racks and spare racks; empty racks can also be stored in the brine: If the cheeses are packed/treated immediately after brining, this area is not needed; 10, overhead traveling crane. (From Ref. 1, courtesy of Tetra Pak Processing Systems AB, Sweden.)

Table 2 Salt Content of Different Types of Cheese

Cheese

% Salt

Cottage cheese

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