Whey is expelled rapidly from the curd after it has been cut into small pieces. This will be further accelerated by an increase in temperature when the mix is agitated.
Lactic acid bacteria trapped in the curd metabolise lactose to lactic acid and this diffuses from the curd. The rate at which this occurs, as well as the rate at which moisture and lactose are removed, have substantial impact on the nature of the finished cheese.
Whey expulsion also has an impact on the release of calcium phosphate from the casein matrix. Calcium phosphate greatly influences the physical properties of casein aggregates and the more it is removed, the more brittle the cheese is. The calcium phosphate-casein structure is also influence by pH, which in turn depends on the extent of lactic acid production and the buffering capacity of the curd. The buffering capacity depends on the concentration of undissociated calcium phosphate, casein and lactate surviving in the cheese. pH also influences the action of the milk clotting enzymes, a lower pH allowing better survival of chymosin and, in turn, a more brittle cheese.
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