Cheese powders, also called dried cheeses or dehydrated cheeses, are well suited for use in low-moisture applications such as snacks, cereal-based products and prepared dry mixes. They are also used as a flavor component in a wide range of other processed foods, such as soups, cheese sauces, dips, salad dressings, frozen foods and bakery products. Reduced-fat dried cheese blends are available for low-fat formulations.
Enzyme modified cheeses (EMCs), are concentrated cheese flavors used to standardize cheese flavor in applications, or to boost in applications where the amount of cheese that can be used may be limited (for example in non-fat dishes.)
Cheese powders may contain one or more varieties of natural cheeses. Cheeses commonly used to create powders and dry blends include Cheddar, Blue, Parmesan, Romano and Swiss-style cheeses. The base cheeses, which may be blended with other ingredients and colors, are spray-dried to create a free-flowing powder with a low moisture content (typically in the 3-5% range). Some products are dehydrated in vegetable oils for easier application on chips, crackers and other dry snacks. Hard Italian-style cheeses (e.g. Parmesan) can be dried after grating in tray or belt dryers to reduce moisture to less than 18%. After cooling, the cheeses are ground and packaged.
Enzyme-modified cheeses (EMCs) which provide intense cheese flavor, are made from special blends of natural cheese with added lipases and other natural food-grade enzymes. Flavor concentration 10 to 20- fold as high as that of the ripened cheeses develops in one to three days. The cheese paste is then heat-treated to stop the biochemical reaction and cooled. EMCs are available in paste form as well as dried form. EMCs offer significant savings and functional benefits in products such as cheese-flavored crackers and other bakery items.
Cheese powders are used as a primary flavor ingredient in prepared foods. When concentrated flavor is needed, EMC's are a good option for standardizing natural cheese flavor.
Key Benefits in Food Processing
Cheese powders and enzyme-modified cheeses are used in snack coatings, dry mixes, salad dressings, sauces, soups, crackers and to enhance natural cheeses in seasonings and baked goods. U.S. cheese suppliers can create hundreds of dry cheeses and blends with different flavors, colors, functional properties and price points.
Ease of delivery.
Adaptability to various food processing systems.
Customization and ability to blend with other dry ingredients and additives.
Labor cost-savings and overall cost-effectiveness.
Well suited for value-added, extended shelf-life products.
Cheese powders can be packed in modified atmosphere packs to obtain a storage life of a year or so.
"Cheese appeal" in dry and low-moisture products.
Give fresh, cheese image to dry mixes.
Add value and nutrition.
Most cheese powders have a moisture level of 4-5% max. Fat content varies as a function of the raw cheese material used and the amount of other ingredients that may be added as carriers. Similarly, salt content varies but is often in the 5-10% range.