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, 100 (12), 9952-9965

A 100-Year Review: Cheese Production and Quality


A 100-Year Review: Cheese Production and Quality

M E Johnson. J Dairy Sci.


In the beginning, cheese making in the United States was all art, but embracing science and technology was necessary to make progress in producing a higher quality cheese. Traditional cheese making could not keep up with the demand for cheese, and the development of the factory system was necessary. Cheese quality suffered because of poor-quality milk, but 3 major innovations changed that: refrigeration, commercial starters, and the use of pasteurized milk for cheese making. Although by all accounts cold storage improved cheese quality, it was the improvement of milk quality, pasteurization of milk, and the use of reliable cultures for fermentation that had the biggest effect. Together with use of purified commercial cultures, pasteurization enabled cheese production to be conducted on a fixed time schedule. Fundamental research on the genetics of starter bacteria greatly increased the reliability of fermentation, which in turn made automation feasible. Demand for functionality, machinability, application in baking, and more emphasis on nutritional aspects (low fat and low sodium) of cheese took us back to the fundamental principles of cheese making and resulted in renewed vigor for scientific investigations into the chemical, microbiological, and enzymatic changes that occur during cheese making and ripening. As milk production increased, cheese factories needed to become more efficient. Membrane concentration and separation of milk offered a solution and greatly enhanced plant capacity. Full implementation of membrane processing and use of its full potential have yet to be achieved. Implementation of new technologies, the science of cheese making, and the development of further advances will require highly trained personnel at both the academic and industrial levels. This will be a great challenge to address and overcome.

Keywords: cheese; cheese history; cheese production.

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