U.S. Dairy Products > Cheese > Cheese Categories
Cheese Powders & Enzyme-Modified Cheeses
- Cheese Powders
- Enzyme Modified Cheeses (EMCs)
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 cheese, which may be blended with other ingredients and colors, is spray-dried to create a free flowing powder with a low-moisture content (typically in the 3 to 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.
EMCs, which provide intense cheese flavor, are made from special blends of natural cheese with added lipases and other food-grade enzymes. Flavor concentrations 10 to 20-fold as high as that of the ripened cheeses develop in 1 to 3 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, enzyme-modified cheeses are a good option for standardizing natural cheese flavor.
Most cheese powders have a moisture level of 4 to 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 to10% range.
Cheese powders, also called dried cheese or dehydrated cheese, 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.
Cheese powders are ready-to-use, and adaptable to many food processing systems. They can be customized for use with other dry ingredients and can be blended with dry ingredients and additives. They offer labor savings and 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 more.
Key Benefits in Foodservice and Prepared Foods
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.