Milk coagulation properties are used to evaluate the cheesemaking aptitude of milk samples. No international standard procedure exists, although laboratories often mimic the production of a full-fat fresh cheese for milk coagulation properties. Questions have arisen about the predictability of such a procedure for different types of cheese production. The aim of this study was to establish a procedure mimicking the production conditions of a long-ripened hard cheese, taking Protected Designation of Origin Grana Padano as a case study. With respect to the traditional conditions (standard procedure; SP), the Grana Padano procedure (GP) modifications were the use of standardized milk, coagulation lower temperature, previous milk acidification, lysozyme addition, and rennet type. Each modification was tested in turn versus the SP and also all together in the GP. Another 3 tests were carried out: SP on naturally creamed milk, SP with double the quantity of rennet, and a simplified GP on a full-fat milk sample. The 10 procedures were tested on 2 subsamples with 2 replicates each and were repeated using individual milk samples from 15 dual-purpose Simmental cows in 4 sessions for a total of 600 tests. Two Formagraph instruments (Foss Electric A/S, Hillerød, Denmark) measuring curd firmness every 15 s were used, prolonging test duration to 60. min to obtain 5 traditional single-point milk coagulation properties and 3 parameters of the curd firming model using all 240 points recorded for each replicate. The 8 traits of each replicate were analyzed according to a mixed model with fixed effects of 4 sessions, 10 treatments, 2 instruments, and 16. microvats, and random effects of 15 animals and 300 subsamples. Compared with the SP, the coagulation and curd firming was slowed by low temperature and was accelerated by acidification and by adding a double amount of rennet; natural creaming, fat standardization, and rennet with 5% pepsin affected only some traits, whereas lysozyme addition affected none. Combination of all modifications tended to compensate for each of their effects, resulting in similar average patterns between GP and SP. Modifications to repeatability were found for all traits with the exception of 2. The ability of the SP to predict GP, tested through correlations between procedures, was not very high. Whereas SP is used for both research and in the dairy industry, better results for Grana Padano cheesemaking can only be achieved by adopting specific, more complex, and labor-intensive procedures at the research level or, possibly, by specific calibrations through Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy at the industry level.
- Curd firming modeling
- Grana Padano