Milk protein is often standardised prior to cheese-making using low concentration factor ultrafiltration retentate (LCUFR) but the effect of LCUFR addition on the microstructure of full fat gel, curd and Cheddar cheese is not known. In this work, Cheddar cheeses were made from cheese-milk with or without LCUFR addition using a protein concentration of 3.7%–5.8% w/w. The fat lost to sweet whey was higher in cheese made from cheese-milk without LCUFR or from cheese-milk with 5.8% w/w protein. At 5.8% w/w protein concentration, the porosity of the gel increased significantly and the fat globules within the gel and curd tended to pool together, which possibly contributed to the higher fat loss in the sweet whey. The microstructure of cheese from cheese-milk with a higher protein concentration was more compact, consistent with the increased hardness, although the cohesiveness was lower. These results highlight the potential use of LCUFR for the standardization of protein concentration in cheese-milk to 4%–5% w/w (equivalent to a casein to total protein ratio of 77%–79% w/w) to increase yield. Beyond this concentration, significant changes in the gel microstructure, cheese texture and fat loss were observed.
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