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We investigated use of potassium chloride (KCl) to maintain both the salty flavor and to replace the preservative effects of salt when reducing the sodium content in natural cheese. Because salt replacers can affect flavor because of inherent off-flavors, such as bitter and metallic, we examined the use of flavor enhancers for their ability to modulate some of these undesirable sensory effects. Stirred-curd Cheddar-style cheese was manufactured using 2 cheese-making procedures (different curd knife sizes and target salting titratable acidities), in duplicate. Curd was salted with sodium chloride (NaCl) or 60% reduced sodium blends of NaCl and KCl (2 different sources). Curd was also salted at a 60% reduced sodium rate with NaCl and KCl with added flavor enhancers. A hydrolyzed vegetable protein/yeast extract blend, a natural "potassium-blocking type" flavor, disodium inosinate, or disodium guanylate were each blended with the reduced sodium salt blend and added to curd at the salting step. The resulting blocks of cheese were aged for 5 mo and evaluated monthly for chemical, microbial, and sensory differences. At 5 mo of aging, we measured liking for the cheeses using a consumer panel. Overall, cheeses were well liked by the consumer panel, and the scores of reduced sodium cheese with 2 different KCl sources were not different from those of the full-sodium control. The addition of flavor enhancers to Cheddar curd had mixed results, with one improving the consumer flavor liking only slightly over KCl, and one (disodium inosinate) significantly reducing consumer flavor liking scores, presumably due to the amount of umami flavor it contributed. Potassium chloride replacement salts sourced from different manufacturers affected the chemical and flavor properties of cheese, and changes to pH and temperature targets may be necessary to yield cheese with the moisture and pH targets desired. The cheese-making procedure used also influenced flavors observed, which resulted in higher levels of brothy flavor in cheese made with smaller curd knives and a higher target salting titratable acidity. This effect resulted in lower consumer liking scores. Copyright © 2013 American Dairy Science Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


J Grummer, N Bobowski, M Karalus, Z Vickers, T Schoenfuss. Use of potassium chloride and flavor enhancers in low sodium Cheddar cheese. Journal of dairy science. 2013 Mar;96(3):1401-18

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PMID: 23332837

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