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Heating cheese to get a spice rub to stick

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jdlack

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Posted 06 April 2023 - 06:12 PM

We are working on rubbing cheese blocks (4oz and 8oz) in spices to create flavor varieties. After the rub, we vacuum seal it.

 

The spice rub sticks great if we heat the cheese a bit on the outside so it gets slightly oily. But we are not sure how to best do this without creating food safety issues. 

 

Any one ever develop a safe process for something like this?

 

A couple initial ideas 

- An additional ingredient (oil) applied to the cheese as a sticking agent (not attracted to this bc of flavor impact)

- Put the block on a stainless steel hot plate and rotate it (this seems a bit much and slow)

- Put the block under an infrared light and rotate it (could be on stainless steel or in the spices, also slow)

- Some type of conveyor through a small heat tunnel with infrared light

 

While I am sure this process will impact our shelf life, I am not sure to what degree. 

 

Any thoughts or experiences to share?



Brothbro

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Posted 06 April 2023 - 09:07 PM

Would the rub be applied to all 6 sides of the cheese block? Personally I kind of like the oil spray idea because it seems much faster. A highly aerosolized oil mist could get great coverage while using very little oil. Depending on the type of oil chosen, it may not impact flavor to a noticeable degree. Perhaps the blocks could then be tumbled in a spice mixture for full coverage. This of course would depend on how sturdy the cheese is. Otherwise, the rub would be applied in a gentler way (perhaps even manually depending on your operation's size)

 

Heating the cheese is indeed a bigger food safety risk depending on how warm the cheese needs to be to sweat oils. Then you've got to worry about cooling it down, which may have to be done before vacuum sealing and not after. This all adds extra time onto your process.

 

I am not an expert on the cheese-making process, but is there a step in the cheese making where the blocks are moist anyway and the spice could be applied then? 



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jdlack

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Posted 07 April 2023 - 12:08 AM

We age the cheese in 40lb blocks, which we then open and cut down for retail. 

 

Interesting idea with misting oil. I will look into it some more. 



mgourley

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Posted 08 April 2023 - 12:47 AM

Makes sense to me. Apply a neutral flavored oil that binds the flavoring to the cheese.

As long as the "processing aid" is declared (if required), 
 

Marshall



G M

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Posted 10 April 2023 - 06:50 PM

Aerosol application of the "adhesive" oil, and potentially the seasoning too, seems like the safest approach.  It can be done at low temperatures.  Any kind of heating is just asking for micro problems.

 

You could probably even select the oil for additional flavoring in some cases -- although this is also a potential source of allergen issues for some nut or seed oils.





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