Liquid Ring Vacuum Pump & Compressors in Cheesemaking
Cheesemaking is a complex process that involves the coagulation of milk to separate the curds from the whey. The exact steps and techniques vary depending on the type of cheese being produced, but vacuum pumps can be found throughout every process.
Quality cheesemaking starts with selecting the correct type of milk, whether it’s cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, or a combination. The quality of milk affects the final product, so it should be fresh, clean, and free from contaminants. The milk is gently heated to a specific temperature, depending on the type of cheese being made. Heating the milk denatures the whey proteins and affects the texture and flavor of the cheese.
Acidification is achieved by adding a starter culture of bacteria to the milk. These bacteria convert lactose (milk sugar) into lactic acid, which lowers the pH of the milk. The specific bacteria and acidification time vary based on the cheese type.
Coagulation is turning the liquid milk into a semisolid mass. This is usually done by adding rennet, an enzyme that causes the milk to curdle. The curds (solids) and whey (liquid) start to separate. Once the curds have formed, they are cut into small pieces. The size of the curds and the cutting method depend on the type of cheese. Larger curds result in softer cheeses, while smaller curds lead to firmer cheeses.
The curds and whey are then heated again while stirring gently. The heat helps expel more whey from the curds, making them firmer. The whey can be saved and used for other purposes, such as feeding animals or making ricotta cheese. The whey is drained off, leaving behind the curds. The curds are often placed in molds to shape the cheese. The amount of whey remaining in the curds affects the final texture of the cheese.
In some cases, the curds are pressed to remove more whey and give the cheese its final shape. The pressure applied varies depending on the cheese type and desired texture.
Salt is added to the surface of the cheese, which not only seasons it but also helps with moisture control and flavor development. The method of salting varies among different cheeses.
The cheese is placed in a controlled environment, often a cellar or aging room, where temperature and humidity are carefully regulated. During this time, the cheese develops its flavor and texture through microbial and enzymatic activity. Aging periods can range from a few weeks to several years, depending on the cheese type. Once the cheese has aged to the desired stage, it is usually wrapped and packaged for distribution and sale.
The specific steps and variations in cheesemaking are numerous, resulting in the wide variety of cheese types available. Different types of milk, starter cultures, coagulants, aging conditions, and additional ingredients (such as herbs or spices) contribute to the unique characteristics of each cheese. Cheesemakers may use traditional artisanal methods or modern industrial processes, depending on their preferences and the type of cheese they are producing.
Applications of Liquid Ring Vacuum Pumps
Cheese is a perishable food product which is prone to attack by microorganisms. In a vacuum packaging machine, a vacuum pump removes the air and the micro-organisms with it, preventing the growth of the spoilage microorganisms and extending the life of the cheese.
Consistency and texture of cheese directly influences its marketability. Vacuum presses are essential for the cheese-making process, as vacuum presses speed up the curd pressing process by removing whey efficiently. Vacuum presses also help shape the cheese into the desired form. The larger the piece, the softer the cheese. Vacuum pumps are the heart of the vacuum presses.
Drying and curing cannot utilize intense heat in perishable products as they risk denaturing the proteins that give cheese its desired texture. These processes can be effectively done by lowering pressure. Vacuum chambers avoid denaturing by lowering the pressure, which in turn lowers the boiling point of water and aiding evaporation. Vacuum pumps are responsible for creating the vacuum chambers.
The output of a cheese factory depends on the time it takes to cut curd and remove whey. Curd cutters speed up the curd-cutting process with the application of a vacuum. Whey removal is also faster with a vacuum being applied using whey evacuation systems. Hence, vacuum pumps are also the heart of curd cutters and whey evacuation systems.
Cheese ripening and aging rooms are controlled atmospheres with pressure and temperature-regulated processes essential for flavor development and texture control. Vacuum pumps help maintain sub-atmospheric pressure in this situation.