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cheese experiment samples
December 30, 2022

Cheeseheads at CBE

Written By: Nicolette Miscevich

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Katie Karjala
Margaret Shen

At CBE’s Summer Lab (CBE 424), students continue their education through the summer by working on experiments with real world applications. Summer Lab group partners Margaret Shen and Katie Karjala worked on a cheesemaking experiment where they tested different kinds of milk and coagulates to determine which combination would give the highest yield. In addition, cheese textures were tested to determine how fat content and aging affect the cheese’s texture. The experiment was aptly titled: “Effect of milk composition and coagulant on cheese yield”

According to Shen, the results of the experiment showed that they could help cheese manufacturers everywhere by “finding a more efficiently processed cheese by using the coagulant that results in the highest yield.” Additionally, cheese manufacturers could use the texture analysis information to manipulate the softness/hardness of the cheese depending on consumer preferences. ”The final results demonstrated that higher fat content milks results in softer cheese and that longer aging results in harder cheese.” 

Heated milk before coagulation
Heated milk after adding the coagulant (rennnet)

For Karjala, her favorite part of the experiment included the ultrafiltration experiment, where milk was passed through a filter to remove water and increase the protein concentration of the product. After completion of her degree, Karjala hopes to pursue opportunities in the food industry.

Shen graduated in the summer of 2022, and Karjala is a December 2022 graduate.