Homogenization

See also Homogenization in the Dairy Science and Technology Education website.

The process of homogenization reduces milk fat globule sizes from 1 - 15 micrometer to less than 2 micrometer (a micometer is 0.000,0001 m). The natural membrane on the fat globule is replaced by milk proteins, mainly caseins. This results in increased interaction between fat globules and the casein particles in the rennet gel. For some cheese homogenization is desirable:

  • Homogenization promotes lipolysis, whitening, and flavour development in cheese made from cows' milk but which are traditionally made from goats' or sheep's milk, e.g., Blue and Feta.
  • Homogenization increases fat recovery and creates smoother texture in cream cheese.

With respect to most firm to hard ripened cheese, many workers have observed that cheese made from homogenized milk are too tough and firm after pressing. However, there is evidence that homogenization for Cheddar cheese making has some advantages if medium pressure (6.9 MPa) is used and if only cream (35% fat) is homogenized and subsequently blended with unhomogenized skim milk (Nair et al. 2001, Int. Dairy Journal 10:647).

  • Increased rate of gel firming and higher curd firmness at cutting.
  • Increased cheese yield due to greater moisture retention and improved fat and protein recovery.
  • Notwithstanding higher moisture content, cheese texture and flavour was not decreased by homogenization.