Enzyme-modified cheese

Enzyme-modified cheese (EMC) is cheese curd which has been treated with enzymes to produce a concentrated cheese flavour ingredient.

Manufacturing protocols for EMC are very variable and are usually closely guarded secrets. The first step generally involves blending freshly made cheese curd, and perhaps other ingredients such as other sources of fat and protein, with water and emulsifying salts to form a paste which is then pasteurized (to inactivate microorganisms and enzymes) and may be homogenized. A blend of enzymes (e.g., proteinases, peptidases and lipases) is then added sometimes together with starter organisms and the paste is incubated for a few days before being heat-treated to inactivate the added enzymes and to stabilize the product. EMCs are available as pastes or dried to form powders. EMCs, which may have approximately 15-30 times the flavour intensity of natural cheese, are used to give a cheese flavour note to products such as processed/analogue cheese, cheese powders, soups, sauces, dips, crackers, salad dressings and in coatings for snack foods.
Further reading:

Guinee, T.P and Kilcawley, K.N. (2004). Cheese as an ingredient. In Cheese: Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology Vol. 2 Major Cheese Groups 3rd ed. P.F. Fox, P.L.H. McSweeney, T.M. Cogan and T.P. Guinee (eds) Elsevier Academic Press, Amsterdam. pp. 395-428.

Kilcawley, K.N., Wilkinson, M.G. and Fox, P.F. (1998). Enzyme-modified cheese. Int. Dairy J. 8, 1-10.