Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 October 2000
The effects of heat treatment of milk, and a range of rennet and glucono-δ-lactone (GDL) concentrations on the rheological properties, at small and large deformation, of milk gels were investigated. Gels were made from reconstituted skim milk at 30 °C, with two levels each of rennet and GDL. Together with controls this gave a total of sixteen gelation conditions, eight for unheated and eight for heated milk. Acid gels made from unheated milks had low storage moduli (G′) of < 20 Pa. Heating milks at 80 °C for 30 min resulted in a large increase in the G′ value of acid gels. Rennet-induced gels made from unheated milk had G′ values in the range ∼ 80–190 Pa. However, heat treatment severely impaired rennet coagulation: no gel was formed at low rennet levels and only a very weak gel was formed at high levels. In gels made with a combination of rennet and GDL unusual rheological behaviour was observed. After gelation, G′ initially increased rapidly but then remained steady or even decreased, and at long ageing times G′ values increased moderately or remained low. The loss tangent (tan δ) of acid gels made from heated milk increased after gelation to attain a maximum at pH ∼ 5·1 but no maximum was observed in gels made from unheated milk. Gels made by a combination of rennet and GDL also exhibited a maximum in tan δ, indicating increased relaxation behaviour of the protein–protein bonds. We suggest that this maximum in tan δ was caused by a loosening of the intermolecular forces in casein particles caused by solubilization of colloidal calcium phosphate. We also suggest that in combination gels made from unheated milk a low value for the fracture stress and a high tan δ during gelation indicated an increased susceptibility of the network to excessive large scale rearrangements. In contrast, combination gels made from heated milk formed firmer gels crosslinked by denatured whey proteins and underwent fewer large scale rearrangements.
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