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This research paper aimed to evaluate the role of inulin as a fat replacer on the quality of Frescal sheep milk cheese. Sheep milk and its derivatives are a promising niche in the dairy industry, mainly due to increasing interest of consumers in diversified products. Three Frescal sheep milk cheese formulations, namely whole milk cheese (WMC), semi-skimmed cheese (SSC) and semi-skimmed cheese with 5 g/100 g inulin (SSCI) were prepared. Their composition was evaluated and the feasibility of using inulin as a fat substitute was investigated. SSC and SSCI were considered ‘reduced fat’ or ‘reduced calorie’ products. The addition of inulin to SSCI cheeses yielded textural parameters (firmness, adhesiveness, cohesiveness, and gumminess) with intermediate characteristics between SSC and WMC. All the formulations presented scores higher than 7.6 in sensory analysis. In conclusion, the use of inulin in semi-skimmed sheep cheese allowed the production of cheese with texturizing properties similar to whole milk sheep cheese, enabling the development of a foodstuff with lower caloric content and beneficial characteristics valued by consumers.
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