Quality characteristics of traditional sepet cheese
Investigation and registration of traditional foods contributes to the improvement of economy and the continuation of important elements of a nation.s culinary heritage, culture. Various types of traditional cheese are present in different shape, color, taste in the world. Sepet cheese is one of the traditional cheeses produced in the Aegean region. In this study, chemical, physical, microbiological, organoleptic, and aroma characteristics of traditional sepet cheeses were investigated. The changes in the quality characteristics were examined during production and ripening periods. The natural lactic acid bacteria flora of sepet cheeses during production and ripening was identified with phenotyphic methods. As a result of chemical analysis, average chemical characteristics of traditional sepet cheeses were found as 54.33 %±5.17 total solid content, 0.82±0.05 water activity, 25.11 %±2.86 fat content, 5.58±0.43 pH, 28.99 %±2.12 protein content. According to microbiological analysis of sepet cheeses, average total aerobic, lactococci, lactobacilli, enterococci, psychrotrophic bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, yeast, mold, coliform bacteria counts were 7.64±1.18, 7.38±1.10, 7.38±0.99, 6.99±0.99, 5.37±1.15, 1.25±1.72, 3.22±0.25, 0.95±0.96, 2.72±1.82 log cfu/g, respectively. During descriptive profile analysis, traditional sepet cheeses were described with free fatty acid, cooked, creamy, whey, animal like, sulfurous aromatic descriptives with high salty basic taste. Free fatty acids were found to be the most abundant volatile compounds of sepet cheeses and had the highest aroma intensities in volatile fraction. According to phenotypic identification, isolates were closely related to Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Lactobacillus casei spp. rhamnosus, L. plantarum, heterofermentative Lactobacillus spp., Streptococcus thermophilus, Leuconostoc spp., Enterococcus durans and E. faceium.