The effect of partial to total substitution of NaCl with KCl on the physicochemical, microbiological, textural, and sensory properties of São João cheese, a soft cheese produced in Pico Island, Portugal, was studied. São João cheeses were made with five different curd dry salting treatments (4%, w/w), including (A) NaCl only (control), (B) 3NaCl/1KCl, (C) 1NaCl/1KCl, (D) 1NaCl/3KCl mixtures, and (E) KCl only, and then ripened at 11 °C for 40 days. Sodium replacement by potassium did not influence the protein, fat, and ash contents at the same sampling day, as well as the overall microbiology quality, but acidity decreased significantly. Replacing NaCl with KCl reduced significantly the moisture content of cheeses up to 17 days of ripening, along with the expected parallel Na reduction/K increase contents. The sensory analysis indicated that a reduced-sodium São João cheese could be produced by using KCl as a partial to total NaCl replacer. However, the texture profile showed that hardness increased significantly while cohesiveness decreased significantly with the increasing substituting amount of KCl. Therefore, considering the sensory, physicochemical, and microbiological properties in combination to the textural results, cheeses formulated with (3:1) or (1:1) NaCl/KCl blends were considered as the most appropriate to be manufactured on an industrial scale. Moreover, the use of (1:1) NaCl/KCl mixture reduced the Na/K ratio from 6.1 in the control cheese to the desired 1.0.
- Cheese composition
- Cheese minerals
- Cheese texture
- Substitution of sodium chloride
- São João cheese