Food Processing And Health

In this way the abovementioned loss in gelling capacity is avoided. As milk protein is doing the fat binding, the meat proteins can use their full power in water binding and texture formation. In this way sodium casemate contributes directly to a better fat binding and indirectly to an improved water binding and texture formation (20-22).

Milk proteins can be applied in three ways:

1. Addition of the powder at the beginning of the comminution process. When milk protein is used in this way, it is important that the addition takes place just before the addition of water/ice. In that way the protein is optimally hydrated; this hydration is very important for its functionality.

2. Addition as a jelly. The milk protein is predissolved in water in a bowl chopper or colloid mill. A common ratio is 1 part milk protein dissolved in 6 parts water.

3. In the form of a pre-emulsion. These pre-emulsions consist of milk protein, fat, and water. Technologically difficult to stabilize fats can be used perfectly by this pre-emulsifying technique (eg, beef suet and flare fat). A common ratio of milk protein:fat:water is 1:5:5. Addition levels of these emulsions to meat emulsions can vary from 10 to 25% maximum.

Temperature control during the production of finely comminuted meat products is very important; when temperatures at the end of comminution exceed 15-18°C, the stability of the final product is affected very negatively. This means that there is little tolerance in processing.

A unique feature of milk proteins is their capacity to widen the processing tolerance as far as temperatures are concerned. This is illustrated in Figure 6.


Sectioned and formed products are made by mechanically working meat pieces to disrupt the normal muscle cell

Without Na-caseinate

Without Na-caseinate

Figure 6. Influence of Na-caseinate on the stability of a meat emulsion in dependence of the final chopping temperature.

structure (16). This produces a creamy, tacky exudate on the surface of the meat pieces. When the product is heated during thermal processing, this exudate binds the meat pieces together; during this heating process the solubilized salt-soluble proteins (mainly myosin) are denaturated and form a gel (23-27). The mechanical action of tumbling and massaging primarily affects external tissues to produce the surface exudate. Some internal tissue disruption also occurs, which explains the enhanced tenderness, brine penetration and distribution, and improved water-holding capacity. The protein exudate is not only produced by the mechanical action during massaging and tumbling, but also by the synergistic effect of addition of salt combined with alkaline phosphates, which improves yields and maximizes myofibrillar protein solubilization.

Optimum product quality is achieved with the addition of brine, which produces a final product containing 2 to 3% salt and 0.3 to 0.5% phosphate.

Dairy Ingredients

In the production of reformed hams both lactose and milk proteins (sodium caseinate) are very useful ingredients. Lactose can be used in levels varying from 0.5 to 2%. When lactose is used, it serves as a water binder, thereby increasing the yield. It has the capacity of masking the bitter aftertaste of phosphates, giving the final product a more delicate flavor. Milk protein or milk protein hydrolysates can be used in levels varying from 0.8 to 1.6% by dissolving them in the brines used for injection of the meat pieces. Milk protein strongly affects the binding between the meat pieces, thereby an improved sliceability is obtained and they have a positive effect on yield. The effects on yield after cooking as function of milk protein percentage in the final product is presented in Figure 7.

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