Calcium lactate as an attractive compound to partly replace salt in blue-veined cheese.
In addition to their high sodium content, cheeses are thought to induce an acid load to the body, which is associated with deleterious effects on consumers’ health. Our objective was to explore the use of alkalinizing salts in partial substitution of NaCl to reduce both the sodium content and the acid-forming potential of cheese, without altering its sensory properties. Blue-veined cheeses were produced under industrial conditions, using brine salting followed by dry salting with a 4:1 (wt/wt) mixture of calcium lactate:NaCl or calcium citrate:NaCl. Sodium chloride was used in 2 granulometries: coarse (control treatment) and fine, to obtain homogeneous mixtures with the organic salts. Cheeses were then ripened for 56 d. No major appearance defects were observed during ripening. Calcium lactate substitution decreased the Na content of the cheese core by 33%, and calcium citrate substitution increased the citrate content of the cheese core by 410%, respectively, compared with fine NaCl. This study highlighted the substantial role of salt granulometry in sodium content, with the use of the coarse salt reducing the sodium content by 21% compared with fine salt. Sensory profiles showed nonsignificant differences in bitter and salty perceptions of salt-substituted cheeses with calcium lactate and calcium citrate compared with control cheeses. The use of calcium lactate should be considered to reduce the sodium content and improve the nutritional quality of cheeses while maintaining the sensory quality of the products. Alkalinizing organic salts could replace the acidifying salts KCl or CaCl2, which are currently used in salt replacement and are not recommended for consumers with renal disease. The method described here should be considered by cheese-making producers to improve the nutritional quality of cheese. Additional nutritional optimization strategies are suggested.