The Hanna Instruments HI99165 is a durable, waterproof, and portable Foodcare pH and temperature meter designed specifically for cheese analysis. Automatic calibration is performed at one or two points with two sets of buffers. All calibration and measurement readings are automatically compensated for temperature variations.
The HI99165 uses the FC242D stainless steel body, amplified pH electrode that offers numerous features that improve pH testing for cheese producers. The split-level LCD displays both pH and temperature readings, along with indicators for reading stability, battery percentage, and calibration instructions.
pH is an essential measurement throughout the entire cheesemaking process. From the initial measurements of incoming milk to the final measurements of ripened cheese, pH is the most important parameter for cheese quality and safety control.
Acidification of milk begins with the addition of bacterial culture and rennet. The bacteria consume lactose and create lactic acid as a byproduct of fermentation. The lactic acid produced will cause the pH of the milk to go down. Once the milk reaches a particular pH, the rennet is added. The enzymes in rennet help to speed up curdling and create a firmer substance. For cheesemakers that dilute their rennet, the pH of the dilution water is also critical; water that is near pH 7 or higher can deactivate the rennet, causing problems with coagulation.
Once the curds are cut, stirred, and cooked, the liquid whey must be drained. The pH of whey at draining directly affects the composition and texture of the final cheese product. Whey that has a relatively high pH contributes to higher levels of calcium and phosphate and results in a stronger curd. Typical pH levels at draining can vary depending on the type of cheese; for example, Swiss cheese is drained between pH 6.3 and 6.5 while Cheddar cheese is drained between pH 6.0 and 6.2.
During brining, the cheese soaks up salt from the brine solution and loses excess moisture. The pH of the brine solution should be close to the pH of the cheese, ensuring the equilibrium of ions like calcium and hydrogen. If there is an imbalance during brining, the final product can have rind defects, discoloration, a weakened texture, and shorter shelf life.
Cheeses must fall within a narrow pH range to provide an optimal environment for microbial and enzymatic processes that occur during ripening. Bacterial cultures used in ripening are responsible for familiar characteristics such as the holes in Swiss cheese, the white mold on Brie rinds, and the aroma of Limburger cheese. A deviation from the ideal pH is not only detrimental to the ecology of the bacteria, but also to the cheese structure. Higher pH levels can result in cheeses that are more elastic while lower pH levels can cause brittleness.
The HI99165 uses the stainless steel FC242D amplified pH electrode. This specialized electrode offers numerous features that improve pH testing for cheese producers. The robust stainless steel sheath paired with the conical sensing tip allows for penetration in cheese at various points throughout the production process. An integrated temperature sensor also ensures that all pH measurements are compensated for temperature without the need for a separate temperature probe.