Casein is a protein that is in milk. In pure form, it has no taste, colour or smell.
It is vital to the cheese-making process. Acids and enzymes cause the protein to coagulate and form curd.
In addition to being drawn on in the cheese-making process, industrially, it is also extracted from milk for use as an ingredient or element in many other items. Both food-grade and non-food-use (aka industrial grade) casein are produced.
Food-grade is used for its ability to thicken and congeal in products such as coffee whiteners, infant formula, processed cheese, soy cheeses, imitation meat products, etc., as well as in pharmaceutical products. Industrial-grade is used in paint, adhesives, cosmetics, plastics, etc.
Extracted casein won’t dissolve in water, so it is dissolved in a hydroxide then dried to a white powder, making caseinate. There is Ammonium caseinate for baking products, Calcium caseinate (used in some cheeses, frozen desserts and diet supplements), Potassium caseinate (used in ice creams and sherbets) and Sodium caseinate (processed cheeses, coffee whitener, yoghurt, some liqueurs, etc.)
Some people are allergic to casein.
A product can contain caseinates and still be labelled “non-dairy.”
Casein contains 21 amino acids.
Comes from the Latin word for cheese, “caesus“.
Other cheese technical terms
- Cooked-Curd Cheeses
- Double-Cream Cheese
- Fat Content of Cheeses
- Longhorn Cheese
- Pate (of a Cheese)
- Pressed-Curd Cheeses
- Raw Curd Cheeses
- Semi-Cooked Curd Cheeses
- Skim-Milk Cheeses
- Smear-Ripened Cheeses
- Stretched Curd Cheeses
- Sweet Curd Cheeses
- Triple-Cream Cheese
- Washed-Curd Cheeses