Is It Really Cheese?
In preparing the comminuted cheese for freezing, prccooling of the cheese is not required, that is, the cheese may be at temperatures substantially above 32° F. For example, temperatures in the range of 35-55° F. can be used, up to ambient room temperature. After the comminuted cheese is completely frozen, typically requiring from five to ten minutes, the cheese granules will be at very cold temperatures, but somewhat above the temperature of the freezing air. For example, the temperature of the frozen cheese will usually be below 0° F., such as at a temperature of from about -10° to -20° F.
After the cheese is frozen as described, the shreds or granules will be in an individual free-flowing form. The particulate cheese is then further processed in accordance with this invention. For example, a conveyor belt, or rotating drum, or other equipment may be used. In one embodiment, the cheese particles may be sprayed with an aqueous carrier containing one or more cheese additives, such as flavor modifiers, emulsifiers, surfactants, defoamers, preservatives, etc. Any GRAS-approved food additive can be used. The additive may be in an aqueous solution, dispersion, or emulsion, and a plurality of additives may be applied in a single layer or a plurality of layers. The carrier should contain sufficient water so that it will freeze on the cheese particles. Granules of different kinds of cheese may be mixed in frozen condition, either before or after coating.