Eidam, the cheaper competition to protein bars

Edam is sometimes seen as a cheap cheese suitable for cooking. dTest has verified whether it deserves such a reputation. Twenty-one samples with a dry matter fat content of 30 and 45 % were examined in the laboratory for quality, taste and purity. The results are encouraging. Although the cheeses did not impress in terms of taste, they did surprise in terms of protein content.

Edam is originally from the Netherlands, where it has been produced since the 14th century. In Czech cuisine, it has been around since the 19th century and has established itself as a cheap cheese suitable for baking and frying. “We focused on packaged eidam and tried to examine the offer of Czech shops as fully as possible. We sent eleven cheeses with 30&nbsp% fat in dry matter to the laboratory and ten fatter eidams with 45 %. When shopping, we preferred sliced eidams, but blocks were also represented. As usual, we chose across brands and together with products from well-known manufacturers, we also examined private label products from supermarket chains,” says Hana Hoffmannová, editor-in-chief of dTest magazine, about the selected samples.

Source: Pixabay.com

The cheeses were first subjected to an examination of the fat content in the dry matter. As there is no binding regulation for eidams, the values obtained were compared according to the voluntary Guild Standard for Eidams issued by the Czech Food Chamber. “In general, the more fat in the dry matter was measured, the better the rating we gave. However, we took into account whether the types were 30% or 45% and set different criteria for each category. And the result? The percentage of fat in dry matter for the less fatty cheeses ranged from 30.5 % (Madeta Jihočeský Eidam 30 % slices) to 35 % (Zlatý sýr Eidam 30 % slices). For the 45% Eidams, the Slovak brand Liptov failed, where the laboratory only reached 44.4 % fat in dry matter. The highest dry matter fat content was achieved by the Billa/Clever and Albert/Ceská chuť brands. Both were reported at 47.1 %.

Comparison of the measured values with the figures on the packaging revealed no complications. In two cases the label reported less dry matter and in one case the information on fat content in dry matter did not match. However, these were not serious infringements and in all cases this can be justified by the uncertainty of the measurement.

The most interesting results came from the measurement of protein content. The average measured value of the tested samples was 29 % for 30% of the cheeses and 26 % for 45% of the cheeses. “For mozzarella, we measured a protein content of around 15.5 % in last June’s test, for barbecue sticks from this July it was around 14 %, raw lean beef offers 20 % protein. Eidam can thus compete with protein bars, which range from 20 to 50 %,” says Hana Hoffmannová.

Measurements of the salt content revealed that Eidams with 30 % fat in dry matter have an average of 1.67 % salt in themselves, while the fatter category had 1.49 %. The products tested are therefore similar to mozzarella (1.4 %) and cheddar (1.7 %). Compared to parmesan (2.5 %) and niva (2.3 %), eidam is a non-salty relative.

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As part of the sensory evaluation, the eidams were divided into two groups according to fat content, and a nine-member panel then evaluated colour, consistency, taste and aroma according to a set standard. Almost all the edamame had at least one fault worthy of note. The exception was the Globus Eidam 45 % natural sliced cheese, which was the debutant of the tasting. The most comments were generally about the taste, with each of the eidam categories being plagued by something different. For the cheeses with 30 % fat in dry matter, the most frequent complaint was that the taste was not very strong. For the higher-fat eidams, there were problems with unpleasant flavours: bitterness and sourness.

The purity of the samples was also checked. In particular, the (non-)presence of undesirable yeasts, salmonella, listeria and Escherichia coli was examined. None of the micro-organisms monitored were found in the nine cheeses. “Yeasts were the most frequently encountered in the test, but they pose a threat to the taste and aroma of the product. However, we also found Escherichia coli bacteria in 30% of Agrico and Kaufland/K-Classic eidams. In both cases, there were hundreds of bacteria in one gram, which was still within the permitted limit of thousands,” said Hana Hoffmannová.

The test traditionally involved reading labels and looking for dyes, preservatives and stabilizers. A total of 15 cheeses got by without the “support” of these substances. The most frequently declared additive was the stabiliser calcium chloride, which manufacturers use to help them curdle their milk. However, the preservative potassium nitrate and the colouring agents carotene and annatto were also present.

Source: TZ