Lipase – A Helpful Busy Little Enzyme

By on

Lipase Cheese Making

What is Lipase?

If you are new to the hobby of cheese making, you might have no idea, just as I didn’t when I first started out. I had never heard of it in any context and it took a bit of research to learn why and when I would use it.

So I thought I would help you out with telling you what I learnt back in those early days.

Lipase, generally, are quite complex and clever wee things but basically Wikipedia describes Lipase as this:

“A lipase is an enzyme that catalyzes the formation or cleavage (hydrolysis) of fats (lipids).”

The Wiki definition goes on to explain that Lipase are essential in the digestion, transport and processing of dietary lipids such as oils, fats and triglycerides and are present in most, if not all, living organisms.

In the context of cheese making, Lipase are one of the many enzymes that are present in raw milk. The enzymes attach themselves to the fat globes of the liquid and break them down, which then causes the fatty acids to be released.

The release of those fatty acids in turn creates the aroma, texture and sharp taste common (and desired) in most Italian cheeses, as well as some Feta and Blue Cheeses.

Unfortunately, during the handling and processing of commercial milk, particularly if it is pasteurised, the lipase enzymes are usually destroyed. This makes achieving that sharp taste more difficult so Lipase can be added back into the milk, to reintroduce those enzymes and their usual function.

Even with raw milk you may still require an addition of Lipase as the enzymes can be affected and reduced by the health and diet of the animal they are taken from.

Like Rennet, Lipase for cheese making is normally taken from kids, lambs or calves. It is definitely not a vegetarian product. Some Lipase products have been created with plant extract but due to the very minimal amount of Lipase present in plants it is considered an inefficient source of the enzymes.

Lipase should be used following the instructions of the supplier and please don’t work with the theory that adding more lipase will add more flavour. It won’t. It is the work the Lipase does that increases the flavour so as long as you use it correctly, the amount suggested should give you the flavour you want.

Most suppliers will have more than one variety of Lipase, with some giving a more mild taste, and others creating a much sharper taste. I would recommend trying the milder version first and moving to the sharper Lipase if you still don’t have the flavour you desire, and expect.

Your Lipase should be diluted in water and then added before adding the Rennet, after any starter cultures have been through their ripening period.

Storage of the powder (normal form) should be in the freezer to maximise its life and effectiveness.

Initially when I started out making cheese I decided I didn’t need to worry too much about adding extra ingredients until I understood the basics of the cheese making process, but after finally deciding to see what the fuss was about with my Feta, I encourage you not to underestimate the difference in the results you get with the additional of Lipase. It really does bring your Feta, and Italian cheeses, to a whole other taste level.

If you have any comments or questions about Lipase, please leave them in the comments below. I would love to hear from other Curd Nerds!!!

5 Comments

  1. Matt

    Just made some delicious mozzarella from a book. The only problem is the mozzarella seems to be “bleeding.” When I checked on it the milk spills all over my hands like melting ice cream. Just ate a piece and it had the perfect texture, yet like I mentioned it is running. It lost close to 4 or 5g in a span of 8hours. Could his be due to a lower strength lipase? The recipe calls for high strength specifically. Or is this just ow fresh mozza rolls?

    Thanks!

    • Curd-Nerd

      Hi Matt

      To prevent this ‘bleeding’, you need to put your mozzarella in the cold water for no less than 10 minutes to let it fully cool, then wrap it and put it in the fridge to let it cool for another few hours at least to let it ‘rest’. This should help with your problem.

  2. zahi

    I need more elastic for haloumi. Some friends advice me to add some lipase to make it more elastic. Thanks

  3. My first time making cheese; trying mozzarella and am confused about LIPASE?
    Do I need this for mozzarella? It was not part of the 30 minute process I read.
    I have a starter kit but LIPASE is not part of it. I only have access to store bought milk…is this ok?

    • Curd-Nerd

      I do not use Lipase in my Mozzarella recipe, and I would assume the 30 minute mozzarella is the same.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply