This study aims at evaluating the effects of adding milk whey powder and a probiotic strain Bifidobacterium on the physicochemical and sensory characteristics during the maturation of traditional Minas cheese. The effects of using different amounts of milk whey powder (0, 15 and 30 g/L) and probiotic (0.15, 0.30 and 0.45 g/L of Bifidobacterium) were evaluated after 1, 10 and 30 days of storage at 15 °C, at 85% RH. The combination of 0.30 g/L of probiotic culture and 15 g/L of whey powder yielded the highest calcium content (55 mg/100 g). There was a significant reduction (p < 0.05) in lactose content throughout the maturation period and hence an increase in the acidity of the formulations. Probiotic bacterial activity decreased with cheese ripening. There was a significant increase in the extension index and depth of proteolysis during ripening, especially with the formulations with higher probiotic concentration. The addition of whey powder and probiotics did not affect the sensory acceptability, but longer storage decreased acceptability.
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