By Kerry E. Kaylegian and Lisa Caprera
Sensory evaluation is a powerful tool for cheesemakers, or any food manufacture, to monitor product quality and help with product development and troubleshooting. To be an effective tool, sensory evaluation should be done objectively by comparing to a known benchmark, rather than subjectively because of the bias toward a person’s own likes and dislikes.
This guide is designed to help smaller-scale cheesemakers set up a sensory evaluation program to understand their products and document the data to monitor product quality, develop and improve products, and assist in troubleshooting when problems occur. While this guide was developed for cheesemakers, the basics of setting up a sensory evaluation system will be helpful to manufactures of other dairy and food products.
Setting up a sensory evaluation program is not complicated. The minimum you need is a ballot to record your observations, samples of your cheese, a good space to do the evaluations, and a commitment to making the highest-quality cheese possible. Investing time up front to develop a robust ballot and standardized protocol for evaluating your cheese will provide consistency in being able to compare observations on a cheese during its aging process and from batch to batch.
Source : psu.edu
This document will guide you in the development of a sensory evaluation system that meets the needs of your company. Sensory evaluation is one aspect of a comprehensive system to monitor cheese quality. More information about tracking milk composition and quality, the cheesemaking process, and the chemical composition of cheese is found in the Penn State Cheese Tracking System
. Example sensory ballots, evaluation scales, and a customizable worksheet to track sensory data is included in the free download of the complete Penn State Cheese Tracking System.