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Utah State team wins new dairy product contest

Carol Ryan Dumas
Food science students at Utah State University have developed a a sourdough starter product using acid whey from Greek yogurt production. The product earned them top honors and $10,000 in Idaho Milk Processors' annual new product contest.

SUN VALLEY, Idaho — The student product development team at Utah State University’s School of Food Science took top honors and $10,000 for its new dairy product in the annual student contest organized by Idaho Milk Processors Association.

The product, Quick Sour, is a starter product for sourdough bread made from acid whey, a by-product of acid-made dairy products such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurt.

The team formulated the product using acid whey from Greek yogurt, a growing sector of the dairy industry.

Due to environmental concerns, the acid whey cannot just be dumped, and the industry must find another way to use it, the team reported in its presentation at the milk processors annual conference in Sun Valley last week.

Sourdough bread is traditionally made by adding lactic acid-producing bacteria starter culture to the dough. Those starters are often difficult to find and take a long time to produce acid in the dough, team members reported.

Using acid whey as an ingredient in the bread, however, could make sourdough baking more accessible to the average consumer. And it could give the Greek yogurt industry another option for the acid whey, according to the team.

Basically, the acid whey is pasteurized, concentrated, evaporated and dried to produce a powder that can be packaged and marketed to consumers.

“Utah State’s Quick Sour is a really good product and made bread with a nice, clear sourdough flavor. It’s a very exciting product,” said head judge Rex C. Infanger, account manager with DuPont Nutrition and Health.

Keeping sourdough starter alive isn’t easy, he said.

“I have requested a sample of the Quick Sour for our bakery group so they can look at the product. I do not know where it will go from there,” he said.

The competition is designed to help food science students in the Intermountain region become acquainted with the industry, Infanger said.

The contest has a core group of food-science program affiliates at Washington State University/University of Idaho, Brigham Young University and Utah State University and has invited Oregon State University to join that core, he said.

Cornell, Purdue, South Dakota State University and California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo have also been invited to compete in the past, he said.

The contest is not only to introduce students to the regional industry but also to promote new ways to sell dairy, he said.

Coming in second in the competition was a sweetened, carbonated, orange-cream-flavored beverage formulated predominantly from low pH whey derived from the manufacture of Greek-style yogurt.

That product was developed by students at the University of Idaho and Washington State University and garnered a prize of $5,000.

A single-serve, shelf-stable, ready-to-eat, cold breakfast cereal complete with dried milk, developed by students at Brigham Young University, took third prize and $3,000.

Half of the prize money goes to the students’ schools, with the students sharing the other half.



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