Calcium Chloride

Science Byte

Addition of calcium can help the cheese maker with the clotting of milk

Calcium chloride (CaCl2) is often added to milk during cheese making. Cheese makers will dilute CaCl2 in water and add to the vat before rennet is added.

CaCl2 is used to improve the rennet coagulation process. Milk abused prior to cheese making can have negative effects on coagulation, and therefore negative effects on the final cheese texture/body. Milk can be abused many ways: cold/heat abuse, low levels of protein, high somatic cell counts.

CaCl2 Structure

Structure of CaCl2

CaCl2 helps the coagulation process in two main ways:

  • When in solution, it forms calcium ions (Ca2+). As we have mentioned before, calcium is the “glue” that helps hold together protein structure.
  • It can decrease pH slightly, which increases rennet activity and promotes coagulation.