What are adjunct cultures?
An adjunct culture is a bacteria that is introduced for a specific outcome, that is not technically necessary for the primary production of lactic acid. These blends provide various outcomes based on their specific mixtures, that would not naturally occur otherwise. Adjunct bacteria bring out characteristics such as buttery aroma, CO2 production, that LAB starters usually would not accomplish on their own.
Some popular examples of adjunct starters include the following:
LM57 Mesophilic: Primarily produces CO2 (gas) and diacetyl (flavor) due to citrate fermentation. Adds and brings out a buttery flavor in cheese. This culture does not produce lactic acid. Often used with an MM series culture for blue and gouda, to create more gas and openness. Primary flavor culture for butter, sour cream, buttermilk, and cream cheese.
FLAV 54: This culture can be used with thermophilic culture for a more complex Alpine flavor, or with mesophilic culture for a slightly sweet variation on Cheddar. This culture can be used when making cheddar and other semi-hard cheeses to enhance and accelerate the development of flavor and aroma. The character of this particular Helveticus strain offers more sweetness to the final cheese
Propionic Shermanii (Swiss): This culture produces the characteristic eyes, aroma and flavor associated with Swiss, Gruyere and Emmental style cheese. This is not an acid producing culture and needs to be used in conjunction with a Thermophilic or Mesophilic culture to convert lactose and produce acid for proper cheese making.The success of this culture depends on a warm aging period after an initial short ripening period. Details for this process should be included in recipes that call for this culture.
MVA Thermophilic Adjunct Culture: For aroma and texture development in Tomme-style and mixed flora cheese. This ripening culture will stimulate the lactic cultures, as well as enhance the cheese texture and aroma. Rapid implantation to inhibit potentially contaminating micro organisms.
Su Casu Thermophilic Starter Culture: Preferred choice for Parmesan or other hard, high-cooked cheese. Mildly sweet and nutty flavor profile. Can be used as a flavor adjunct in Cheddar. Very high heat resistant.
Note there are many more adjunct bacteria available, but for the purpose of this explanation, these examples give an idea as to how adding various bacteria to your project can bring out specific flavors, based on the cheesemakers preferences.