Beyaz cheese (Turkish white-brined cheese) was ripened in four different brines with 12, 14, 16 or 18 g NaCl center dot 100 g(-1) water (w/w) at 7 +/- 1 degrees C for 9 weeks. The effect of NaCl concentration on gross composition, proteolysis, sensory characteristics and hardness of the cheeses were investigated during ripening. The cheeses ripened in varying concentrations of NaCl differed in pH values, dry matter, total protein, hardness (mm/5 s), 12% (w/v) trichloroacetic acid-soluble nitrogen fraction and hydrolysis of beta-casein, but they did not differ in water-soluble nitrogen or hydrolysis of alpha(s1)-casein. The cheeses ripened in a 12 g NaCl center dot 100 g(-1) brine had the best flavour score and overall acceptability by the panellists. The results obtained from this study indicated that increase in NaCl concentration in brine (more than 14 g center dot 100 g(-1)) is correlated with lower levels of proteolysis and overall acceptability in Beyaz cheese.