A new salting method based on the brine vacuum impregnation of porous products was tested in Manchego-type cheese in order to assess its effect on cheese lipolysis during ripening. This new salting method would allow a faster salt diffusion and a more homogeneous initial salt distribution, and would reduce the disposal of brine. Salt-in-moisture content was evaluated in three different cheese zones during a 90-day ripening period in order to monitor salt penetration in the cheese. Lipolysis was evaluated by means of gas chromatography of individual free fatty acids in the medium and internal zones of both cheeses salted by the conventional and the new salting procedures. Free fatty acid concentration regularly increased during ripening. Short-chain free fatty acid content was higher in the internal zone of conventionally salted cheeses than in the internal and medium zones of vacuum impregnated cheeses from the first month after manufacturing, probably due to the low initial salt concentration achieved in the inner zone of conventionally salted cheeses, which can enhance both bacterial and indigenous lipase activity. Panelists considered that conventionally salted cheeses presented a more intense aroma than vacuum impregnated cheeses, though no differences in global flavor intensity were observed. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.