There are a lot of reasons people turn to non-dairy/vegan cheese. Some people do it for health reasons , others do it because they believe in animal rights and not taking advantage of animals, and others do it because health conditions such as galactosemia and lactose intolerance force them to.
So, just what is non-dairy cheese?
Non-dairy cheese are cheeses made without milk or other animal-based enzymes. They are just as delicious as regular cheese and can even satisfy the taste buds of the most dedicated cheese lover. Unlike regular cheese, which is made through curdling caused by animal proteins, vegan cheese is created when plant proteins are consolidated together with lactic bacteria to give it some acidity. The cheese is firmed through oils, emulsifiers, and thickening agents.
What is Vegan Cheese Made From?
Exactly what your vegan cheese is made from can vary between cheeses. The most prominent bases are soy protein, solidified vegetable oils – such as coconut, safflower, and palm – thickening agar flakes, tapioca flour, nuts – such as almonds, macadamias, and cashews – vegetable glycerine, natural enzymes, arrowroot, and bacterial cultures.
Some vegan cheeses are processed to give them just the right kind of flavor and texture. It’s important to realise that the phrase “vegan” isn’t synonymous with “healthy”, just like “gluten-free” isn’t. Some varieties of vegan cheese are processed just as much as American “cheese” and your veggie burgers. If you want natural, then you want organic, and nothing less will do.
The good news is that these non-processed vegan cheeses are becoming easier to find as cheese producers are turning to typical cheese aging methods to create vegan cheeses with a minimal amount of ingredients.
What Does Vegan Cheese Taste Like?
The sad thing about vegan cheese is that it is unable to taste exactly the same as regular cheese. The main difference between the two kinds of cheese are curds. Cheese goes through a process where these curd proteins bond to one another, which is why just aging cheese creates a brand new flavor and texture.
Because vegan cheese proteins don’t go through this modification, it means that it isn’t able to create a similar complex flavor to regular milk-based cheese. The good news is that vegan cheeses are still delicious.
How Much Does Vegan Cheese Cost?
Given that the cost of a product depends on supply, demand, and cost of ingredients, you should expect vegan cheese to cost a little more than your regular cheese. The actual price depends on where you buy it from and where you get it from. It’s not too expensive if you buy it as a ready made meal. You can expect a vegan-friendly mac and cheese to set you back about $5.
If you’re interested in embracing vegan cheese then you can actually make your own at home. This is a good choice if you’re worried about all the additives put into it to give it texture and flavor. Making your own organic cheese allows you to keep track of everything put into it. Find a great vegan cheese recipe and try it for yourself!