Does vegan cheese melt?
In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Does vegan cheese melt?” and will discuss different types of vegan cheese that can melt.
Does vegan cheese melt?
Yes, vegan cheese can melt. Vegan cheese is no longer limited to being warm and pliable, but can now melt almost as well as regular cheese.
The Good Food Institute, a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C., reported a growth in plant-based cheese analog sales of around 42% from 2019 to 2020, with $270 million being sold in the USA alone in 2020 (1).
With all of the vegan cheeses available today, we may choose from a variety of styles, such as vegan mozzarella or feta, plant-based parmesan-like cheese, applewood smoked cheddar, and even vegan brie and halloumi type cheese.
In a patented process of making plant-based cheese, a stretchy cheese was obtained by utilizing a mixture of soy globulins (4%), pea globulins (2%), and pea prolamins (2%) – which are proteins of these legumes – after heating to 95°C and inoculation with starter cultures after heating. The authors related the stretchy and melting behavior of the cheese analogs especially to the presence of the prolamins (1).
Cheeses that melt like real cheese from vegan sources
Applewood Smokey Cheese
One of the best things about vegan cheese is that it “melts nicely,” and Applewood’s vegan cheese delivers on that promise.
This smooth and creamy cheese substitute has a smokey taste and is free of soy and gluten. Another thing to note: While it’s true that some vegan cheeses lack calcium, Applewood’s is enriched with vitamin B12 and calcium.
Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Cheese
When it comes to vegan cheese, user evaluations say that Violife’s Epic Cheddar Cheese is the greatest. It’s also the most popular in foreign markets. Sliced or grated, this cheese (block-style) is great on pizzas and pasta. Any of these meals would benefit from the melting ability and rich taste of this ingredient.
Follow Your Heart Smoked Gouda
You may use this rich, hickory-smoked Gouda in mac and cheese to give it a more refined taste or use it to make a Gourmet panini with caramelized onions. This vegan cheese melts well, just like the other options on our list.
Daiya Mozzarella Style Stretches
Their Mozzarella Style Shreds melt and ooze like real mozzarella, according to Daiya’s website. These are also free of gluten, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. Bonus!
Violife Just Like Mature Cheddar Slices
To fulfill your wants for mature cheddar cheese’s powerful taste, try Violife’s mature cheddar. It has just the right amount of texture and tangs to meet your needs.
Where Does Vegan Cheese Come from and What Are the Ingredients?
The design principle behind plant-based cheese production is to match the physicochemical and sensory attributes of a specific conventional cheese (such as cheddar or mozzarella), which can be achieved by using a variety of different ingredients and structuring techniques depending on the properties required. In practice, this is extremely difficult because plant-derived ingredients behave very differently from those found in animal milk. The main difference between regular and plant-based cheese production is that there is only one main ingredient in regular cheese (milk from different sources) and the different cheese varieties are produced by utilizing different processing routes (1).
Vegan cheese is created from plant-based proteins rather than animal products. The proteins used in plant-based cheeses are mainly derived from pea, soy, lupin, potato, nuts, and corn. The proteins need to fulfill different physicochemical and functional attributes with emulsification, gelation, water holding, and flavor pre-cursor properties being the most important one (1).
You’ll discover several sorts of cheese based on nuts like cashew and macadamia as well as vegetable oils like coconut oil. Most cheese is created from soy. Other than those four main ingredients, however, there are many more that may be utilized to create vegan cheese.
Soy, coconut, and almonds are the most often used primary components in vegan cheese, however, different varieties may be manufactured.
Starches are one of the most commonly used polysaccharide-based ingredients in plant cheese analogs, because of their ability to form a viscous paste or gel upon heating (gelatinization) and cooling (retrogradation/setback), which entraps fluids and other ingredients within the 3D-polysaccharide network formed. Finally, a wide variety of plant-derived fats have been used to formulate plant-based foods, such as avocado, canola, cocoa, coconut, corn, palm, vegetable, safflower, sesame, soybean, and sunflower oils (1).
What is the Process for Making Vegan Cheese?
Vegan cheese is prepared in the same way as regular cheese, but without the use of dairy milk as a starter. After separating the bacteria from the plant proteins, the cheese is thickened using oils and thickeners to get the desired cheese-like texture. Vegetable protein and bacteria are allowed to break down and generate tastes that are distinct and near to typical cheese in vegan cheese, just like in traditional cheese.
The production process can be summarized as follows: Proteins and starches are extracted from plants and dried. The fractionated protein and/or polysaccharide ingredients are then solubilized in water and blended with oil to create a plant-based emulsion. Then, this mixture may be solidified using a variety of approaches, including heating, chilling, pH adjustment, enzyme addition, or salt addition. During these various processes, proteins are often solubilized, denatured, and/or aggregated, starches are often gelatinized, fats are emulsified, melted, and/or crystallized, and gums may undergo coil helix transitions, with the precise processes occurring depending on the nature of the ingredients and processes used. Thus, this processing route employs numerous phase transitions to yield the final cheese analog: solid (plant raw material) → liquid (extraction/fractionation) → solid (dried ingredients) → liquid (emulsion) → solid (plant-based cheese) (1).
There are several varieties of vegan cheese
Since vegan cheese now appears in almost every kind of regular cheese, “dropping cheese” is no longer a legitimate excuse to discourage people from being vegan.
In co-ops and big supermarket shops, you can usually get vegan cheeses.
The most common kinds of vegan cheese are as follows.
Parmesan style– Vegan parmesan cheese, grated in the parmesan manner, is popular as a topping for pizza, pasta, and even popcorn.
Shredded– Shredded vegan cheese comes in two varieties: mozzarella and cheddar, the latter of which melt very well when heated up. If you’re making pizza, spaghetti, tacos, or casseroles, shredded vegan cheese is a great addition.
Cream cheese– cream cheese is excellent on toast, bagels, and vegan croissants. They come in a wide range of tastes, much like regular cheese.
Block and slice-Different types of cheese, including gouda, cheddar, provolone, and American, are available in blocks and slices. In crackers or a sandwich, they’re the most delicious
Soft vegan cheese– Soft cheese-Ricotta, brie, and camembert cheese are all examples of soft vegan cheese.
Nacho cheese dips- Vegan nacho cheese dips are now available, and you may use them to serve with tortilla chips as a dipping alternative. Making them at home is also simple.
Is it Safe to Eat Vegan Cheese?
If you eat vegan cheese regularly, it may or may not be beneficial for you. However, unlike typical cheese that should not be consumed blindly. If you’re ignoring other foods and nutrients, eating too much of one thing might be hazardous.
Even though vegan cheeses vary, some include components that are highly processed, which is not a healthy way of eating. According to studies, favoring natural foods over processed ones is a good approach to get more nutrients and be healthier in general (2).
Studies comparing vegetarian / vegan diets with omnivorous diets concluded both positive and negative effects. These contradicting results are commonly explained by the fact that early studies did not distinguish between healthy and unhealthy vegetarian/ vegan diets and that the foods eaten in vegetarian diets have turned more towards unhealthy foods in recent years. For example, a diet based on starchy and sugar-rich plant-based foods is still considered vegetarian/vegan but may have adverse health effects. These findings are especially relevant for processed plant-based foods. Some plant-based cheese types mainly contain processed ingredients such as starch and oils and further studies need to elucidate their effects on human health in this food matrix (1).
In addition to being devoid of key micronutrients, highly processed vegan cheese frequently includes large quantities of oil, preservatives, color chemicals, and sodium, to put it another way, these items should only be included in very little amounts of our diet.
The more entire components, such as groundnuts and seeds or cooked veggies with additional spices, the more important vegan cheese may be in your diet.
Other FAQs about Cheese that you may be interested in.
What can I substitute for queso fresco?
What can I substitute for ricotta cheese?
In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Does vegan cheese melt?” and discussed different types of vegan cheese that can melt.
- Grossmann, Lutz, and David Julian McClements. The science of plant-based foods: Approaches to create nutritious and sustainable plant-based cheese analogs. Trend Food Sci Technol, 2021, 118, 207-229.
- Louzada MLDC, et al. The share of ultra-processed foods determines the overall nutritional quality of diets in Brazil. Public Health Nutr, 2018, 21, 94-102.
- Ferawati, Ferawati, et al. The Application of Pulse Flours in the Development of Plant-Based Cheese Analogues: Proximate Composition, Color, and Texture Properties. Foods, 2021, 10, 2208.