When people give up dairy, they usually find cheese to be one of the hardest things to say goodbye to. Although there are vegan cheeses available, they can take some time to get used to, especially when it comes to cooking them.
Why is vegan cheese hard to melt? Vegan cheese is made with plant-based ingredients and does not feature cow’s milk, which means it’s lacking in casein.
Casein is the protein responsible for making cheese easy to melt, as well as giving it the stretch that makes it great for cooking with.
Going vegan takes a lot of trial and error and learning how to melt vegan cheese is one of the stumbling blocks, but not impossible.
However, with a few simple tips and a better understanding of what this cheese really is, you’ll find it a lot easier to get perfectly melted plant-based cheese.
Why Is Vegan Cheese So Hard to Melt?
On your quest to switch out your old food products for vegan-friendly ones, you probably find that they don’t all act or taste the same.
The biggest issue people have usually is with vegan cheese, namely because it doesn’t melt like cow’s milk cheese does, and this is all because it doesn’t feature casein.
Casein is the main protein found in cow’s milk and this is the ingredient that helps the cheese melt, stretch, and bubble when cooked.
As your vegan cheese features ingredients like coconut oil and nuts, it won’t be able to do the same, even if you can get the flavors to be pretty similar.
To melt vegan cheese, you need to spend more time waiting while you cook it at a gentler heat. This gives the ingredients time to melt as needed without turning them rubbery.
A little bit of patience goes a long way when using plant-based cheeses, but it’s worth it in the end.
The Ingredients of Vegan Cheese
A quick look at the vegan cheese section of your supermarket will show you just how many varieties there are, and within them, different ingredients.
If you scan the packaging of vegan cheese, you’ll likely see ingredients like macadamias, cashews, coconut oil, vegetable oil, arrowroot, tapioca, and more.
There are two main types of vegan cheese: oil-based and nut-based, but there are lots of other things that are included in them.
At their core, oil-based vegan cheese is better at going gooey, but nut-based cheeses hold their solid form a bit more, so they may be harder to melt.
Keep in mind that vegan cheese should not be seen as a replica of your favorite dairy cheese, and having this hope will only cause you to be let down.
You should use these vegan cheeses as a simple way to get flavor and texture for foods like pizzas, grilled sandwiches, and pasta, but not exactly like the real deal.
Tips for Cooking With Non-Dairy Cheeses
Using non-dairy cheese for the first time can be exciting, but when you realize it’s not as straightforward as you thought, the panic can set in.
There’s no need to switch back to dairy-based cheeses just because your cheese cooking experiment failed though,
Be patient: Slow and steady wins the race, and it’s this mantra that will help you when cooking with vegan cheese. Don’t expect immediately melting and bubbling but rather a gentle softening.
Try a few different brands: There are hundreds of vegan cheese brands to choose from today, and you have the gift of being able to try them all. Some people are loyal to certain cheeses and you’ll probably find after tasting a few that you develop some favorites, too.
Grate your own cheese: If you’re handy in the kitchen, you might have already tried making your own block of plant-based cheese. Sometimes, grating this like a regular block of cheese yields excellent results for melting.
Experiment with meals: One brand of vegan cheese might work great with grilled sandwiches but not so good on a pizza. Try out a few different ways to cook with it before you give up on it entirely.
Easy, Breezy, Cheesy
Vegans now have a whole range of foods available, like cheese and milk substitutes, that were never there before, so it takes some time to learn about them.
Although your vegan cheese won’t even be the same as the real deal, you can learn how to cook with it easily so it gives you the textures and flavors you need.
Plant-based alternatives to popular foods have become increasingly common for vegans to enjoy, but they’re not all created equally.
If you want to learn more about some of these vegan alternatives, we’ve answered some FAQs that can help you out.
Is Vegan Cheese Healthy for You?
Vegan cheese should be enjoyed in moderation, just as you would dairy-based cheese.
However, there are benefits to this plant-based alternative, including no saturated fat, growth hormones, or potentially dangerous animal proteins, depending on which brand and cheese product you choose.
Does Vegan Yoghurt Have Probiotics?
Plant-based yogurt like coconut and soy yogurts can include live active cultures, so they’re just as beneficial as dairy yogurts if you’re looking for probiotics.
However, you should read the ingredient list before purchasing as not all yogurts will feature these good bacteria.
Can I Make Coffee With Almond Milk?
Some brands of almond milk are known for curdling when heated, so they might not always be suitable for hot coffee beverages.
However, you can get barista-quality plant milk that has been formulated to withstand high heat without curdling, and these would be best if you plan on making coffee.
Lorraine Pinnix is a passionate nutritionist and loves seeing people living healthy, and fulfilled lives. She believes that food is an essential piece of staying fit and strongly believes in going vegan. PureGrowthOrganic is a passionate work that details her research in helping you go on complete organic diets. She is available for questions, comments, and follow-ups.