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Origin Of Dairy-Free Products & The Concept Of Vegan Cheese

Learn about the origin of dairy-free products and also find out the difference between commercial and non-dairy cheese.

Kritika Madhukar
Different Kind Of Non-Dairy Cheese
Different Kind Of Non-Dairy Cheese

Vegan cheese is gaining popularity day by day and is also being widely available, however, not many people are aware of how is it made and what ingredients are used for its making.

Brief History Of Dairy-Free Products

People have been consuming dairy-free products since ancient times. Originated in China, fermented tofu has been eaten for more than 1500 years. The very first modern-era innovation of dairy-free products took place around some time in the years of 1800s.  Harvey Kellog was a founder, businessman, doctor, and health activist. His cereal brand, Kelloggs, created a wide range of dairy-free cheese products. One of these products gathered more attention than the others, Nuttolene. Nuttolene was a product made up of nuts and had a cream cheese consistency.

Dairy-free alternatives were commonly accessible by the 20th century. The partial credit goes to Li Yu-Ying. He was born in Beijing and was a politician, educator, and political activist. Li-Yu-Ying played a major role in bringing the products made from soy from west to east.

In the year of 1911, he set up a dairy, where he sold and created fermented tofu cheese. These initial products eventually developed into those that appeared more like cheese and soon, they became an alternative to it. However, until recent times, there were only a few dairy-free cheese alternative options available in the market.

Dairy Cheese

While the meat alternatives have achieved their goal of tasting and looking like meat, the cheese alternatives still have miles to conquer, the reason being is that cheese is consists of a unique flavor and structure. Its structure enables it to be solid at room temperature and yet melt at higher temperatures. A few vegetable fats, such as palm and coconut oils, both are common ingredients in vegan cheeses as they can mimic the same thing. However, animal cheese can stretch while melting. This special trait is difficult to replicate while using plant-based substances. Casein is a protein that is found in cow's milk, is responsible for making the animal cheese lumpy and bubbly while being grilled. So far, no vegan substitute has been discovered.

Non-Dairy Cheese (Vegan Cheese)

A new ingredient has made vegan cheese much creamier and appetizing. Cashews are widely being used for their creamy texture and they can easily be blended into a paste. 

This paste can then be fermented. After fermenting, various other ingredients can be added to this paste to acquire different flavors. Various components derived from vegetables can also be used in making vegan cheese. It can also be obtained by using walnut seeds, sunflower, peanuts, almonds, soybeans, rice, and potatoes.

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