When I gave up cheese, I wondered how to melt vegan cheese so it becomes a gooey glob of goodness. Everyone loves how melted cheese becomes gooey and stretchy, and I was not ready to let that pleasure go. But, with lots of vegan cheese substitutes available, I didn’t have to.
This article highlight hacks for melting your vegan cheese to a beautiful consistency.
Does Plant-Based Cheese Melt?
Plant-based cheese is non-dairy cheese made from vegetables and their products. They are commonly made from soy, tree nuts, coconut, and potatoes. This type of cheese excludes all forms of animal products, making it vegan-friendly.
Yes, vegan cheese melts. But unfortunately, most plant-based cheeses do not melt entirely like dairy cheese. Vegan cheese doesn’t melt well because of the absence of the protein casein. Casein is an animal protein found in milk that enables dairy cheese to melt and give that appealing stretchy ooze.
The vegan cheeses that melt are more processed than the others. Also, particular shapes like shreds and slices of vegan cheese are intended for melting because of their small size.
Nut-Based Vegan Cheese Vs. Oil-Based Vegan Cheese
Nut-based vegan cheese, like the name implies, is made from nuts. This form of vegan cheese is made from nuts like cashew, almonds, macadamia, and other tree nuts. They have a smooth buttery taste and a spreadable consistency.
Nut-based cheese can be easily made at home because it requires relatively minimal processing. Typically, the nuts are soaked in water until soft, blended till smooth, and fermented for complex flavor and coloring. It is lower in saturated fat and sodium than oil-based vegan cheese. However, they do not melt well due to their solid base.
Oil-based vegan cheese is made from oils from plants like coconut or hemp seed. However, most oil-based cheeses are very firm as they require additional ingredients like tapioca, corn starch, and agar to add density and texture. Also, the oil in its recipe is high in saturated fat compared to nut-based vegan cheese. However, they melt better than nut-based vegan cheese.
How To Melt Vegan Cheese The Right Way
Melting vegan cheese can be tricky as it doesn’t have casein that makes dairy cheese melt easily. However, vegan cheese can melt; you just have to do it right.
You need to cook vegan cheese at a lower temperature than you would dairy cheese. This is because different cheeses melt at different temperatures. Some cheese is made for the sole purpose of melting and the method you use also counts. The amount of cheese to be melted also is a factor. Large blocks of cheese will take more time to make than thinner shreds of cheese.
How To Melt Vegan Cheese In The Oven
Melting vegan cheese in the oven is usually employed when making dishes like a casserole or nachos, where cheese is added as a topping. This melting method is very time-consuming as you would have to constantly check the cheese so it won’t get burnt.
As you’re about to set the dish in the oven, grate your vegan cheese over the top. Grating vegan cheese is essential so it would melt more easily. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
How To Melt Vegan Cheese In The Microwave
The microwave is another excellent way to melt vegan cheese. With its ability to quickly produce high temperatures in food, it is the fastest method for melting vegan cheese. Find a microwave-safe container and coat it with non-stick spray to prevent the cheese from sticking to the container.
Place the cheese and any plant milk of your choice (for example, almond milk). This added liquid helps smooth out the texture of the cheese and prevents lumps during the melting process. Next, add an element of acidities like vinegar or beer to keep the cheese smooth and added flavor.
Place all the added ingredients in the microwavable container in the microwave and set it on high for 30 seconds. Stir in 5 to 10 seconds intervals to keep track of the texture and prevent sticking. After thirty seconds, remove the vegan cheese and stir. It should have a smooth consistency. If it is lumpy, pop it back in the microwave for 10 seconds more or until it attains the viscosity you want.
How To Melt Cheese On The Stove
This method requires two kinds of any vegan cheese, like vegan parmesan and vegan mozzarella, and unsweetened almond milk.
Grate the two types of cheese into a bowl. Take a pan, preferably non-stick, and put it on the stove. Set the heat to medium and add the grated vegan cheese and almond milk. Stir intermittently to prevent cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Keep stirring until it forms the smooth cheesy consistency that you want.
Best Type Of Vegan Cheese For Melting
The best type of vegan cheese for melting depends on the size, base ingredients, and the meal it is being used for. However, shredded cheese is arguably the best kind for melting. They have a small size giving enough surface area for the heat to make it melt. It is also faster and versatile, making it suitable for casseroles, sandwiches, salads, and many other dishes.
For melty, gooey goodness, you should also opt for vegan cheese with an oil base rather than vegan cheese with a nutty base.
Best Vegan Cheese Brands For Melting
Ready to start melting? Here are a few favorites that you may find easiest to work with.
Field Roast Chao Creamy Original Slices
This cheddar cheese is made from coconut oil and fermented tofu. It looks like real dairy cheese and melts perfectly when heated.
Follow Your Heart Dairy Free Cheddar Shreds
This cheddar shred is soy-free and made with a palm oil base. It is a great melter and excellent on salads or a taco dip.
Applewood Smoky Vegan Cheese
It is a delicious vegan cheese alternative with a smoky flavor. It is soy-free and contains B12 and calcium. Made from coconut oil, this vegan alternative melts beautifully.