November 17, 2011

Soya Free & Dairy Free Cheese - The Quest Through Grilling


Substituting cheese...

Generally, it is cheaper and less trouble to forget about substituting your food allergen and try to erase the memories of your favourites from your palate. Substitutions are usually expensive and frequently don’t cut it (any cheese lover who is allergic/intolerant to milk will relate to this). I’m not a huge fan of the cheese substitutes available on the market. They are almost always soy based and never melt properly, despite what the package says. But sometimes the desire is too much and even if you don’t love what the substitute offers it will get you over the hump and keep you away from the real thing...

The most popular/available brands available in Dublin are Cheezly, Sheese and Tofutti.

Cheezly Cheddar Style
In my opinion, this, the original Cheezly Cheddar Style block is the best. It is the least vinegary, has the most appropriate texture and melts the best (the photos below don't represent this accurately due to poor light and a shortage of time!). There is still some dryness to the taste but the slices, once melted, blend a bit more and cling on to the bread better than the competition, although they are still prone to falling off in one piece. Tastes good raw with mayonnaise, salt and white pepper in a sandwich.




- Dairy Free
- Lactose Free
- Wheat Free
- Gluten Free
- GMO Free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Free From Artificial Flavours
- Free From Preservatives
- Cholesterol Free

Ingredients: Water, potato starch, non-hydrogenated vegetable fats & oils, soya protein, yeast extract, thickener: carrageenan; salt, flavouring, emulsifying salt: tricalcium phosphate; colour: carotene



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Cheezly Soy Free Cheddar Style
An alright attempt. The block is a bit too soft to really resemble cheddar and the vinegar is a bit too heavy but it is the best, if not only, soy free cheese I have found in Ireland.
- Dairy Free
- Lactose Free
- Gluten Free
- Wheat Free
- Soy Free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian
- Cholesterol Free
- Free from Hydrogenated Fats

Ingredients: Water, non-hydrogenated vegetable fats & oils, pea protein, potato starch, thickeners: carrageenan, locust bean gum, salt, dried yeast, natural flavouring, spirit vinegar, tricalcium phosphate, sodium citrate, sugar, natural colour: annatto



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Sheese Strong Cheddar Style
This cheese substitute is OK, despite its horrible name that reminds me of noses and wet sneezes. Sheese is dedicated to veganism and is making its way on the Irish market as a genuine competitor to Cheezly but in my opinion they still stand at second. The cheese doesn’t melt as well as Cheezly (which lacks meltability itself) and tastes a bit ‘dry’ (even more than Cheezly). As almost a rule with Cheese substitutes, Sheese is too heavy on the vinegar but is overall a passable substitute that is better eaten raw than grilled or melted.


- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
- Wheat Free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian

Ingredients: Filtered Water, Vegetable Oil, Soya Concentrate, Salt, Spirit Vinegar, Flavourings, Oat Fibre (gluten-free), Lactic Acid (dairy-free), Thickeners: Carrageenan & Xanthan Gum, Yeast Extract, Colours: Curcumin (U.S.A Turmeric) & Annatto.



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Tofutti “Mozzarella Style”
Tofutti’s frozen desserts are good and their cream cheese substitutes are amazingly good and quite realistic but their mozzarella style cheese block completely confuses me. I think that it is the worst cheese substitute on the market. It is drowned in vinegar. Its too soft to cut, therefore acting as a spreadable cheese and when melted it almost turns to liquid, sliding right off the bread if you make grilled cheese. I have a wonderful ability to finish eating almost anything, no matter how bad it tastes, but I couldn’t finish this. Heated, cooled or cold the vinegar and the overall taste was unbearable to my palate. I advise sticking to Tofutti’s top quality cream cheese. Almost every health food shop stock their cream cheeses... but if you don’t want to take my word for it you can get some Tofutti Mozzarella Style Cheese substitute in the Field & Vine, Rathmines for €2.30 (note: I suspect, but cannot guarantee the “Mozzarella Style” cheese block to be Gluten Free).

- Dairy Free
- Lactose Free
- Casein Free
- Pareve
- Cholestrol Free
- GMO Free
- Vegan
- Vegetarian

Ingredients: water, palm oil, soy protein, stabiliser (carrageenan, guar and carob gum), maltodextrin, vinegar, corn starch, emulsifying salt (calcium phosphate, potassium phosphate), potato flakes, salt, adipic acid, soy lecithin, natural flavours, natural colours, preservative (potassium sorbate)


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Note: Rice Dream Cheese Singles seem wonderful in taste and melting capabilities but that is because they are NOT Dairy Free - they contain casein (milk protein).. you may well ask what is the point!?

Some Cheesy Alternatives if the above fail to impress:
- Cheeseless pizza is good if you get a thicker base and extra sauce
- Use mayonnaise mixed with fresh garlic on ciabatta bread - put it in the oven lathered thick and grill it
- Substitute nutritional yeast for parmesan on pasta
- Hummus is my main sandwich filler where cheese would normally reside
- Get into the kitchen and start inventing! There are nut based cheeses available in other countries or possibly available to purchase in Ireland via the internet but you can try making your own too! I made cashew cheese which turned out to be a nice substitute for a soft cheese spread.

7 comments:

Nork said...

Vegi Deli do a take on a soft substitute cheese coated in a sort of bread crumb. They look like chicken nuggets in shape and especially with the coating but taste extremely cheesily good, it reminds me of a fried brie starter that you would get in a restaurant. Sheese, well, frankly I hated the stuff. I do feel for people because out of all dairy products, cheese is the most missed. Sprinkling yeast flakes (a source of vitamin B12) gives a nice cheesy twang to food which might satisfy some palettes.

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

tell me more!! Vegi Deli you say?? they're related to cheezly right? where can does it hide out, i'm not sure i've ever seen it for sale in my usual haunts -aghast!

Nork said...

They were bought in Nourish in Santry, but I'm sorry I've no idea what the actual name is :(

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

Thanks!.. I'll get my hands on some soon as can be!

Sorcha said...

Where can I get these cheese substitutes? I live in Dublin and have never in my life come accross a cheese substitute and would love to try some.

Julie said...

I got a block of cheesy red cheddar dairy free in Nolan's food Fare in Terenure. I.m just about to try it now.

Rebeka Soares said...

Where else can i buy some of these cheeses? Name a few places please.