Malmo University professor and researcher Marité Cárdenas is on a mission to ‘radically improve’ vegan cheese by creating the ‘perfect milk’ for cheese making.
While vegan cheese has improved considerably in the past few years, it is still not yet identical to cows milk cheese.
Cheese is literally addictive because it contains caseins, the function of which is to make the baby calf keep drinking its mother’s milk. Therefore, many people really struggle to give up cheese and go vegan.
What Marité Cárdenas plans to do is use her knowledge and experience as a chemist to formulate milk from plant-based proteins which mimic those found in cows milk, which would allow vegan cheesemakers to more closely mimic cows milk cheese.
Moreover, Cárdenas intends to make vegan cheese more nutritious by adding vitamins and minerals which aren’t naturally found in a vegan diet.
‘Find ways to be more sustainable’
“There are a lot of dairy products, which of course are produced from milk, and milk is a difficult material to mimic. So the idea is to work out how to mimic it so we can produce dairy products that are plant-based.
“I realise that there is a growing concern in the world, so we need to find ways to be more sustainable. Cheese is a very important food — it certainly is on my table — and if you want to eat the vegan cheese which is currently available in the supermarkets, you might be disappointed.
“The current vegan options are not really mimicking dairy cheese production, they are doing something completely different and that is because there is a great technological limitation.
“If we are going to make it from scratch, we don’t need to do it the way nature does it. Nature designed milk because it needed the milk, it didn’t need cheese!” said Cárdenas.
If Cárdenas succeeds, she could revolutionise the vegan cheese industry, and in turn, encourage many more people to try a vegan diet.
Fancy giving it a go yourself?
Here are 23 of the best-ever vegan cheese recipes you can try at home.