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How do you make vegetarian parmesan cheese?

a white plate topped with a sandwich covered in avocado

How do you make vegetarian parmesan cheese?

Vegetarian parmesan cheese is a popular alternative for those who follow a vegetarian diet or are looking to reduce their consumption of animal products. While traditional parmesan cheese is made with animal rennet, vegetarian parmesan cheese is made using vegetarian-friendly ingredients. In this article, we will explore the process of making vegetarian parmesan cheese and the ingredients involved.

The Ingredients

The key ingredients used in making vegetarian parmesan cheese are:

  • Cow’s milk or plant-based milk: The base of parmesan cheese is milk. Traditional parmesan cheese is made with cow’s milk, but for a vegetarian version, you can use plant-based milk such as almond milk or soy milk.
  • Citric acid or lemon juice: To curdle the milk and separate the curds from the whey, you will need an acid. Citric acid or lemon juice can be used as a vegetarian-friendly alternative to animal rennet.
  • Salt: Salt is an essential ingredient in cheese-making as it enhances the flavor and helps preserve the cheese.
  • Nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast is often added to vegetarian parmesan cheese to give it a cheesy and nutty flavor.

The Process

The process of making vegetarian parmesan cheese involves several steps:

1. Heating the milk

Start by heating the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. You can use cow’s milk or plant-based milk, depending on your preference. Heat the milk until it reaches a temperature of around 180°F (82°C).

2. Adding the acid

Once the milk is heated, add the citric acid or lemon juice to the saucepan. Stir gently to distribute the acid evenly. The acid will cause the milk to curdle, separating it into curds and whey.

3. Straining the curds

After adding the acid, let the milk sit undisturbed for about 10 minutes. During this time, the curds will form. Line a colander with cheesecloth and place it over a bowl. Carefully pour the curdled milk into the colander, allowing the whey to drain away. The curds that remain in the cheesecloth are the base of your vegetarian parmesan cheese.

4. Pressing the curds

To remove excess moisture and shape the cheese, you need to press the curds. Gather the corners of the cheesecloth and twist them together to form a bundle. Place a weight on top of the bundle, such as a heavy pot or a cheese press, and let it sit for several hours. The longer you press the curds, the firmer the cheese will become.

5. Salting and aging

Once the curds have been pressed, unwrap the cheese and sprinkle it with salt. Rub the salt into the surface of the cheese to evenly distribute it. At this point, you can choose to age the cheese for a more authentic parmesan flavor. Place the cheese in a cool, dry place and let it age for at least a week. The longer you age it, the sharper and more flavorful it will become.

Usage and Storage

Vegetarian parmesan cheese can be used in a variety of dishes, just like traditional parmesan cheese. It can be grated over pasta, salads, or soups, or used as a topping for pizzas and casseroles. Store the cheese in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. It will typically last for a few weeks.

Conclusion

Making vegetarian parmesan cheese is a simple process that allows individuals to enjoy the flavors and textures of parmesan while adhering to a vegetarian lifestyle. By using plant-based milk and vegetarian-friendly ingredients, you can create a delicious and versatile cheese that can be used in various dishes. So, why not give it a try and explore the world of vegetarian parmesan cheese?