Plant-Based Cheese

Finding the stretch in plant-based cheese

Plant-based cheese has steadily made its way to the mainstream supermarket shelves. Both dairy companies and food manufacturers are striving to create the best plant-based alternatives to traditional cheeses made from animal milk. Manufacturing plant-based alternatives that match the properties of traditional cheeses and meet high consumer demands is challenging. This is where KMC expertise and experience come into play.

Written by KMC
News

Brande, Denmark 26.06.2024

KMC has been a key supplier of potato starch to producers of cheese and cheese alternatives worldwide for the past few decades. With years of experience, KMC has mastered the art of replacing some or all milk proteins with potato starch without compromising taste, mouthfeel, and texture. The company’s products are found in a wide range of items, from melty pizza cheese alternatives to foil-wrapped spreadable products.

Lærke Hansen, Senior Application Specialist at KMC, explains, “As a company, we have increased our plant-based focus and refined our solutions over the last few years. This development has allowed us to create high-quality cheese alternatives tailored to the specific needs of our customers – without using any animal ingredients at all.”

The plant-based alternatives are based on potato starch and plant-based proteins. Depending on the cheese’s purpose, the starch is modified to meet the customer’s demands. However, replicating certain qualities of traditional cheese in plant-based versions presents its own unique challenges. One specific challenge is creating the right stringy texture for plant-based pizza cheese alternatives.

Lærke Hansen elaborates: “Shredded cheese makes a perfect topping for foods such as pizza and lasagna. Pizza cheese is usually associated with stretchy mozzarella, and in the plant-based version, it’s essential to find the right texture and meltability to make the perfect pizza cheese.”

Formulating a new recipe for any kind of cheese can take months to years, and developing a plant-based pizza cheese with the right amount of stretch has been particularly challenging across the industry. Until now.

“With the new CheeseMaker CF66, we have managed to develop a starch that can provide the sought-after stretch in plant-based pizza cheese,” Lærke announces. “The starch is a combination of modified potato starches, thus obtaining the stretching texture and perfect meltability that has been difficult to achieve in plant-based pizza cheese.”

When manufacturing plant-based pizza cheese with the CheeseMaker CF66 starch, it needs to be produced in a high-speed mixer. The starch is dosed in 15-28 % and the same simple process as in any other KMC CheeseMaker recipe is followed: Add the ingredients, mix until homogeneous, heat, then cool down until solid.

Lærke explains further: “This new stretchy cheese can be made with and without plant protein, and it is possible to choose any plant protein you desire, be it chickpea, pea, lentil, fava, soy, potato, or other types. It can be made with both flour, concentrate, isolates and hydrolyzed plant protein. Plant drinks can also be used,” and continues:

 “Cheese products made with CF66 can be shredded and used as toppings, creating a nice, thick melt that stretches (up to 20 cm / 7.88'') in a temperature range from 80-20°C / 176-68°F.”

Like other CheeseMaker solutions, the CF66 is not only for plant-based solutions but can also be used in hybrid solutions where dairy products or ingredients are part of the mix.

KMC’s commitment to innovation in plant-based cheese helps overcome the challenges of replicating traditional cheese properties, and the new CheeseMaker CF66 is a significant step in this journey. The company’s expertise in using potato starch as an ingredient to develop high-quality, dairy-free cheese alternatives is continuously paving the way for more sustainable and appealing options for consumers. As the demand for plant-based alternatives continues to grow, KMC is at the forefront of delivering solutions that align with both health and sustainability goals.

 

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