A group of scientists in Oakland, California is creating what they call the world’s first vegan cheese. But wait, you say, there is already a lot of vegan cheese on the market. The problem with those, according to the team from California based bio-hackers Counter Culture Labs and Biocurious, is that they don’t really taste like cheese. Current vegan cheese is soy or nut based but the cheese being developed in the California labs will be made with actual dairy protein. Or at least the closest thing to actual dairy protein you can get without squeezing the udder of a cow. The scientists take milk proteins from a cow’s DNA then implant them into everyday baker’s yeast. The result is that the yeast, when combined with sugar, water and vegetable butter, functions the same way that milk does in the cheese making process. You can see the process in their video and it’s pretty cool.
It’s still in the experimental stages, so it’s not hitting shelves soon, but as a high-level reward in their crowd-funding campaign you can learn how to make your own cheese making yeast and taste their ongoing experiments. They have also promised some more adventurous cheeses. If they raise another few thousand dollars they will take DNA from a Narwhal and make whale cheese. Forget camel milk and donkey cheese, that is something we want to try.
If this all still feels questionable to you, keep in mind that there has also been recent progress being made in the artisanal nut-based cheese front.