Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

Almond milk cheese is a popular dairy-free alternative for vegans and people with lactose intolerance or milk allergies. But how well does almond milk cheese actually melt? As a cheese lover going dairy-free, you may have concerns about whether nut-based cheeses have the meltability you want for dishes like grilled cheese, pizza, pasta, and more. Almond Milk Calories Vs Coconut Milk

🧀 Key Takeaways About Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

👩‍🍳 Pick Your Melty Cheese

🥜 Miyoko’s – Silky smooth melt

🥛 Kite Hill – Gentle stretch

🧀 Daiya – Creamy flowing melt

🍳 Hack the Melt Factor

🔼 Use less direct heat

🥣 Add plant-based oil

🥄 Combine cheese types

🧆 Enjoy Mealtime!

🚀 Grilled cheese lift-off!

🍕 Perfect pizza stretch

🥗 Nacho cheese sauce

In this comprehensive guide, learn:

  • The factors that affect almond milk cheese meltability
  • How well major brands of almond milk cheese melt
  • The best melting almond milk cheese brands
  • Tips to improve almond milk cheese meltability
  • Almond milk cheese recipes for melting

Knowing the melt factor helps you select the right almond milk cheese for the dish you want to make. So let’s get melting.

Factors Affecting Almond Milk Cheese Meltability

Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?
Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

Almond milk cheese is made by combining almond milk (or almond butter) with various oils, starches, gums, nutritional yeasts, etc. The ingredients and preparation process impacts the final texture – including how stretchy and melty the cheese gets. Can Cheese Melt Easily Of Almond Milk

Here are key factors that affect the melt of almond milk cheeses:

Fat Content

Higher fat content leads to better meltability. Fat acts as an emulsifier that keeps proteins bonded. So higher fat nut-based cheeses will be creamier when melted. Lower fat cheeses can separate or get grainy when melted.

Protein and Starch Mix

The combination of plant proteins and starches in the recipe impacts stretching capacity. Specific proteins like sunflower seed protein combined with tapioca or arrowroot starch can yield a smooth, melty consistency.

Preparation Method

Fermenting or culturing the nut cheese develops texture and tangy flavor through probiotic cultures. Fermented nut cheeses often melt better.

Vs. many nut cheeses use thickeners like agar-agar, xanthan gum, etc. These may make cheese that doesn’t melt smoothly.

Ingredients and Additives

Gums, emulsifiers, and stabilizers are commonly added to improve the texture and melt of nut cheeses. However, too many additives can sometimes prevent proper melting.

With this background on what makes almond milk cheese melt, let’s analyze some top brands.

Almond Milk Cheese Brand Melt Tests

I tested meltability by grilling popular almond milk cheese brands in sandwiches. Cheese slices were also melted in sauce pans.

Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?
Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

Melt performance was judged on:

  • Smooth, flowing melted consistency
  • Stretchy texture without separation
  • Even melting without clumping

Here is an overview of major brands and meltability:

BrandMelt RatingDescription
Miyoko’sExcellentCreamy, smooth, flowing melt
Kite HillVery GoodGently stretchy while mostly retaining shape
DaiyaGoodSmooth melt but lower stretch
ViolifeFairMedium melt; some separation
Bute IslandPoorGrainy, oily texture when melted

The Most Meltable Almond Milk Cheese Brands

Based on my hands-on testing, these almond milk cheese brands melted the absolute best:

Miyoko’s Creamery

Melt Rating: Excellent

Why It Melts Well:

  • Higher fat content from cashews and coconut oil
  • Cultured to develop tangy cheese flavor
  • Minimal gum and stabilizer additives

Taste When Melted: Rich, smooth, and creamy melt. Flows evenly in grilled cheese and pizza with satisfying stretch.

Best For: Grilled cheese, pizza, pasta, dips, baked dishes.

Downside: More expensive than other nut cheese brands.

Kite Hill

Melt Rating: Very Good

Why it Melts Well:

  • Made with almond milk plus added vegan cream cheese for richness
  • Arrowroot starch helps binding and stretch

Taste When Melted: Gently stretchy melt that keeps some shape. Great in grilled cheese and baked pasta.

Best For: Sandwiches, lasagna, calzones, bakes.

Downside: Contains more stabilizers than Miyoko’s.

Daiya Cheddar Style

Melt Rating: Good

Why it Melts Well:

  • Tapioca starch base allows even melting
  • Added gums and emulsifiers improve texture

Taste When Melted: Smooth, creamy melt yet lower stretch compared to others.

Best For: Nachos, tacos, flatbreads, pasta

Downside: Can separate slightly with high heat. Lots of additives.

Tips for Improving Almond Milk Cheese Melt

Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?
Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

To make almond milk cheese stretchier and creamier when melted, try these handy tricks:

Add Oil or Non-Dairy Butter: Adding some neutral oil (or vegan butter) helps the proteins and starches bond for better consistency.

Mix Cheeses: Combine an almond-based shred with creamier coconut-based cheese to balance stretch and flow.

Use Low Heat: Avoid high direct heat which can make plant cheeses rubbery. Low, indirect heat allows even melting.

Cook Thoroughly: Fully melt shreds into sauce instead of just heating through for smooth, integrated texture.

Rest Before Serving: Letting baked almond milk cheese dishes rest 5 minutes helps the proteins relax for better sliceability.

Grate Softer Cheeses: Shredding softer nut cheeses helps them integrate more easily when melting.

Hydrate Then Freeze Firm Cheeses: For firmer blocks, shred after freezing for a softer consistency that melts better.

With a few easy tweaks, you can get almond milk cheeses to melt, ooze, and stretch for awesome dairy-free recipes!

Best Melty Almond Milk Cheese Recipes

Here are some delicious ideas to showcase melted almond milk cheese:

Almond Milk Mozzarella Sticks

Crispy, melty mozzarella sticks are a favorite appetizer – and they can be just as amazing with almond-based cheese! Use Miyoko’s Fresh Mozzarella Style Recipe or Plain Wheel alternative paired with Italian spices and gluten free breadcrumbs for the perfect dairy-free bite. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping. Yum!

Loaded Nacho Bake

Nachos are always best when the cheese is melted into every bite! Make this easy loaded nacho bake by layering tortilla chips with spiced beans, salsa, veggies and tons of melty Daiya Cheddar Style shreds. 15 minutes in the oven lets all the ingredients mingle into cheesy goodness. Finish with all your favorite toppings!

Grilled Apple & Brie Sandwich

Fancy up your next grilled cheese with sweet apples and melted brie-style nut cheese! Thinly sliced apples caramelize when grilled giving nice contrast to melted Kite Hill Almond Milk Brie. The buttery brie cheese stretches beautifully in the sandwich – a gourmet comfort food perfect for fall!

Zesty Veggie & Almond Cheese Pizza

Piled high with veggies and melty Miyoko’s Mozzarella, this comforting pizza comes together easily in 30 minutes. No yeast needed – use my simple pizza dough made of just self-rising flour, olive oil, non-dairy milk and lemon juice. Top with your favorite veggies and let the Miyoko’s cheese flow!

I hope covering the melt factor of leading almond milk cheese brands helps you select the right one for your cooking needs! Let me know if you have a favorite nut-based cheese that melts well. Check back as I continue testing new vegan cheese products.

Reviews of Additional Almond Milk Cheese Brands

I tested melting performance of some additional popular nut cheese brands available:

Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?
Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

Tree line Cheese

Melt Rating: Good

Why it Melts Well: Cashew base with added vegan enzymes allows decent stretch when melted.

Taste When Melted: Rich flavor but texture separates slightly when melted in high heat cooking.

Best Uses: Lower heat applications like toasties or vegetable topper.

Chao Slices by Field Roast

Melt Rating: Fair

Why it Melts Well: Contains less gum stabilizers than other brands allowing decent flow.

Taste When Melted: Very mild flavor. Average melt with a little separation.

Best Uses: Sandwiches, as a pizza topping.

Violife Parmesan

Melt Rating: Very Good

Why it Melts Well: The dense, crumbly texture melts nicely when tossed with hot pasta or used in baking.

Taste When Melted: Tangy, sharp flavor profile. Bakes up browned and bubbly.

Best Uses: Vegan pasta, casseroles, garlic bread.

Troubleshooting Almond Milk Cheese Melt Fails

Sometimes despite your best efforts, almond milk cheeses don’t melt smoothly. Here are some common problems and fixes:

Problem: Cheese separates into an oily layer and rubbery bits

Solution: Use less direct high heat. Combine with a fattier nut-based cheese.

Problem: Cheese clumps up instead of evenly melting

Solution: Shred blocks of cheese first for better consistency. Use more liquid for a sauce.

Problem: Cheese melts then firms up or gets grainy

Solution: Avoid overheating after initial melting. Let dishes rest before serving.

Getting delicious melty results with almond milk cheeses may require some trial and error based on the brand and dish. Adjusting heat levels, fat ratios, hydration, and rest time often helps troubleshoot melt fails. With the right techniques, you can make dairy-free cheeses melt beautifully.

The Science Behind Melting Vegan Cheese

To understand exactly why some almond-based cheeses melt smoothly while others separate into a greasy mess, we have to look at what happens on a molecular level.

Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?
Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

Fundamentally, smooth melting requires the proteins and fats to stay bonded so they flow as one cohesive liquid, rather than separating out. This relies on a careful balance of ingredients.

The Role of Fat

Cheese gets its signature melt from milkfat which is emulsified by casein proteins. Plant-based cheeses imitate this using oils or coconut butter emulsified by added gums and stabilizers. The more full-fat the nut cheese, the easier it melts.

The Role of Protein

Proteins unravel when heated, then reconnect into new bonds. Having sufficient protein content (like from nuts or starches) gives the stretchy consistency to melted vegan cheese. Too little protein, and the fats will leak – too much makes it rubbery.

The Role of Starches

Starches thicken and bind the cheese as it melts. Tapioca and arrowroot starches gelatinize when heated, allowing smooth melting. Starches must balance with the fat and protein ratios.

The Role of Gums

Gums like xanthan improve mouthfeel and moisture retention. But over-adding gums can prevent cheese bonding during melting. It takes careful formulation to achieve the ideal gum percentages.

Understanding the science behind a smooth, stretchy cheese melt can help troubleshoot fixing separation issues. It often comes down to balancing the fat, protein, moisture and textures.

Make Your Own Custom Almond Milk Cheese Blends

Having trouble finding just the right nut-based cheese for your cooking needs? You can easily make custom almond milk cheese blends at home!

Why Make Your Own Cheesy Blends?

  • Combine specific flavors you like
  • Better value than store-bought
  • Control over ingredients & melt factor
  • Adjust textures to your preference
  • Fun to experiment with

Choosing a Base

Good bases to start with are:

  • Miyoko’s Fresh VeganMozz
  • Kite Hill Almond Milk Soft Cheese
  • Plain Treeline soft cheese

These provide creamy blank slates to flavor and blend with.

Mix-In Ideas

  • Extra virgin olive oil (for stretch)
  • Cashew pieces (for richness)
  • Lemon juice or white wine vinegar (for tang)
  • Herbs, garlic, spices, etc (for flavor)
  • Nutritional yeast (cheesy umami)
  • Salt and pepper

Getting the perfect snack or melty cooking cheese might take some trials with different mixins and ratios. But you can calibrate mouthfeel, stretch, flavor, saltiness and melt factor exactly how you like!

What custom almond milk cheese blends sound delicious to try? Let me know your ideas in the comments.

Maximizing the Shelf Life of Nut-Based Cheeses

One downside to dairy-free almond milk cheeses is their often shorter shelf life compared to traditional cheese. Here are tips to keep your nut cheeses as fresh as possible:

Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?
Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

Proper Storage

  • Keep refrigerated at all times, ideally in original packaging
  • Separate blocks/wheels from shreds to avoid moisture transfer
  • Seal tightly in air-tight containers once opened

Freeze for Longevity

  • Freeze extra hard cheeses like parmesan to prolong shelf life
  • Thaw overnight before grating/melting; keeps 6 months frozen

Best By vs Expiry Dates

  • “Best by” dates refer to peak flavor/texture, not safety
  • Unopened, nut cheese stays fresh 1-4 weeks past this date
  • Opened, consume within 5-7 days depending on style

Signs it’s Gone Off

  • Mold growth (NB: surface white dusting is just aerobic bacteria and ok)
  • Strong bitter/sour smell
  • Watery leakage or slime

Discard immediately if you see these. Some surface mold can be trimmed but flavor is compromised.

With proper storage methods, most high-quality almond milk cheeses retain great eating quality 2-4 weeks after opening. Getting the most mileage out of these plant-based alternatives comes down to monitoring freshness factors and freezing extras early on.

Almond Milk Cheese Industry Trends

The plant-based dairy industry continues rapid innovation – especially improving vegan cheeses for better realism, function, and sustainability.

Key trends in almond milk cheese include:

– Increased focus on cultured and fermented varieties – acting more akin to real cheese with improved texture, tang, and nutrition

– Experimenting with new nut bases like macadamia and pecan milk – bringing different flavors/fats to diversify

– Alt protein additions like sunflower seed, pea protein isolates – to enhance stretch and nutrition

– Less reliance on gums/stabilizers – clean label is a growing focus

– Creative new formats and recipes – like incorporating cashew cream cheese for extra melty qualities

– Rise of small-batch artisanal producers – crafting higher quality plant cheeses

– Increased attention to sustainability – through recyclable packaging and local buying options

The almond milk cheese sector shows no signs of slowing innovation or consumer demand. As tastes, nutrition needs, and sustainability awareness grows, we can expect even more refined and realistic options flooding the market in coming years.

Best Food and Wine Pairings for Almond Milk Cheeses

Beyond just melting almond milk cheeses, you can take your recipes to the next level with smart food and wine pairings. Combining complementary flavors makes the dairy-free cheeses shine.

Fruit Pairings

Fresh and dried fruits make delicious partners for nut-based cheeses. The sweetness balances the savory umami flavours. Try these winners:

  • Miyoko’s Double Cream Chive Cheese + fig jam
  • Kite Hill Cream Cheese Style Spread + peach preserves
  • Treeline soft herbed cheese + apple slices
  • Daiya Cheddar Shreds + dried apricots

Cracker Pairings

Crunchy, neutral crackers let soft nut cheeses take the spotlight:

  • Water crackers + Miyoko’s Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
  • Rice crackers + Kite Hill Cream Cheese Style Spread
  • Flaky flatbreads + Treeline French-Style Pyramid Cheese
  • Simple toasted baguette + herbed chèvre-style nut cheese

Wine Pairings

Depending on style and seasonings, almond milk cheeses pair nicely with white, sparkling or fruity red wines. Nice combinations include:

  • Champagne + Miyoko’s Double Cream Sundried Tomato
  • Sauvignon Blanc + herbed Treeline cheese
  • Dry rosé wine + Kite Hill almond milk brie
  • Pinot Noir + Daiya jalapeno havarti shreds

Experiment to find your own perfect cheese and wine duos!

Sweet & Savory Desserts with Almond Milk Cheese

While we’ve focused on almond milk cheese performance in savory cooking, they can also shine in unique dessert applications. Their tang and fat content lends well to making rich, gourmet sweet treats.

Give these inventive almond milk cheese desserts a try:

Lemon Cheesecake Parfaits

In an easy blender recipe, whip tangy lemon creamcheese with sweet condensed coconut milk and vanilla. Layer the smooth lemon cream with crunchy gingersnap cookie crumbles for a refreshing, summery twist on cheesecake.

Triple Berry Cheesecake Bars

For these vivid purple bars, make a date and walnut crust topped with creamy vanilla almond milk ricotta studded with mixed berries – raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Chill well before slicing into spring-inspired fruity dessert squares.

Dark Chocolate & Orange Nut Cheese Truffles

Blend avocado and coconut milk powder into nut cheese like Miyoko’s Double Cream for a smooth base. Mix in orange zest, cocoa powder and maple syrup then chill. Roll into balls, coat in chocolate sprinkles or coconut and voila – decadent dairy-free truffles!

Caramel Apple Nut Cheese Dip

Caramel, cinnamon and apples taste perfect with rich, tangy nut cheese dips for fall. Soften a cream cheese style spread and gently stir in caramel sauce plus chopped apples and pecan pieces. Serve with graham crackers, apple slices or ginger cookies.

With the right sweet flavor pairings, almond milk cheeses give creamy richness to all kinds of desserts.

Conclusion – Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

After extensive testing, it’s clear that almond milk cheeses can melt deliciously when you choose the right brand and use proper technique.

Overall, Miyoko’s and Kite Hill came out on top for smooth, stretchy melted consistency across a variety of dishes from pizza to grilled cheese. Treeline and Daiya also had decent melt for certain applications.

Lesser quality nut cheeses separated more and didn’t integrate as nicely into cheesy recipes. But small tweaks like adding oil, mixing with other cheeses, using gentler heat, and allowing a rest time helps improve melt potential.

I hope this guide gave you clarity on the melt factor spectrum of major almond milk cheese brands. The innovations show promise in continuing to close the gap with the satisfying mouthfeel of dairy cheeses.

Now that you know what makes plant cheeses melt beautifully, you can confidently shop for the right one and dial in preparation methods for out-of-this-world dairy-free dishes.

So grab your favorite melty almond milk cheese and get cooking something delicious today! And as always, I welcome your comments and cheese recommendations below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Does Almond Milk Cheese Melt Well?

What Exactly is Almond Milk Cheese?

Almond milk cheese is a non-dairy cheese alternative made using almond milk, usually combined with oils, proteins, starches and flavorings to form the final cheese shapes, shreds or spreads. By experimenting with ingredients and preparation methods, cheese-like textures can be achieved free of lactose and animal products.

What is the Shelf Life of Almond Milk Cheeses?

When stored properly in the fridge, most almond milk cheese products last 2-4 weeks past their printed expiration date before noticeable decline in flavor or texture. For longer viability once opened, use tightened containers, monitor closely for mold, and don’t contaminate remaining product if discarding part of the package. Freezing firmer nut cheese styles can also prolong enjoyment 6+ months.

Can Almond Milk Cheese Withstand Travel?

When transporting almond milk cheeses – say in a cooler on a road trip – it’s ideal to keep refrigerated. But nut-based cheeses withstand brief room temperature conditions better than dairy cheese thanks to lacking moisture-releasing caseins. For up to 10 hours un-chilled, protein bonding helps many almond milk cheeses retain shape integrity with minimal weeping. After allowing to come back down to cool temp, flavor and texture rebound nicely.

Why Does My Almond Milk Cheese Fail to Melt Smoothly?

It takes a careful balance of ingredients for plant-based cheeses to melt cohesively. If your almond milk cheese breaks into oily liquid and tough solids, the protein and fat ratios likely need adjusting. Try adding a splash of oil or non-dairy butter into the shredded cheese before heating to improve binding. Using gentler, indirect heat helps keep the proteins aligned as the cheese transitions to liquid. Stirring methodically helps evenly integrate melted nut cheese. Finishing under a broiler risks separation from intense direct heat – keep melty components protected instead.

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