Sunday, 3 February 2019

My Quest to find the Perfect Dairy Free Cheese

So I am on a mission to bake the perfect dairy free cheese scone. Cheese scones are a family weakness. We just love them. My three year old especially adores them and they soon became our go to snack while on the go when he was younger. There are so many reasons why cheese scones are a fantastic snack for young children. On top of being utterly delicious, they:

- are easy and quick to make using ingredients you usually already have in your home.
- they don't squish or fall apart in a lunch box or sandwich bag so are easy to transport.
- they fit into little hands easily and do not slip out, so are perfect for eating on the go in a pushchair.
- they are rather filling as well as being super tasty when served either hot or cold.

Therefore, despite Matilda's milk allergy, I really wanted to find a way of making them for her. I decided the best way to start was to simply swap the dairy products in my usual family recipe for dairy alternatives. I swapped cows milk for Oatly whole and tried the Violife block instead of my normal cheddar cheese. Here are the results...

Although they passed the Matilda taste test, I wasn't 100% satisfied. They were a little drier than normal and the flavour was very mild. She was happy with them but I wanted something that had more flavour for her, especially as I hoped I could convince the dairy eaters in our household to switch over to the dairy free option. It just wouldn't do. I needed to try again.

I had read recommendations about Tesco's Free From Mature Cheddar having a good strong flavour so decided to give that a go in my next batch. I once again followed my family recipe, swapped the Violife cheese for the Tesco alternative and just increased the dairy free butter alternative by 10g. This time round the consistency was much better, they were not dry like the previous batch and they did smell very cheesy. Great I thought, this is it! Oh how wrong was I. They were hideous and tasted of sick. The Tesco Free From Mature Cheddar just did not work for this recipe. The last lot may have only had a delicate flavour but at least they were easily edible. I couldn't make it past one bite of these ones. The kids however, including my very opinionated three year old, enjoyed them. But despite the children enjoying them, I am just not satisfied.

Overall, the Violife gave a better taste but was just not strong enough to make it taste cheesy. Both cheeses even when grated finely, did not melt fully or blend in with the rest of the mixture, making it a little lumpy in places. My quest continues...

I may have only tried two different cheese alternatives so far and I am not ready to give up on my dream of the perfect dairy free cheese scone, but it has made me there really a good dairy free alternative to cheese?

Our dietician told us there wasn't and just to avoid them as they were all disgusting. But with the rise of veganism, there must be the perfect non-dairy cheese out there somewhere for us.

So I was wondering, have you found your perfect dairy free cheese? If so let me know!

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