Is cheese dairy free, it's a simple question and it has two answers. no it is not and also, yes it is.
We apologise, thats a little confusing, what do we mean by this? Is every cheese available in the world both dairy free and not dairy free.
No, that is not what we are saying, here we are saying that some cheeses are dairy free and other options are not dairy free and contain dairy.
How to know if cheese is dairy-free or not?
If a cheese has been made with animal input, such as cows milk, it will be a dairy cheese.
If a cheese has been made without animal-input, such as with plant milks like sunflower seeds, beans or nuts, it is a dairy free cheese.
Here at vegancheese.co we talk mostly about the dairy-free cheeses available, the industry and how to make them and where to buy them.
Below we ellaborate more on this.
What Is Dairy Cheese
Cheese from animals, such as cows milk is not dairy free and these are the cheeses you are most likely to encounter on supermarket shelves and most abundant in stores.
Dairy is limited to that of animal products, such as dairy milk, dairy cheese and dairy based yoghurt. Because dairy milk is used to make dairy cheese, it means that cheese made with animals is not dairy free.
If you were to look at the definition of dairy, you would find this: "any foods made from the milk products of animals, or produced in the mammary glands."
To understand how animal based cheese is made and why it is not dairy free, we need to understand how dairy cheese is made.
How is Dairy Cheese Made
There are a few simple steps to how dairy cheese is made, first it depends on the type of milk the cheese is made from.
If we use a cow as an example, cows milk is popular with dairy cheese and to create the milk, a female cow needs to be lactating, which means that they are forcibly impregnated either through artificial insemination or with the use of a bull.
A cow needs to be pregnant, go through its 9 month gestation period and produce a baby calf so that it will start to lactate and provide milk for it's newborn calf.
But because humans want to use that milk which is meant for that calf, the calf is immediately (usually within a few hours) removed from the mother so that the cow can be milked and the milk be bottled for human consumption and the creation of dairy cheese.
This milk that we have taken from the calf (the calf has more than likely been killed, especially if it's male and useless to the dairy industry), and used to make dairy cheese is what makes dairy cheeses you see in supermarkets, markets, cheese mongers and stores around the world.
What is Dairy Free Cheese
But cheese can be also dairy free, when it is not made from an animal, instead, when it is made from plants or is lab-grown.
The great thing is that there are alternatives, plant based milks can be used, lab-grown cheese is being made and vegan cheese is 100% dairy free because it is made without the input of animals.
But things are changing and more and more people are demanding dairy-free cheese due to a number of factors.
Ethical reasons are the primary motive for swapping out dairy cheese for plant-based vegan cheese.
Vegan cheese is better for the environment than dairy cheese and milk.
And some change to a whole food plant based diet to improve their health and stop eating dairy products.
Are You Lactose Intolerant
One of the reasons you may be looking for dairy free cheese is because you are lactose intolerant.
If this is so and dairy cheese is affecting how you feel in a negative way, you have so many other options that are created and made peacefully with plants.
Instead of dairy milk, which contains the lactose that you may be having issues with, dairy-free cheeses are made with soy milk, almond milk, cashew milk, rice milk and many other plant based milk options.
Where to Find Dairy Free Cheeses
Now you know that most supermarket and shop sold cheeses are made with dairy, you can find and select the cheeses that are not made with dairy and this is where we can help.
We have been building the largest database of dairy free cheese on the internet here at vegan cheese. Currently there are almost 2000 dairy free cheeses to find on the web tool, just head on over, select the country you live in and see what options you have.
You will find that most countries have at least a few hundred dairy-free cheeses for you to explore! So if you are looking for dairy-free cheese you definitely don't have to go without.