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I have recently been making some quick vegan cheeses such as paneer and halloumi with similar methods to making the dairy version of these cheeses. The process I'm following is roughly:

  1. Blend softened/soaked nuts with water and strain to create a creamy plant milk.
  2. Bring milk to the boil, then immediately remove from heat and add coagulant (lemon, vinegar, etc.).
  3. Gather curds in cheese cloth and press/chill until firm enough.

That is typically followed by various types of brining/other cooking/etc. depending on the style of cheese.

The cheese has actually been coming out really well, but I feel lacks saltiness. I have tried things like covering in cheese salt for storage, brining, etc. but I find this hasn't really helped. I would like the actual cheese itself to be saltier. As I have only been using plant milk I'm not sure whether this lack of saltiness is something that also happens with dairy milk or not.

So how do I make my cheese saltier? Can I add a fine salt to the curds before pressing? Should I add salt to the milk before boiling (or will this hurt coagulation)? I'm not sure exactly where to start!

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    Step 2.5: Add salt. (?) Aug 18 at 20:28
  • @GregNickoloff - that's where I'm leaning also, but curious to know if that will disrupt the setting process/whether it will make the curds themselves saltier. Was hoping someone might know before I start doing tests! I hate when a batch of cheese doesn't work, because the food waste is unreal.
    – mfox
    Aug 18 at 23:07
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    mfox: based on experience with regular cheeses, adding salt before pressing the curds will cause the curds to shrink and give off more water, resulting in a denser cheese. Sometimes you want this; it's part of the cheddar making process, for example. But sometimes you don't.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 19 at 5:31
  • I'm also curious that brining isn't working for you. What's the salinity of the brine you're using?
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 19 at 5:32
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    You could make a batch and divide it into "sub-batches" processed with salt (or any other variable) at different stages, etc. potentially wasting only a portion of the total. Aug 19 at 13:03
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The primary way that cheesemakers create salty cheeses is brining. And cheese brine needs to be quite salty to be effective, as cheese, even vegan cheese, isn't that absorbent. The standard is a "fully saturated brine", which is roughly 22% salt (ignore the egg in that recipe, it's just a float test).

You might think that, for a less salty cheese, you'd use a less salty brine ... but that's not how it works. Instead, you control the saltiness by brining it for less time. If you use a less salty brine, you risk not having the cheese absorb salt at all.

So my advice is: make a fully saturated brine, and try brining your cheese for varying amounts of time up to three days.

You can also add salt to the curds before pressing; this is called milling the cheese, and is mainly used in making cheddar. While it does make the cheese saltier, the primary purpose of milling is to make the cheese denser and drier. Whether or not this would work for vegan cheese is an open question; I could not find any remarks about milling on any of the vegan cheese forums/blogs. So if you try milling, it will be an experiment (and you should publish it).

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  • Thank you for this! These terms are very useful to learn and I didn't realise just how salty a brine I should be aiming for. I am going to test all of these and will hopefully be able to publish something successful :)
    – mfox
    Aug 25 at 6:19
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    Happy to help! I'm interested in how much vegan cheesemaking is becoming like dairy cheesemaking.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 25 at 16:32
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    FYI, fully saturated brine is sterile due to the salinity. So it's customary for cheese makers to re-use it multiple times before tossing it. It's also good for de-icing your driveway.
    – FuzzyChef
    Aug 25 at 16:35

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