Alternative fats

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We don't want to create a vegan cheese protein, just to add non-vegan butter fat to it. Unless we want to make just fat-free cheese, what alternative fats could we use? For non-vegan comparison experiments we can use ghee, but for actual vegan cheese we need a milk-fat substitute. It may be hard to find a suitable vegan substitute. What are the important properties? We can probably assume that melting point (stability at room temperature) is an important factor. It may also be that interaction with caseins is important for micelle formation. This should be easy to test though.

Palm Mid Fraction Oil (PMF)

More info on the different types of palm oil.

Cocoa butter equivalents (CBE)

These are fats rich in symmetrical disaturated TAG (SUS) that behave like cocoa butter in all respects and are able to mix in all proportions with cocoa butter. The desirable charac- teristics of cocoa butter are due to the SUS TAG, which provide a suitable melting point and solid fat content, resulting in rapid melt in the mouth and cooling sensations. Palm mid-fraction (PMF), which has a high content of POP, is easily formulated with other SUS fats for chocolate products (Berger 1981). About 70–80% PMF with 20–30% shea or sal stearin, or 60–65% PMF with 20–30% shea or sal stearin and 15%–20% illipe, are suitable for plain chocolate and for milk chocolate with 15% milk fat. The compatibility of cocoa butter (CB) and CBE is affected by the addition of milk fat and its fractions into the product (Sabariah et al. 1998). Eutectic interactions between anhydrous milk fat (AMF), CBE and CB were noticeable due to the different polymorphism encountered in these fats. Cocoa butter-like fats can also be formulated with interesterified oils. Blends suitable for butter-cream fillings in biscuits may be formulated from palm stearin/palm kernel olein (25:75) or palm stearin/palm kernel olein/palm kernel oil (25:37.5:37.5) (Noor Lida et al. 1997).

- From Vegetable Oils in Food Technology - Composition, Properties and Uses

Cocoa butter

  • Melting point: 34 to 38C
  • Flavors may be a problem
  • Expensive

Shea butter

  • Melting point: 40 C ?
  • Cost: ?
  • Environmental concerns: ?
  • Need more research.


Coconut butter

  • Melting point: ~25C
  • Flavors may be a problem

Fully hydrogenated oils

We could change melting point of oils with hydrogenation. This isn't popular due mostly to concerns about trans fats, but trans fats should only be present in partially hydrogenated oils. It seems that these "bad" oils are not easy to buy in small quantities. It may just be that no-one advertises their product as "hydrogenated".

We probably can't hydrogenate oils ourselves, since it requires bubbling hydrogen through the oil at high temperatures in the presence of a metal catalyst :/