"Real" Vegan Cheese is an Edible Oxymoron

By Gerald Lynch on at

Can cheese made without milk really be classified as "real" cheese? A group of self-proclaimed "biohackers" from San Francisco believe it can be, and are ready to put your money where their mouths are.

The team make synthetic cheeses with baker's yeast. Building milk proteins from genetic sequences found in mammals, these proteins are then inserted into the baker's yeast, building the cheese. As animal produce isn't required to make the cheese, it's totally fine to put on a vegan menu and, best of all, it apparently tastes just like the real thing.

Things veer a little towards the weird however, with the biohackers also working with human milk proteins, developing cheeses made through their insertion. As gross as that may sound, it's thought that cheeses made from proteins found in our own species could ease allergic reactions that some people have to dairy products.

A little over $15,600 (£9,261) has been raised through Indiegogo to fund the research, smashing through the team's $15,000 target with a whole month to spare. With the money raised, the next step is to develop cheeses based on four different yeast types, before collecting the findings in a public wiki. [Indiegogo]

Image Credit: Piece of cheese on wooden table from Shutterstock.com