Review: Teese Vegan Cheese

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teese-vb When I heard all of the initial buzz surrounding Chicago Soy Dairy’s new vegan cheese, I was excited to try it out.  They’d posted some intriguing video showing how it melted versus Follow Your Heart’s cheese and given the mediocre competition, I figured Teese to be the new frontrunner in vegan cheeses.

The folks at Chicago Soy Dairy were kind enough to send along a log of Teese for me to try out.  And so I did.

My wife and I tried Teese in a few different settings.  We had it on top of meatball subs, on a pizza, and plain, on crackers.  Teese tasted decent enough by itself on crackers.  It wasn’t a perfect replication of dairy cheese, but is probably the closest to mozzarella that I’ve tasted soy cheese get.  The real test, though was in the melting.

When vegans gather, it’s inevitable that they joke about Follow Your Heart’s not-really-bold claim on their packaging that “It melts!”  Teese is supposed to pick up where Follow Your Heart left off and melt more like dairy cheese.  From all accounts I’ve seen, it does indeed melt quite well in commercial settings on pizza.  In our kitchen, though, we had a little less luck.  In fact, it melted pretty much like Follow Your Heart.  Certain parts melted really well while others looked like they weren’t even in the oven.  I suspect that commercial kitchens have ovens that heat a little more evenly.

Melting issues aside (besides, others have had more luck), they did make darn good tasting meatball subs and I’ve tried lobbying local pizzerias (unsuccessfully, so far) to start offering Teese pizzas based on the success at home.  A Teese pizza might just be good enough to win over those straggling lacto-ovos.

Where Teese really wins, though, is price.  Sheese and Cheezly are still crazy expensive (and pretty awesome), costing over a dollar per ounce.  Teese, per ounce, is the same price as Follow Your Heart’s cheese, about 47 cents per.  (I won’t even bring up Veganrella, because I’m not entirely sure it’s actually meant to be eaten.)  Availability isn’t nearly as widespread as Follow Your Heart, but if it ever reaches the level of their Temptation Ice Cream, they’ll be in good shape.

We haven’t reached the promised land of perfect vegan cheese yet, but we’re edging ever closer thanks to products like Teese.

24 Responses to “Review: Teese Vegan Cheese”

  1. Erica

    Teese is great and there are few places in the DC area that sell, including Sticky Fingers Bakery (where you can get food made with Teese or buy Teese to take home with you) and Moroni & Brothers Pizzeria, which started serving vegan cheese pizza a few months ago.

    Check it out at http://www.VegDC.com!

  2. Marcy

    ha ha. it’s so true. veganrella scares me. (i use tofutti singles instead, esp as they’re the only stuff i can find in stores that i can eat cold and it still tastes good. i.e. ok for sandwiches)

  3. Alice

    Encouraging! As to Veganrella – perhaps it’s actually insulation in disguise?!! :D

  4. vegeater

    In my time in the natural foods industry, I have met the Chicago Soy Dairy guys, and they are quite nice. So you’re not giving your money to jerks *smile*.

  5. ozu

    Tease makes a great addition to red sauce. I cut it up in small pieces and it does take longer than real cheese to melt, but it really does melt and blends smoothly with the tomato to make a really nice rich sauce.

    I also like it on hero sandwiches with Yves salami. I broil it in a toaster oven since the broiler in my regular oven burns the bread before it melts the Tease.

    The Whole Foods in my neighborhood sells vegan pizzas with Tease which thrills me to no end. They use a big wood-burning brick oven which I guess is so hot it melts the Tease thoroughly. It seems to have a different texture once it’s been melted and cooled. I don’t like to eat Tease on crackers, it’s too rubbery, Cheezly cheddar is better cold but Tease is by far my favorite vegan cheese.

  6. vegoftheweek

    It’s best to remember to let it get really cold before working with it. Since it doesn’t have to be refridgerated under 85 degrees, it could arrive a little softer than usual. I think allowing it to cool and solidify before using it helps it melt more evenly.

  7. Cassidy Anne

    I have a question for someone who will answer. In cheese, I am under the impression that as long as the cheese does not have ‘rennet’ in it, it is vegan. Is that correct? Sorry, I am an new vegan and cheese is the only item that I have left to tackle in order to really be vegan. Are there other ingrediants in cheese that are non-vegan? Thanks!

  8. ryan

    In cheese, I am under the impression that as long as the cheese does not have ‘rennet’ in it, it is vegan.

    No, no, no… animal-based products are not vegan. Cheese without rennet might be considered “vegetarian,” but if it is derived from an animal, it is not vegan.

    To make it more confusing, even some soy and rice cheeses aren’t vegan because they contain a milk protein (casein).

    If you’re just getting started with veganism, I would highly recommend picking up Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. It’s a resource all vegans need on their shelves.

  9. Cassidy Anne

    Thank you! I will have to look into that book! Some things about being vegan are just so confusing! lol

  10. Anne Marie

    In regards to …
    In cheese, I am under the impression that as long as the cheese does not have ‘rennet’ in it, it is vegan.

    I found out the hard way and ate SoyaKaas, which had casein in it and immediately had a blemish. Since becoming Vegan, I immediately know if I’ve accidently eaten any dairy because it promptly shows up on my face. Not fun! I do my best to read labels like it’s my job. Even some pasta sauces have cheese or milk. You have to read everything!

    Thanks for the Teese info and all the comments. Currently, I use the Vegan Gourmet – IT MELTS! (sort of) for Italian dishes, however, their chedder cheese is TERRIBLE! I ruined a Vegan meatloaf with that horrible cheese. So I need a jalapeno or chedder cheese to put in my Mexican dishes. I’m going to request Whole Foods to get Teese.

  11. David

    teese TASTES like raw homemade tofu–i.e. nearly tasteless. When folks say crap like “this tastes good,” I don’t think they’re Teese staff in disguise, but just over-eager vegans who mean to say “wow, a vegan cheese that doesn’t taste like feet!” not feet is not the same as good, however. Taste neutral at best.

    Teese SMELLS like slightly like american (cow) mozarella. This effect seems to disappate after cooking.

    Teese FEELS somewhere between silken tofu and water-buffalo mozzarella.

    The brick is huge, and suggests to use 10 days after opening. Mine lasted twenty before scaring me

  12. april

    I can’t wait to try Teese! I have to disagree about the comments saying Vegan Gourmet doesn’t melt. If you look at the vegan pizza on my myspace page you can see that it melts amazingly. I did use a small convection oven, I’m not sure if that is what makes the difference.

  13. tamponman

    hum, ever hear of the label and it’s ingredient listings? i highly doubt this product is vegan.

    NEXT!

  14. Ryan

    What the hell would ever make you say that? Chicago Soy Dairy doesn’t even use shared equipment so why would they have any non-vegan ingredients?

  15.   zpizza considering new vegan cheese [The Veg Blog]

    […] cheese.  Turns out that they’re actively testing a number of vegan cheese options, including a certain brand from Chicago.  This would be a huge win for pizza-loving vegans everywhere, so drop them a line and let […]

  16. L

    Can someone please explain what “vegan natural flavors” are?? It’s listed in the ingredients on their site.

  17. aimee

    personally, I’ve found Teese really gross. When you open that red tube, the smell is enough to make you want to vomit. Still, I tried it. It basically turned to white liquid when it melted. I find the taste really offensive!
    I do like their Temptation ice cream though!

  18. Steph

    Teese tastes like buttered popcorn and when it “melts” is turns into a runny white liquid that mixes with your pizza sauce. I wouldn’t waste your money on it.

  19. Mike

    I bought some Teese mozzarella yesterday and was excited to make a pizza with it. Aimee and Steph are right: it melts into a puddle of liquified goo. Worst pizza I have ever made. In fact, one of the worst dishes I have ever made, period.

  20. vegan.eating

    I’ve successfully gotten Follow Your Heart’s cheese to melt and it’s my favourite vegan cheese since it’s available locally and too much trouble to order in any others.

    The trick is to not put FYH cheese on the top of your pizza where it’ll just dry up and burn. I usually place slices of it between the sauce and the vegan pepperoni. Basically, it needs to stay moist to melt.

    I’ve actually covered making great vegan pizza during VeganMofo 2009 with my 2 part blog post, “vegan.eating’s pizza secret”. Check it out.

  21. Jennifer

    The teese cheese is awful. One bite and I threw up the entire contents of my stomach. Do not eat!

  22. k

    DAIYA

  23. Gina

    Just tried Teese Mossarella today. Not so great, I wouldn’t buy it again. It has a kind of fuzzy taste when just out of the fridge. Melted was ok, but not really cheese like to me. Tasted a little strange and parts of it got watery. I’ll just have to do withiut cheese.

  24. Gina

    Tried it and threw most of it away. Fuzzy kind of taste. Not chesse like and liquidy goo when it melted.

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