Can we make soft cheese out of coconut milk? Maybe or maybe not! Here are the three versions for you to try.
Version 1. Shredded semi-matured coconut with a dash of rock salt and very little cold pressed olive oil. I think the coconut maturity for use is what we called alangan. The fully matured coconut is hard and has a distinct oily taste. Shredded means it has to be turned to small pieces using cheese shredder. This is an attempt to mimic the looks and salty taste of cheese.
Version 2. Grated matured coconut is pressed to extract out the milk. Hydraulic pressed is recommended get most liquid. Citric juice and rock salt are added to taste. Then milk solids are concentrated by placing the mixture on fine filter paper for 36 to 48 hours.
Version 3. A procedure by Sanchez, P.C. and P.M. Rasco, 1983. This one entails mixing coconut milk and dairy milk followed by actual cheese process.
1) Add 80 grams cold pressed coconut milk to 840 grams water of 72ºC temperature. Stir for five minutes. Add non-fat dry milk or powdered skim milk gradually with continuous mixing.
2) Add pure culture of Streptococcus lactis and Streptococcus diacetilactis and let stand for 15 minutes. Mix three percent salt and filter through clean cheesecloth.
3) Pasteurize at 72ºC for five minutes then cool quickly to 40ºC by placing the cooking vessel on running water bath.
4) Mix in three percent rennet and let undisturbed for 30 minutes. Filter off the excess water by placing on slotted trays lined with cheesecloth for about 12 hours.
Coconut milk and dairy milk has similar properties. That’s why the first can be used as extender for the latter. Not completely the same though. Using only coconut or coconut milk for soft cheese production requires an entirely different procedure.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.