Author Topic: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)  (Read 2657 times)

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Offline lucek

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #30 on: January 30, 2020, 09:18:48 PM »
I wish I knew. It would be great if this produced a good parm or cheddar substitute(chosen because legally protected definition). From my understanding it should work. You need sugar for lactobacillus to break down into lactic acid not lactose.

"Cheddar" is not a protected designation of origin. "West Country Farmhouse Cheddar" is. Feel free to call cheddar cheddar.

If you don't cheddar cheddar in Cheddar it's not really cheddar but no one will stop you from calling it x cheddar.

I admit I posted so I could say cheddar cheddar in Cheddar.
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Offline arthwollipot

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #31 on: January 30, 2020, 09:29:20 PM »
I wish I knew. It would be great if this produced a good parm or cheddar substitute(chosen because legally protected definition). From my understanding it should work. You need sugar for lactobacillus to break down into lactic acid not lactose.

"Cheddar" is not a protected designation of origin. "West Country Farmhouse Cheddar" is. Feel free to call cheddar cheddar.

There are some products that they can't call "cheese" and have to refer it to Cheese Substitute or Processed Cheese Food.

In the same way they may not be able to call it Cheddar, because it's not made from milk, so Cheddar Substitute.

But lucek was asking for "a good parm or cheddar substitute" and I contend that a good cheddar substitute is an oxymoron.
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #32 on: January 30, 2020, 11:02:22 PM »
I wish I knew. It would be great if this produced a good parm or cheddar substitute(chosen because legally protected definition). From my understanding it should work. You need sugar for lactobacillus to break down into lactic acid not lactose.

"Cheddar" is not a protected designation of origin. "West Country Farmhouse Cheddar" is. Feel free to call cheddar cheddar.

There are some products that they can't call "cheese" and have to refer it to Cheese Substitute or Processed Cheese Food.

In the same way they may not be able to call it Cheddar, because it's not made from milk, so Cheddar Substitute.

But lucek was asking for "a good parm or cheddar substitute" and I contend that a good cheddar substitute is an oxymoron.


Right, currently there is no good substitute.

But this is something new.

No telling if it has the potential to be a good cheddar substitute or not.


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Offline John Albert

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2020, 01:11:03 AM »
You need sugar for lactobacillus to break down into lactic acid not lactose.

Lactose is sugar, a disaccharide. It's the kind of sugar that occurs naturally in milk.


Lactose is not necessary for cheesemaking; an acid is.

Sure, and in most fermented cheeses that acid comes from the lactobacillus breaking down the lactose.


Most of the time that's lactic acid, but citric acid and even acetic acid are also used.  If you get some casein in suspension and add an acid and rennet, you'll end up with cheese of some sort. Of course its properties will depend largely upon the other components of the 'milk,' and many of the subtle flavors and aromas of cheese are produced by the lactobacillus.

"Cheese of some sort" is not what I'm interested in. I value cheese mostly for its culinary properties. The flavor, texture, aroma, melting properties, etc. are kind of the whole point. One of the most beautiful aspects of cheese is that it comes in so many varieties, and that all depends on the process and the chemical constituency of the type of milk used to make them. I don't want no lactose-free faux "cheese" that's pretending to be something it's not



My #1 pet peeve about veganism is how they bodge together barely edible approximations of real foods, apparently to pretend going vegan doesn't require you to give up anything. But when everything you're eating is a pale impostor of something good, how do you avoid the feeling that you're living a lie?   

I much prefer the kind of vegan cooking that employs real ingredients for what they're good for, instead of some alchemical trickery to transmutate soy yogurt into sponge cake or tofu into meat.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 11:13:20 AM by John Albert »

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2020, 10:57:07 AM »
You need sugar for lactobacillus to break down into lactic acid not lactose.

Lactose is sugar, a disaccharide. It's the kind of sugar that occurs naturally in milk.


Lactose is not necessary for cheesemaking; an acid is.

Sure, and in most fermented cheeses that acid comes from the lactobacillus breaking down the lactose.


Most of the time that's lactic acid, but citric acid and even acetic acid are also used.  If you get some casein in suspension and add an acid and rennet, you'll end up with cheese of some sort. Of course its properties will depend largely upon the other components of the 'milk,' and many of the subtle flavors and aromas of cheese are produced by the lactobacillus.

"Cheese of some sort" is not what I'm interested in. I value cheese mostly for its culinary properties. The flavor, texture, aroma, melting properties, etc. are kind of the whole point. One of the most beautiful aspects of cheese is that it comes in so many varieties, and that all depends on the process and the chemical constituency of the type of milk used to make them. I don't want no lactose-free faux "cheese" pretends to be something it's not



My #1 pet peeve about veganism is how they bodge together barely edible approximations of real foods, apparently to pretend going vegan doesn't require you to give up anything. But when everything you're eating is a pale impostor of something good, how do you avoid the feeling that you're living a lie?   

I much prefer the kind of vegan cooking that employs real ingredients for what they're good for, instead of some alchemical trickery to transmutate soy yogurt into sponge cake or tofu into meat.

The specific microbes used to ferment the cheese probably make far more difference than the slight flavor differences of the milk. And I doubt that anybody will be able to tell the difference between cheese made from cow milk and cheese made from lab-grown milk with a bit of sucrose or glucose added for the bacteria to act on.

I am not vegan but I often make dishes that are vegan. Most of my main-course dishes are vegan, and on days when I don't have fish, nearly all my main-course dishes are vegan. But I almost never eat those "barely edible approximations of real foods" cobbled together from the products of modern chemistry. The fact that I'd be eating "pale [impostors]" of something else is why I chose not to eat fake meat, when, 52 years ago, I quit eating meat.

I've never really understood the appeal of fake meat when there are so many plant-based foods that are delicious in their own right. But if lab-grown milk is effectively identical to cow milk, then the cruelty factor becomes a very good reason to use it. I doubt it will hit the grocery shelves in my lifetime.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2020, 11:08:18 AM »
The specific microbes used to ferment the cheese probably make far more difference than the slight flavor differences of the milk.

That's true, and removing the lactose is going to make a huge difference in the types and proportions of microflora that will thrive in the milk. That will change the fermentation process and the resulting qualities of the cheese. Cheese fermentations can be quite complex, with different strains and species of microorganisms taking turns dominating the substrate over multiple phases.


And I doubt that anybody will be able to tell the difference between cheese made from cow milk and cheese made from lab-grown milk with a bit of sucrose or glucose added for the bacteria to act on.

I find that very difficult to believe, considering some yeasts and bacteria are capable of fermenting sucrose and glucose but not lactose; and probably the reverse is true also. Changing something as fundamental to milk as eliminating the lactose will certainly change the properties of any cheeses you try to make with that product.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2020, 11:12:22 AM by John Albert »

Offline The Latinist

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2020, 12:04:45 PM »
This is technology that is in its early stages. Perhaps it will be impossible to make palatable cheese from fungal caesin; but perhaps it will be. And perhaps such cheese will be an acceptable cheddar substitute, but perhaps it will not. Perhaps it will be suitable only for use in processed cheese (which is a significant portion of cheese consumption). It’s even possible that it will be an entirely new but also palatable cheese.  The point is that there’s no reason to dismiss the idea or the technology outright, especially if it might be possible to reduce the resources required for or mitigate the ethical implications of cheese production.
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Offline CarbShark

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #37 on: January 31, 2020, 01:16:02 PM »
This is technology that is in its early stages. Perhaps it will be impossible to make palatable cheese from fungal caesin; but perhaps it will be. And perhaps such cheese will be an acceptable cheddar substitute, but perhaps it will not. Perhaps it will be suitable only for use in processed cheese (which is a significant portion of cheese consumption). It’s even possible that it will be an entirely new but also palatable cheese.  The point is that there’s no reason to dismiss the idea or the technology outright, especially if it might be possible to reduce the resources required for or mitigate the ethical implications of cheese production.

There's no telling what biochemical/genetic engineers can do.
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Offline Jeremy's Sea

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #38 on: January 31, 2020, 01:26:22 PM »
My #1 pet peeve about veganism is how they bodge together barely edible approximations of real foods, apparently to pretend going vegan doesn't require you to give up anything. But when everything you're eating is a pale impostor of something good, how do you avoid the feeling that you're living a lie?   
I realize you're kind of the hyperbole master around here, but it's not all that bad, and surprisingly some of us have different tastes and a "pale imposter" is good, even preferable. I fucking loathe shellfish, but I don't feel like people are living a lie because they pay a shit ton of money to eat ocean cockroaches.  :laugh: :P
I dunno though, I eat to live, I don't live to eat. Food has never really been all that important to me.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #39 on: January 31, 2020, 06:27:27 PM »
The specific microbes used to ferment the cheese probably make far more difference than the slight flavor differences of the milk.

That's true, and removing the lactose is going to make a huge difference in the types and proportions of microflora that will thrive in the milk. That will change the fermentation process and the resulting qualities of the cheese. Cheese fermentations can be quite complex, with different strains and species of microorganisms taking turns dominating the substrate over multiple phases.


And I doubt that anybody will be able to tell the difference between cheese made from cow milk and cheese made from lab-grown milk with a bit of sucrose or glucose added for the bacteria to act on.

I find that very difficult to believe, considering some yeasts and bacteria are capable of fermenting sucrose and glucose but not lactose; and probably the reverse is true also. Changing something as fundamental to milk as eliminating the lactose will certainly change the properties of any cheeses you try to make with that product.

So they can add some lactose to the lab-grown milk when they want to make cheese out of it. I don't think we should declare a technology useless when we have not achieved it yet. That said, I have my doubts that one or a few genes transferred into a fungus or bacteria will result in a product very much like milk.

I fucking loathe shellfish, but I don't feel like people are living a lie because they pay a shit ton of money to eat ocean cockroaches.  :laugh: :P

Cockroaches don't live in the ocean, and not every arthropod is a cockroach. But the time may come when cockroaches are the only food available, considering what we're doing to the environment.

I dunno though, I eat to live, I don't live to eat. Food has never really been all that important to me.

I enjoy good food. Of course, my idea of good food is different than that of almost everybody else on this forum. These days, I live to paddle. To paddle I must eat. But that doesn't mean I can't take pleasure in what I eat. Lunch today was wonderful.
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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #40 on: January 31, 2020, 07:30:57 PM »
This is technology that is in its early stages. Perhaps it will be impossible to make palatable cheese from fungal caesin; but perhaps it will be. And perhaps such cheese will be an acceptable cheddar substitute, but perhaps it will not. Perhaps it will be suitable only for use in processed cheese (which is a significant portion of cheese consumption). It’s even possible that it will be an entirely new but also palatable cheese.  The point is that there’s no reason to dismiss the idea or the technology outright, especially if it might be possible to reduce the resources required for or mitigate the ethical implications of cheese production.

It’s an old article, but I doubt that the situation has changed much in the year since then:

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/jan/10/america-cheese-surplus-production-dairy-farmers

There’s already too much cheese (if American ‘cheese’ can actually be called cheese).   I can’t remember the last time I had some cheese, but if I’m going to have some, I want good cheese, which I will eat in small amounts, perhaps with some walnuts and a good wine?  And I’m prepared to pay a premium price for it.  The cheese in pizza isn’t really cheese.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #41 on: January 31, 2020, 08:12:53 PM »
The cheese in pizza isn’t really cheese.

Mine is. Good sharp aged cheddar. It's not gourmet imported cheese, but it's real cheese made from cow milk and it's quite good. I use it sparingly because of the calories, but plenty of tomato sauce and a mountain of veggies.

Many years ago I tried fake cheese on pizza. That stuff is crap. It's the same color as cheese but it doesn't taste good and it doesn't melt right.

I also sometimes made pizza without cheese. At first it was not very good, as without cheese the veggies got all dried out. Then I hit on the idea of putting the tomato sauce on top of the veggies rather than underneath them. The sauce kept the veggies from drying out, and then it was good. Though, admittedly it's better with cheese, because... cheese.
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Offline jt512

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #42 on: January 31, 2020, 10:23:54 PM »
The cheese in pizza isn’t really cheese.


Sounds like you need to find a better pizza restaurant.
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Offline John Albert

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #43 on: January 31, 2020, 11:59:20 PM »
you're kind of the hyperbole master around here

Am I? Really?

The "hyperbole master"... I kinda like it. It sounds a just little bit dangerous

Anyway, the bit you quoted right there is basically a joke, though it is a pretty good approximation of my opinion on vegan alternatives.


but it's not all that bad, and surprisingly some of us have different tastes and a "pale imposter" is good, even preferable.

Not sure I'm following your line of reasoning. I certainly never demanded that my own tastes must apply to everybody.

The thing I was ranting about in my above post is those horrible vegan bastardizations of meat or dairy based foodstuffs, which taste nothing at all like the real thing. The point being that if I have a taste for some particular food and somebody serves me a mere approximation of that food, all I'm going to taste is the difference. There's no way to avoid it. If somebody whets my appetite with the prospect of a thick, juicy steak and then serves me a slab of texturized vegetable protein infused with beet juice, there's no way I'm going to feel anything but disappointed.


I fucking loathe shellfish, but I don't feel like people are living a lie because they pay a shit ton of money to eat ocean cockroaches.  :laugh: :P

Of course it's not living a lie to eat the kinds of foods you love. Especially when they're not some kind of weird mock-ups.

The 'living a lie' part is choking down some Frankensteinian abomination of an otherwise delicious food, all the while forcing a smile and pretending it's just as good as the genuine article. All in support of the faith-based delusion that you can give up entire major categories of foods without actually having to sacrifice any enjoyment of those kinds of foods. That's the lie.

If you don't particularly like meat and you really want to go vegan, go for it. But talk to your physician first, and be prepared to change your culinary preferences.

And for the love of all that is good and delicious, let's not try to pretend that tofurkey is anything like actual turkey. 


I dunno though, I eat to live, I don't live to eat. Food has never really been all that important to me.

So you don't particularly like food. Fine. That's a perfectly reasonable counterargument.

As an incorrigible foodie I find it very sad, but it is reasonable.

I have a friend who went on a Soylent diet and lost something like 30 pounds in 6 months. He'd been struggling with weight problems for most of his adult life, and this diet was a godsend for him. When he described his weekly routine of meals, I actually started feeling physically ill. Six days a week drinking 'meals' consisting of nothing but three servings of bland, vaguely vanilla malt flavored Soylent powder dissolved in water or skim milk; then Sunday was his "splurge day" wherein he ate whatever he wanted. He said that a Subway sandwich was his usual Sunday splurge.

It certainly seemed to work for him, but I could never do it. I had to admit he looked great, and I admired his perseverance. I'm just not cut out for that kind of sacrifice, at least not willingly. I love food way too much.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2020, 12:22:06 AM by John Albert »

Offline John Albert

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Re: Lab made milk (and what is vegan?)
« Reply #44 on: February 01, 2020, 12:10:18 AM »
So they can add some lactose to the lab-grown milk when they want to make cheese out of it.

That might work.


I don't think we should declare a technology useless when we have not achieved it yet.

I never declared it useless. I was specifically addressing the prospect of making cheese out of fake milk that contains no lactose.


That said, I have my doubts that one or a few genes transferred into a fungus or bacteria will result in a product very much like milk.

It doesn't seem likely, especially if they're removing the lactose. But I'd be willing to give it a try.