I’ve decided that I’m going to open up a new column while I work on the development of my gluten free ravioli recipe, and what better to start with than a product review column on one of the more well known cheeze substitute brands? One of the beautiful things about Daiya is that their entire purpose is to be as allergen free as possible, and their cream cheeze is no exception. Soy free, gluten free, and of course, dairy free, their cream cheeze is main primarily with canola/safflower oil, xanthan gum, glycerin, potato starch, and pea protein.
For spreadabilty, I would give it a 10/10. It almost seems a little too thin at times to be a good cream cheeze substitute for cheezecake, but for bagels? It’s perfect.
Mouthfeel on the other hand leaves a little to be desired, maybe 6/10. When it’s completely cold fresh out of the fridge it’s pretty good texture-wise, but if it lingers in your mouth or on the table too long, it starts to get a more “melted” consistency that’s a little too liquid for my liking. I would call it more of a winter treat than a summer one, and I would use something else if you want to use it as a base for cake frosting. I actually attempted to use it in a cake frosting recipe for a gluten free “pink lady” cake, and it required a bit of time in the fridge before it stuck well enough to be easily edible.
In terms of taste, the initial taste is good, and I can taste the cultured sugar, but the entire thing doesn’t taste sharp so much as it tastes tart. There is a lingering sweetness there, but if you taste it too long, the canola oil taste shows through. The initial bite is delicious and tastes a great deal like cream cheese, but the aftertaste can linger if you eat it on an entire bagel. It’s one of the better ones on the market and great for people with soy allergies, but I’d give the taste a 7/10.
Price wise, it’s one of the less expensive cream cheese substitutes, so in terms of value and availability I’d say it’s pretty good. 8/10 on price versus quality and availability.
It’s more of a snacking or breakfast cream cheese, less a cooking or full substitute. If you treat it as a spreadable treat rather than a true substitute, the rating goes up to 8.5 or 9. As a full substitute and try to use it in places where cream cheese is called for, I’d drop the rating to a 6, as it doesn’t hold up very well in that regard. I believe it was created to compete with the spreadable cheeses such as Philadelphia, Kraft, and Lucerne, so in that regard it performs its function well.
I would love to see a block cream cheeze from Daiya, similar to the ones from Miyoko’s Creamery and Tofutti, that could be used in cooking situations where heat is involved more easily. For now, in terms of something yummy to stick on my bagel in the morning when I’m too lazy to cook a full breakfast, Daiya strawberry cream cheeze does the trick.