Sunday, October 21, 2012

Adventures in Vegan "Cheese" Making Part 3: Vegan Block Cheddar Cheese

What vegan doesn't love a good cashew cheese? Well, this is arguably even better: Smokey Cashew Block Cheddar Cheese. It's delicious. Enjoy it on a grilled cheese sandwich, add it to your favorite vegan mac and cheese recipe, or eat it with wine and crackers. You can even grate it!


It's actually way easier than you'd think to make vegan block cheese. I used to be so intimidated by it, but now, I can whip it up in less than a half an hour (minus the refrigeration time). The biggest issue for people who don't usually make their own vegan cheese is getting a hold of all of the ingredients. However, if you don't have a nearby health food store, you can get nutritional yeast and agar powder on Amazon, and all of the other ingredients can be found in your local grocery store.

For amateurs, I'm going to provide a basic overview of the ingredients that I used:

The Low Down on Vegan Cheesemaking:

1. Water: Well, you need water to dissolve the agar in.
2. Plain Unsweetened Almond Milk: I used this to give the cheese a more authentic flavor, but you can always use water instead.
3. Agar Powder: This is a sea vegetable that will help the cheese harden.
4. Coconut  Oil: Aids the agar. You can usually find it near the other oils or in the baking section (near the flour) of the grocery store - optional.
5. Raw Cashews: Versatile, and though awesome in their original form, can be turned into even more amazing and tasty cheese, spreads, and dips.
6. Tahini: made from sesame, gives the cheese a harder and more convincing flavor. Find it in the grocery store (I can't remember what aisle).
7. Liquid Smoke: I used this to achieve a smokey flavor, but it's entirely optional. Find it for a dollar near the barbecue sauce.

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1 cup plain unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
4 tsp. agar powder
1 tsp. coconut oil
1 cup raw cashews, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (maybe more)
3 tbsp. sesame tahini
1 tsp. salt
Lawry's Seasoned Salt (optional)
A few drops of liquid smoke (optional)

Makes a sizable block of cheese.
Active time: 15 minutes.
Refrigeration: 5 to 6 hours. 

Instructions:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water, almond milk, agar powder, and coconut oil to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, whisking almost constantly.

2. Next, add the cashews, nutritional yeast, tahini, salt, and liquid smoke to your food processor. Pulse for 30 seconds, then scrape the mixture off of the sides and add 1/3 to 1/2 of the agar mixture from the saucepan. Continue processing the mixture, adding the remaining agar mixture and scraping the sides down as needed until a smooth and creamy mixture has formed.

3. Grease a bowl or container, and pour the cheese mixture into it. Let it cool on the counter for at least 15 minutes. Refrigerate for 6 hours or so. (I refrigerated mine overnight).


32 comments:

  1. This looks like a great recipe and fairly low fuss too! Does the cheese melt well?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes! It does melt well, but it doesn't get stretchy like real cheese. I actually just made a grilled cheese panini with it for dinner. It was so delicious and super filling. I want to eat more, but I physically can't. Haha.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think it would be cool to have a quick button on your site that would print the recipe and include your web address!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha aw! This makes me so happy. :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for this idea! I'm gonna try to do that this week. :)

      Delete
  4. Wow this looks awesome
    I am vegan but have never made my own cashew cheese, gonna bookmark this and buy the ingredients to give it a try:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have to try it! It's so much easier than you'd think. :)

      Delete
  5. This looks amazing!!!
    Can you make it in a big batch and freeze for later use? We go through so much bought cheesly it costs us a small fortune!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I would assume so. I know what you mean about the store bought cheeses. They are so expensive!

      Delete
  6. Hey I love vegan cheese and want to try yours I normally blend everything together and have no food processor. Would I be able to use a blender instead of the food processor?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A blender should work fine, but you may have a problem with the cashews getting stuck down underneath the blade of the blender. It will probably also take a little extra time. Make sure to soak your cashews overnight if you're using a blender as well (it will help the consistency. Let me know how it turns out!

      Delete
    2. I used a blender and it worked fine without soakig the cashews.
      I got a creamy, smoothie texture.
      Now I´m waiting in front of my refrigerator (what a complicated word to write) till the cheese is ready... :)
      Greets from Germany,
      Juli

      Delete
    3. Glad to hear that the blender worked for you! And yes, refrigerator is a complicated and confusing word. Haha. Anyways, I hope it turns out well for you! PS: I need to get over to Germany some time. :)

      Delete
  7. I was disappointed that this didn't have more flavor, I did add an extra tablespoon of nutritional yeast, not knowing what to expect but knowing that I like the flavor, and still it didn't seem to have much flavor. I may try it again and try to up the NY some more and maybe even add more liquid smoke.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry to hear that. This is a milder cheese recipe, but you can probably add a little extra tahini as well. To me, it also adds a cheesier flavor. Right now, a few of us on Google+ are actually trying out recipes for a vegan cheese with a sharper, cheesier flavor. We're reporting back to each other on it this week, so I will let you know the results. :) I know a lot of them are using recipes from the cookbook Artisan Vegan Cheese. It's supposed to have some really good recipes, but I think most of them use rejuvelac (which gives it that distinct flavor).

      Delete
  8. In step #1, when I bring it to a boil, whisking constantly, then let it simmer for 7-10 min, do I continue to whisk? What consistency should I be looking for? Runny like egg whites? Also how much should I let the Almond-water mixture cool before adding to the food processor?
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes...you want to whisk most of the time while you are simmering it. It should be runny, but it'll probably thicken up a bit. I usually only wait a minute or so before I pour it into the processor.

      Delete
  9. This is fantastic! I am going to take this cheese making adventure along with you. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ginny! You need to...it's a lot of fun. ❤

      Delete
  10. I made this yesterday. Mine turned out white. The only difference I did was not adding the liquid smoke. It also was a little spongy so didn't taste right. I was really disappointed. What could I have done wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate. I haven't made this cheese in awhile, so I'm not exactly sure what you could have done wrong. However, vegan cheese can be iffy sometimes. Though it is pretty easy to make once you get the hang of it, certain variables can affect the way it turns out (humidity, failure to boil and mix the agar correctly, failure to let it sit or refrigerate it long enough, etc.)I'm going to make this sometime this week or next week and possibly revamp it with more explanation. I'm sorry that it did not turn out the way it should have!

      Delete
  11. If the cheese looks half as good as it looks, i'm sure it's super delicious. I'd like to try this but can't get nutritional yeast. Would omitting it cause a difference in texture? Maybe i could increase the tahini a little bit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think that omitting the nutritional yeast would change the texture all that much. It will change the flavor, though. But I do think that adding a little extra tahini would help. Adding a little more coconut oil and a few drops of lemon juice will probably help as well. Let me know if you try it! I've been meaning to create another version of this recipe, just haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe I'll try one without the yeast too.

      Delete
  12. So I basically combined a few recipes together. I didn't have tihini. Couldn't find it at the grocery store so weird. So I used mustard. I also added lemon juice. And another sight it said use ( Orville redenbacher popcorn oil) I couldn't find that so I used earth balance butter. I think that ingredient helped a lot. I really want to try it with tahini and the rejuvalec. I think with these ingredients u will get a kick ass cheese. Ps I didn't add liquid smoke yet but I did try some. I also used way more nutritional yeast. Another recipe called for 1/2 cup I def used like 1 cup. Lol. I'm new to trying to be vegan. So this recipe was a great base. As well as all ur other ones. So if u wouldn't mind just letting us no how the rejuvalec goes???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will definitely let you know how the rejuvelac goes! I'm still working on getting my hands on it, but it's looking like I'm going to have to make it myself. :)

      Delete
  13. Just wanted to say, made this recipe this weekend and it was delicious and so easy. I at first was intimidated to make vegan cheese but it turned out so well and something about eating a cheese you made yourself made it all the more special. Thanks for the recipe and I am now going to check out your other ones. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I don't understand why every vegan cheese recipe I try comes out the consistency of hummus, even when I have exactly the ingredients and follow the directions. :( This tastes very good, mostly like tahini rather than cheddar, but for me it isn't sliceable or grate-able. It's a soft cheese good for crackers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it just depends on the factors in your kitchen (humidity, altitude, etc), and this recipe isn't perfect, so it could be my fault. I'm glad you like the flavor though! I'm working on a few new cheese recipes that should have more flavor, and hopefully I'll have a few good block ones as well.

      Delete
  15. Just made this cheese and waiting for it to form up overnight. It tasted so good even before I put into the bowl. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Looks yummy! I like the idea of the liquid smoke.

    Any ideas on making a string cheese for the kiddos? The stringiness seems to be unique to the milk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I like the idea of making a string "cheese." I'll have to think of some ways to make that work. I'll keep you updated!

      Delete

Leave some love...it's always appreciated! ♡♡♡

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...