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).