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Our favorite sliceable, meltable vegan cheese

9 Oct

Since I’ve been spending more time at home, as I only work part time since the birth of my baby, I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for vegan cheese. As much as I love Daiya, it gets expensive, even with coupons.

I’m a big fan of Vedged Out’s foxy moxy mozzarella, but I wanted something that held up to slicing and grating. I tried a recipe with cashew cheese, but without investing in a Vitamix blender (hint hint family members:Christmas is coming) the consistency was too grainy for my taste.

I stumbled upon Sweet Root’s coconut milk cheese and had it bookmarked for about a week until I finally gave it a chance. It uses a few odd ingredients not found in your average pantry, but after the initial investment, you can make this recipe multiple times. I foundΒ  my agar agar powder at the local Asian grocery store in a tiny packet, but if you can’t find it, it’s available on Amazon and at most health food stores.

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I also picked up the coconut milk and tapioca starch there. Try to find the highest fat coconut milk you can, as it will give a closer mouthfeel to real dairy cheese. This is definitely not a recipe for your can of low fat coconut milk. I also try to stick to a brand that is only coconut milk and water, like Arroy-D or Thai Kitchen.
I use a tiny amount of black salt (Kala Namak) in my version of this cheese. I originally bought it on Amazon for our tofu scrambles because it has a very authentic, sulfuric eggy flavor. Seriously, don’t stick your nose in there, you’ll regret it.

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If you don’t have any/don’t want to buy any, just use 1/4 tsp more of regular salt in the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 tsp agar agar powder
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder and onion powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp kala namak
  • 3-4 drops liquid smoke
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch

Directions:
1. Heat coconut milk in a medium saucepan until no longer separated and bubbling. Stir in agar agar, both salts, and cider vinegar, and bring to a gentle boil for about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in remaining ingredients, adding tapioca starch last. Whisk constantly while adding the tapioca starch, and continue heating until mixture thickens and pulls away from the pan.

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3. Pour into a bowl, mold, or single serving containers.

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4. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Here’s how it looks after a few hours.

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It’s slightly firm, almost the consistency of a cheddar cheese. It slices easily and can be grated if frozen.

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The first time I made this recipe, I used 1.5 tablespoons of agar agar and made the mistake of not letting it get to a full boil. The result was still a good cheese, but closer to a brie consistency. I realized my mistake later on, but we really enjoyed the first batch on crackers and with apple slices.

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It melts great (please ignore the burnt edges, it got forgotten under the broiler) and even has a bit of stretch.

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We’re really loving this cheese. If you wanted to make it more like cheddar cheese,Β  I would add a tablespoon of tomato paste and a dash of turmeric for color. We use this on nachos, pizza, lasagna, pretty much every application for melted cheese. I would suggest eating this with a nice porter, specifically Stone Smoked Porter, especially if you add the liquid smoke.
I’m glad I was able to share this recipe, I hope you give it a try!

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28 Responses to “Our favorite sliceable, meltable vegan cheese”

  1. Lissa @ Kitchen Rebellion October 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

    Goddamn this looks awesome. I’m a huge fan of the foxy moxy from Vedged Out too πŸ™‚

    Is black salt 100% necessary?

    • avocadosandales October 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

      Not at all, I added it in the second batch and we liked it, but if you don’t have any it’s not a huge deal.

  2. saraeday October 17, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    This looks incredible! Cheese has been one of the hardest things for me to give up. I saw your comment on Bianca’s lasagna recipe, which I’m hoping to make this weekend. May need to make this for on top! And I actually just saw black salt at T.J. Maxx of all places! I was intrigued, and I remember Alton Brown talking about it on one of his episodes of Good Eats, but I couldn’t remember what he said it tasted like. May need to swing back over there tomorrow to grab some.

    • avocadosandales October 20, 2014 at 6:09 am #

      Hopefully it’s kala namak and not just black colored salt, apparently there’s a difference between the two. I hope you do try it, it’s fantastic on lasagna and pizza – you can grate it on top if you freeze it!

      • Nancye Smith January 13, 2017 at 12:08 am #

        Yes there is a difference they are not the same, I bought the Black as in Black Salt thinking it was the Kala Namak but it wasn’t…

        Kala Namak is generally sold in Asian Stores…

  3. Jacqueline King May 28, 2015 at 5:53 pm #

    Looks amazing.

  4. Hannah Shaw August 26, 2015 at 2:12 am #

    Anything you’d recommend instead of tapioca starch as I can’t get it where I am?

  5. Fedwa March 14, 2016 at 4:51 am #

    How long can you keep it in the fridge?

  6. Judy March 17, 2016 at 11:39 am #

    A big thank you for posting this recipe πŸ˜€

    Can’t wait to try this but I’ve a few ingredients missing namely tapioca, arrowroot, liquid smoke and garlic powder…

    Any suggestions?….

  7. Kristina meh March 27, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    I’m trying it out now, and by the way it tastes-it’s one of the best vegan cheeses I made! this is sooo cool, thank you so much for sharing and keep them coming! πŸ™‚

  8. Fedwa April 6, 2016 at 4:58 am #

    It tastes amazing. It really tastes like dairy. I enjoyed it very much and it’s my go to “cheese” now.

  9. Russell April 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

    Sounds very good, I’ll try it soon! Just one thought: normally agar agar will only hold its liquid for 1-2 days, before it starts to liquify again. How is your that with this vegan cheese?

  10. Russell April 28, 2016 at 8:37 am #

    Sounds very good, I’ll try it soon! Just one thought: normally agar agar will only hold its liquid for 1-2 days, before it starts to liquify again. How is your that with this vegan cheese? And how much coconut milk does your can contains? Because here you have different can sizes. Thanks.

    • avocadosandales April 28, 2016 at 8:58 am #

      I’ve never had a problem with agar powder liquifying on me in any recipe over a period of time, this is actually the first I’ve heard of that. I’ve definitely kept this for up to a week and it has maintained its shape.

      Our coconut milk comes in 15 ounces cans.

  11. Russell April 30, 2016 at 2:18 am #

    Thanks. I made it and the structure is quite good. The taste a bit strong and I think I got the recipe wrong. It says:

    1/4 tsp garlic powder and onion powder

    Does that mean 1/4 tsp combined? Or 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp onion powder?

    But a very nice job, this recipe!

  12. maja May 6, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

    Hi! My cheese didn’t melt in the oven! What did i do wrong? I used spelt cream instead of oat cream and potato starch instead of tapioca starch, but I can’t see how that would affect the melting…

    • avocadosandales May 6, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

      The original recipe calls for coconut milk, which is higher in fat than either of those. This would probably affect your melting.

  13. CRVGNSD June 13, 2016 at 10:04 pm #

    do you think carrageenan would work in replace on the agar?

    • avocadosandales June 14, 2016 at 5:14 am #

      Definitely, I’m not sure how much you would need to use, but it should work.

  14. kenbkop June 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm #

    Hello,
    Thank you for posting this recipe πŸ™‚ Could you please answer the question asked by Russell (see above), where he asked for clarity on the onion/garlic powder? It would be quite helpful if you separated those into two separate ingredients, and specified how much garlic power and how much onion powder. If you are referring to a blend of the two powders, is that a 50/50 mix?
    Also, in a similar way, could you please specify how many millilitres (or cups) or coconut milk is to be used? It cannot be assumed that all cans are the same size in every country. I am writing from New Zealand.
    Many thanks!

    • avocadosandales June 11, 2017 at 3:42 am #

      It is 1/4 tsp of each. The can I used for this recipe was 165 ml.

      • kenbkop June 11, 2017 at 4:55 am #

        Thank you for that information. I’m glad I asked about the coconut milk, because the overwhelming number of coconut milk brands are 400 ml cans (13.5 fl. oz.), which are full-size cans, instead of half-size cans like the one you used.
        As an interesting side note, I ended up making the cheese using a full-size 400 ml can of coconut milk, and it worked out quite well. In fact, I’m kind of wondering how you had enough substance with only 165 ml of milk, since this is the main ingredient in the cheese. As it was, I did not end up having a huge amount of substance, but rather enough to make a decent sized wheel.

      • avocadosandales June 11, 2017 at 5:34 am #

        I apologize, you are correct, it was a 400 ml can. I searched for an image on Google as I don’t have one in my pantry currently and it showed me the half size can! My mistake.

      • avocadosandales June 11, 2017 at 5:35 am #

        It should make about a 2 cups of cheese once finished.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Vegan Coconut Milk Cheese | The Stingy Sprout - August 21, 2016

    […] original recipe can be found here. And listed below is an adaptation with just a couple of differences for my personal taste […]

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