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 found 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.
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.
If you don’t have any/don’t want to buy any, just use 1/4 tsp more of regular salt in the recipe.
- 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
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.
3. Pour into a bowl, mold, or single serving containers.
4. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
Here’s how it looks after a few hours.
It’s slightly firm, almost the consistency of a cheddar cheese. It slices easily and can be grated if frozen.
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.
It melts great (please ignore the burnt edges, it got forgotten under the broiler) and even has a bit of stretch.
We’re really loving this cheese. If you wanted to make it more like cheddar cheese, 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!