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Aquafaba Cheddar

3 Nov

“But how do you live without cheese!”

If you’re vegan (or lactose intolerant) you’ve probably heard that at least once, or a thousand times. Thankfully, there’s been some really amazing vegan chefs who have made our cheeseless existence quite tolerable. Miyoko Schinner, Jay Astafa, Somer McGowan, and Skye Michael Conroy, have all taught me some valuable tips on vegan-cheese making. I actually took the inspiration from this from Richa Hingle at Vegan Richa.  Her vegan cheddar cheese ball came across my feed around Halloween and I knew the flavors would be perfect for an adaptation of my mozzerella aquafaba cheese. The original recipe that I drew inspiration from for the cashew mozzarella was developed by Jay Astafa. You can watch the YouTube video here. I noticed he uses soy lecithin as an emulsifier, which aquafaba has been shown to do in recipes like Nina’s butter and Peanut Butter and Vegan’s mayo. This inspired me to make the cashew mozzarella using aquafaba as the emulsifier.
Aquafaba Cheddar

Vegan cheese doesn’t create casein protein strands like dairy cheeses do, which is why we use tapioca starch to create that stretchy texture. Some places may have it labeled at tapioca flour, but they should be interchangeable. I find mine at an international market for a cheaper price. I use vegan lactic acid powder to create that dairy-like tang in this recipe. It’s definitely worth the purchase, but if you cannot buy it, substitute a tablespoon of lemon juice instead. Since cheddar has a significant tang to it, I include apple cider vinegar as well as miso paste. Nutritional yeast also adds to the cheesy flavor. Refined coconut oil helps with firmness upon refrigeration and improves the mouthfeel and melt.

Most vegan cheeses use either agar or kappa carrageenan as a binder to be sliceable and shreddable. I choose to use kappa carrageenan, as I prefer the melt and mouthfeel it imparts. I am well aware that many people choose not to consume it and I completely respect that; this recipe may be possible with agar powder, but I have not tested it. If you do test it, please contact me with your results!

Aquafaba Cheddar

If you like this recipe, be sure to check out these other vegan cheese recipes:
Cheddar Cheese Ball
Another Cheddar Cheese Ball
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Cultured Cheddar

The Vegan Meringue group on is a great place for more aquafaba recipes as well.

Ingredients:
• 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or boiled for 15 minutes
• 1 cup aquafaba (preferably chickpea or other light colored bean)
• 2 tbsp tapioca starch
• 3 tsp kappa carrageenan
• 1/2 tsp lactic acid
• 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
• 2 tsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp miso paste
• 1/2 tsp onion powder
• 1/2 tsp paprika
• 1/4 tsp turmeric (for color)
• 3/4 tsp salt*
• 6 tbsp refined coconut oil, liquid
• 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

*You may need to adjust the salt level a bit lower if using salted aquafaba.

Directions:
1. Blend softened cashews and aquafaba in a high speed blender until as smooth as possibly. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any large particles and return to blender. It should be very smooth after blending. You may find there are still a few cashew particles if you’re using a lower quality blender or food processor, which is why I recommend straining.

2. Add tapioca starch, carrageenan, lactic acid, tomato paste, miso, onion powder, nutritional yeast, paprika, turmeric and salt and pulse in a blender to combine.

3. Add coconut oil and blend again very briefly. Mixture will be smooth and a little thick.

4. Heat in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat while stirring regularly. It will look like quite lumpy as the tapioca starch activates. Continue to stir, and it will eventually turn glossy and smooth, like melted cheese. When it reaches 170°F, it is done. You will see it begin to bubble around the edges and maintain its thickness. Quickly add the apple cider
vinegar and remove from heat. If your emulsion breaks (the oil starts to separate), remove from heat and stir quickly to recombine. If it’s already too far gone, you can use an immersion blender to combine it again.

Aquafaba Cheddar

5. Pour into a mold. Refrigerate for a few hours to fully firm up the cheese before slicing or grating.

image

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56 Responses to “Aquafaba Cheddar”

  1. aquafaba November 3, 2015 at 12:57 pm #

    Wowee!

  2. Heather L. Seggel November 3, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    Wow, great explanation of how you did this and which ingredients are responsible for each aspect of the cheese. Makes me want to get my lab coat on and experiment. Thanks for this!

    • avocadosandales November 3, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

      Hahahaha, I have often thought I should be wearing a lab coat in the kitchen with all my crazy “experiments!”

  3. Lauren QS November 3, 2015 at 3:11 pm #

    This is so awesome! Definitely something I will need to try 🙂

  4. yhealthy2000 November 3, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    You know I’ll be making this. I’m not vegan, but my 18-year-old daughter is. She will enjoy this recipe.

    • joe grech November 25, 2016 at 6:32 am #

      Congratulate your daughter.

      • yhealthy2000 November 25, 2016 at 10:58 am #

        Absolutely will. She is young and responsible in her big heart that she has.

  5. Jackie November 4, 2015 at 9:41 am #

    I love the mold you used! I’ve been looking for a good vegan cheese mold. What did you use and where can I get one? 🙂

    • avocadosandales November 4, 2015 at 9:43 am #

      I actually just use a 2 cup glass Pyrex bowl! Modernist Pantry carries some great flexible cheese molds in their Druids Grove line though, I wish I had a few!

      • Jackie November 5, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

        Thanks!

  6. Jennifer November 5, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Where can I find a cheese mold?

  7. Andy T November 11, 2015 at 1:57 am #

    Very nice recipe!
    I used agar-agar instead of carrageenan, as I can not get carrageenan where I live.
    I mixed the agar-agar with boiling water and tried to heat it in a saucepan before transferring the cheese mix there. However, as the agar-agar showed a tendency to form into lumps instead of properly dissolving in the saucepan, I transferred the whole mix back to my Vitamix and gave it another spin, before then boiling it in the saucepan. This solved the lumping problem.

    Only one minor concern … Cheddar is normally a very strong-tasting cheese, so it might be required to add some more ingredients that give this cheese more taste. I might try to add some garlic the next time I try it out. Any other suggestions what – on top of Miso, onion powder and lemon juice – could be added to the cheese to make the taste stronger?

    • Christy July 20, 2016 at 9:22 am #

      Savoury yeast!

    • Amanda Strong March 20, 2017 at 8:55 am #

      Mustard.

  8. Helaine November 23, 2015 at 12:50 am #

    I made this cheese today following the recipe exactly and the taste is delicious! This is the second time I have used aquafaba to make a cheese (the other being a mozzarella which I think is your recipe as well). It is interesting because both times the emulsion started to break and also the cheese did not get solid, unlike other cheeses that I have made using non dairy milk. I used an immersion blender at the end to reincorporate the oil but it still did not get hard like the picture when it cooled off. I used it to veganize an Alton Brown Mac and cheese recipe so this did not effect the taste at all, in fact I highly recommend trying it. Any thoughts on why the cheese stayed soft are appreciated. Also, thank you for mentioning the Aquafaba Facebook page, I am enjoying seeing what people are doing with this amazing ingredient. Thank you for the recipe!

    • avocadosandales November 23, 2015 at 7:15 am #

      Hi Helaine, thanks for your great review! If it’s not hardening upon refrigeration, it probably hasn’t been heated enough to activate the carrageenan, or long enough if using agar. It’s not something that would affect the flavor, but it definitely will affect the texture! You may have better luck switching to a thicker bottomed saucepan and heating low and slow until it’s very hot-almost bubbling. Good luck and let me know how it goes next time!

      • Lilliane June 21, 2017 at 11:35 pm #

        I always simmer my agar in a small sauce pan for several minutes until it is clear and thick, almost rubbery, then put it in the blender with the other ingredients. I think you will find this makes a difference.

  9. Michelle Kelly December 6, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I’ve made the Mozzarella and now the Cheddar recipes from your blog. While visually everything seems in order and taste wise is also great, for some reason my mixes don’t seem to ‘set’ properly. They end up a bit soft and I definitely can’t grate the blocks of cheese.

    Process wise, I follow what you’ve said here and upon applying heat to the saucepan, I can see the kappa activate and get a bit lumpy. With more heating applied and lots of stirring it thickens up. The addition of the acids at the end also make it thicker.

    I’m aware there’s a delicate balance between heating it so the kappa activates right and before it breaks the mixture …. is that my problem do you think? Slightly not enough heat time?

    • avocadosandales December 7, 2015 at 7:05 am #

      Perhaps the heating time needs to be increased, or perhaps we’re using different brands of kappa Carrageenan with different strengths. When the carrageenan is fully activated it should start to set almost immediately when you pull the cheese out of the pan. If the mixture is heating well without breaking, you can be a little less delicate with it, it’s just the initial lumping where there is a possibility of the oil breaking. You can also try adding another teaspoon of carrageenan.

  10. robynie December 10, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

    I tried to make it yesterday with agar instead of carrageenan (mostly because I was too lazy to go look for carrageenan at the shop), and it didn’t really set up into a cheese that is grate-able, but it is a very nice thick goop which would probably make a good cheeseball. Also it looks very cheesy when melted.

    I used barley miso and I can taste a hint of the barley but it’s a very nice addition to the flavour in my opinion! Overall the flavour is very very good 🙂

    Thanks for suggesting straining the cashews if you don’t have a high speed blender. I don’t and I have never had much success with smoothly blending nuts even after soaking, but straining worked incredibly well. So nice and smooth. I will definitely try again with the carrageenan in the future (if I can find it).

  11. Kimberly Little December 13, 2015 at 11:29 pm #

    Do you think this would work well for ‘cheese’ enchiladas?

  12. Becca January 4, 2016 at 11:40 am #

    Hi – Could I use citric acid in place of the lactic? I can only find it online, and the shipping is more than the product…

  13. sewfarnorth January 18, 2016 at 7:26 am #

    Hi, This looks really interesting. I am, however, tree nuts and peanuts allergic. Do you think I could make it with sunflower or pumpkin seeds?

    • avocadosandales January 18, 2016 at 8:22 am #

      It’s worth a try!

    • Jen February 26, 2017 at 12:27 am #

      I tried it today with sunflower seeds! If you drop me a message on Facebook, I can send you a photo of how it came out.

  14. sierra January 24, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    is there something else I can use in place of the cashews? or just leave them out ?

  15. Lauren January 29, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

    Thank you for this recipe I used it to make Mac and cheese for my little guy who is a celiac and has a dairy allergy. I omitted the carrageenan and used soy bean paste instead of miso and added a bit of almond milk to make is have a cheese sauce texture and it was so good I had two helpings and my little guy couldn’t stop smiling, since he got to eat mac and cheese. ❤ Life changer!

  16. Raluca February 28, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    I would like to try the recipe. However, I do not want to use vinegar Do you think that lemon juice will work? What can I substitute the vinegar for?

    • avocadosandales February 28, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

      Lemon juice is a possibility, anything acidic should work. Other types of vinegars are a possibility.

      • Raluca February 29, 2016 at 8:00 am #

        Thank you! I tried making it today and I used agar agar. I mixed the ingredients (without the agar agar) in the blender. I made separately the agar agar with water. Than I mixed it in and I put everything on the fire. The agar agar set before, but since I put it again on the fire, did not set anymore. So I think that we need to either put agar agar in the end (but then, the belnder will have a hard time mixing it in) or we should stick with the kappa carageenan.

  17. Priscilla April 7, 2016 at 12:28 am #

    Hi, Lacey: If I have soy lecithin powder, what do you suggest as the amount I should use in place of aquafaba? I’ve never used aquafaba before and this is completely new to me. Thanks so much in advance for your response.

    • avocadosandales April 7, 2016 at 5:18 am #

      Hi Priscilla, I’ve never used soy lecithin powder before, but I believe 1 tsp should be enough to keep the mixture emulsified.

  18. Barbara Evans April 10, 2016 at 2:48 am #

    Can you tell me what size your mould is please?

  19. Brianna Barwise April 13, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

    Thank you so much for this recipe! Made it last night and tried it before my boyfriend did and thought it was cheesy but I’ve been vegan 10 years so I’m not much help, I was nervous to let him try it “…. that just tastes like actual vintage cheddar” – wooooo.
    Then I served it along side pulled jackfruit for dinner party of 12 non-vegans and they all loved it. HIT! Thanks! Can’t wait to try the mozzarella next.

  20. Susan Hollingshead April 18, 2016 at 5:08 pm #

    Is there something else that can used for the lactic acid?…having a hard time finding it here.

    • avocadosandales April 18, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

      Lemon juice can be substituted

      • Susan Hollingshead April 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

        Thank you!

  21. korina August 6, 2016 at 9:31 pm #

    I am curious if there is something that can substitute the tomato paste? My daughter has a tomato allergy along with a dairy, egg and peanut allergy. She hates the daiya cheese so would love to make this with her.

    • avocadosandales August 7, 2016 at 1:04 am #

      Red miso or pimento could be used.

      • Korina August 7, 2016 at 1:16 am #

        Awesome thanks! I’ll look into pimento and see if I can find some. I love pimento. If I can find an alternative that tastes good for the whole family it would be so much easier than buying vegan for her and my husband, who also is allergic, and then buying normal for us other 3 and then trying not to cross contaminate. Now my 7 yr old son has announced he has become a vegetarian so I’m now on a mission to buy everything I need to make these cheese’s.

  22. Mosquito Peanut December 23, 2016 at 5:02 am #

    Hi Nina,
    Can’t wait to try this!! But don’t get carrageenan here in India. Will xanthan gum work? How do I sub it? Thanks

  23. Kristen Dunegan January 5, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    I just pour my cheese into a mold and realized I forgot to add the cider vinegar! I hope it’s just there for taste. I didn’t have any miso, so I added a little saurkraut juice to give it some tang. It’s setting up nicely and I can’t wait to try it.

  24. cyntgia June 27, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

    Can I substitute grape seed oil for the coconut oil?
    Looking so forward to making this.
    Thanks
    Cynthia

    • avocadosandales June 28, 2017 at 12:39 am #

      A solid oil will help the finished product be more firm. It will work if you just intend on melting the cheese but I recommend refined coconut oil for a reason

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