Think making your own vegan cheese must be time-consuming and require a restaurant kitchen’s worth of special tools and ingredients? Nothing could be further from the truth. As the recipes on the following pages show, it’s easy to create lusciously creamy, ultraflavorful slices and spreadsfrom a Cheddar to wow take-along lunchers to a pepper-crusted goat cheese log to satisfy peckish partygoers.
What You’ll Need
- large, nonreactive (stainless steel or glass) bowl for soaking
- blender or food processor 3 sheets cheesecloth
- large strainer
Cheese Making 1, 2, 3
1. Soak Place nuts or grains in bowl, and cover with at least 3 inches cold water (the nuts will swell as they soak). Soak 12 hours or overnight, away from sunlight. Drain soaking water, rinse nuts, then drain again.
2. Blend well Purée soaked nuts in blender or food processor 6 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl often to ensure creamy, even texture.
3. Drain and dry Drain cheese through cheesecloth-lined strainer to eliminate excess moisture and concentrate flavors. Bake at low temperature to remove moisture and firm up final product. The longer cheese bakes, the more crumbly it becomes.
Tip: Using agar
The secret to success when adding agar to vegan cheeses or desserts is to simmer the flakes in plenty of liquid for about 8 minutes, or until all the bits have dissolved. (once cold, undissolved agar flakes turn grainy.)
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Almond Feta Cheese with Herb Oil
Blanched almonds give this creamy-crumbly cheese a rich texture. Unbaked, it will be smooth and spreadable. Baking will make it a bit more crumbly, like traditional feta cheese.more
Pepper-Crusted Cashew Goat Cheese
Cashews become very creamy and smooth when blended, which makes them perfect for this cheese. It’s aged at room temperature, then baked just until dry to the touch.more
Pine nuts are so small and tender, they don’t need to be soaked before using to make this cheese. Agar flakes lend firmness and sliceability and eliminate the need for a straining step. Try adding other ingredients, such as chopped jalapeño chiles, cumin or caraway seeds, or a dash ofmore