Say Cheese!

You don't have to be a dairy-free diehard to make—and enjoy—these vegan delights

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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, ultra-flavorful slices and spreads—from 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 a cheesecloth-lined strainer to eliminate excess moisture and concentrate flavors. Bake at low temperature to remove moisture and firm up final product. The longer the 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.)