If you think making your own vegan cheese reeks of effort then you are right my friend. Very right. Which is partly why this post is called ‘Marathon Cheese’ not only because I’m posting it on the same day that a few of my friends ran in the BMO Marathon but also because making was a marathon. Wait scratch that. This is the iron man of vegan recipes.
As you can see by my instagram, I was pretty excited to buy this cook book week 5 WEEKS AGO:
After flipping through it I decided to make one of the easier cheeses first which still looked pretty complicated. Here is a list of the ingredients that I was confused by for the vegan Mozzarella:
- Xanthan Gum
- Agar Flakes
I found Xanthan Gum and Agar Flakes at Whole Foods Market but they weren’t cheap ingredients:
This is what Xanthan Gum looks like next to my cat.
Rejuvelac turned out to be a bit harder.There is a recipe in the cookbook on how to make it from scratch but it seemed pretty tedious so I literally LITERALLY looked everywhere. I don’t even think it’s sold in Canada.
So I went back to the book and decided I had to make it from scratch. I’m going to blame the cookbook for my first failed attempt for assuming I wasn’t stupid. I used a plastic bowl instead of a glass one. (Could the recipe not explain WHY I needed a glass one…I mean I get it now so just trust me on this)
You can find a thorough recipe for rejuvelac here but I’m going to give it to you very simply here:
- Put rice in glass container with water by a window
- Cover with cheese cloth
- Change water 8-12 hours until rice starts to ‘grow tails’
- Then rinse the rice and split into two containers with water by window with rice cloth
- When it is stinky & cloudy (after 2-3 days) it’s ready
As you can see my Instagram is pretty exciting.
I FINALLY HAD ALL OF MY INGREDIENTS. I WAS READY TO EAT CHEESE. Yeah… at this point you’re still a full day away from eating it.
While the rejuvelac is growing or whatever, soak 2 cups of cashews in water for about 12 hours. (Again the full recipe from the book can be found here)
When you are ready for REAL this time here’s what you put in the blender:
- 2 cups of cashews soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup Rejuvelac
- pinch of salt
Then you add:
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum and blend until thickened
At this point you transfer it to a glass bowl and let it sit for 12-24 hours. I know. This is the never-ending recipe.
After 8-12 hours (depending on how sharp you want the flavor…or something like that) you’re supposed to put it back in the blender. I found it easier to stir from this point on.
What you’re going to add next is:
- 2/3 cup of water boiled with 3 tablespoons of Agar Flakes (let it cool before adding)
THEN you can add another 1/2 tsp of Xanthan Gum if you want it stretchier.
At this point you prepare a bowl of ice water with a little bit of salt (this is called the brine) and scoop balls of your mixture into the ice. It should firm up immediately.
Then put it in the fridge and serve when ready.
Are you exhausted from just reading this? I think it will get easier with more practice and actually knowing what the ingredients are.
After all this- how did it taste!?!
The answer is…meh. It was pretty good on pizza but didn’t melt, although I don’t think that’s fair since pizza can make anything taste good. I put it on some toast this morning with avocado and I couldn’t even really taste it.
I adds nice texture and gives the dish some good filling but it wasn’t like real cheese where you want to scrap every last bit with your hands off the plate.
I think if I played with it some more I could figure out to give it more flavor.
I’m eager to play with some of the other recipes, so if I start on some vegan Brie next week then expect a post about 5 weeks later.