Artisan Vegan Cheese – Sharp Cheddar
Friends, I have been SO overdue in writing about Miyoko Schinner’s life-changing book, “Artisan Vegan Cheese”. Hopefully you’ve already discovered these incredible recipes, or maybe you’ve checked out Miyoko’s blog, Artisan Vegan Life. If not, DO IT NOW! I can’t overstate how fantastic her recipes are. Veganism has taken a massive jump forward thanks to Miyoko. And if a love of cheese is what’s keeping you from going totally vegan, this book might just get you over that last hurdle.
Rather than re-hash Miyoko’s philosophy on vegan cheese, I suggest that you read her own words in the book, and specifically, make sure you read all of her tips for cheese making. She also has some great tips on her blog. This isn’t a quick process, though there are some “instant” recipes, but it’s actually really easy once you get the hang of it. And don’t be intimidated by some of the exotic sounding ingredients. So far I’ve only used recipes that have agar powder as an option because I’ve been to lazy to seek out affordable carrageenan. You can also use store-bought rejuvelac and yogurt to save time, it’s just more expensive than making your own.
Before I talk about this sharp cheddar, I have something to tell you. My name is Kim, and I am a cheese addict. Once an addict, always an addict, even if you can stay on the wagon – and I’ve had my share of falling off. I’ve made several of Miyoko’s recipes, and I really feel that they successfully fill the vegan cheese void that’s been leaving me vulnerable to those terrible cravings and even more terrible missteps. There are a few vegan cheddars on the market, but I’m just not the biggest fan of them (though there are a few artisan brands that I think have great products – more on these in later posts…). After making this cheddar I let it age for a at least a few months, as Miyoko suggests. I occasionally sliced tiny slivers off the top to taste test. While this cheese did fine for a long time in the fridge, I made another cheddar that got moldy enough to not be salvageable, so make sure you keep an eye on anything that you’re aging.
As you can see this cheese gets hard enough to grate, though the inside didn’t get quite as firm as the outer layer. I used this to top chili and also in Cheddar Garlic Biscuits, which I plan to post next. I have to apologize in advance though; the biscuits aren’t health food (though of course neither is anything made with regular cheese, despite some opinions), and they are addictive. I have pre-measured bags of shredded cheddar in the freezer for when cravings strike. They’re dangerous. Stay tuned for some more cheese posts courtesy of Miyoko’s incredible recipes! And if you don’t have this book yet, I seriously cannot recommend it enough.