Making Vegan Cheese

Since it’s the Easter holidays at the moment, I’m visiting my family which means I have my parents’ kitchen at my disposal. So I’ve taken this opportunity to do a bit more cooking than usual. Some day I’d love to make dairy cheese but I recently acquired a vegan cookbook and I’ve been dying to make one of the recipes in it. Vegan cheese – or at least, this particular recipe for vegan cheese – takes a lot less time to make than dairy cheese (only about a week), so I thought it was a perfect place to start.

The recipe we used (“we” here being myself and my mother/sidekick) is for “nut cheese” from Dunja Gulin’s The Vegan Pantry, which is such a pretty book that I daren’t leave it in the kitchen in my uni house with my other cookbooks for fear of it getting ruined (like my other cookbooks). The recipe has a lot of variables, such as which nuts are used and what you use for the cheese starter (aka rejuvelac – Gulin recommends spelt berries, but also gives several alternatives). For the nuts, we used cashews and almonds, and for the rejuvelac, we used millet since we couldn’t get hold of spelt berries. We also doubled the recipe. In retrospect, it may have been easier to keep to the original recipe for our first time cheese-making but it seemed to turn out alright in the end.

Soaking the millet for 2 days for the rejuvelac – this smells horrible
Soaking the cashew nuts & almonds
Blended cashew nuts & almonds
Blended cashew nuts & almonds in the big bowl vs very blended cashew nuts & almonds + rejuvelac in the little bowl
Apparently vegan cheese looks like porridge
The whole mixture gets put in a strainer wrapped in cheese cloth
Then you tuck it in and leave it to sleep for a couple of days
We checked on it halfway through – at this point it smelled very much like cottage cheese
Then it goes in the fridge for another 24 hours to set, looking like bread dough
The finished product!
We ended up making at least 900g of nut cheese! It was a mostly easy process, since it’s all spread out over about a week, so you only actually do little bits at a time. The blending was the most time-consuming thing; other than that, it’s mostly just waiting for it to mature and set. Raw, it’s very light and airy but still tastes quite nutty, with the consistency of hummous but a bit thicker. It tastes more like cheese when eaten with bread as opposed to on its own. It makes very good pizza – more on that in my next post!

Oh, and one more thing: happy Easter to those who celebrate it! 🙂

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