making cheese 2 – and a cheese toastie

Sometimes only a toasted cheese sandwich will hit the spot. I’ve been searching for a long time for a decent vegan cheese to make a toastie.  The cheese needs to melt and stretch like dairy cheese to be satisfying and it needs to taste, well frankly, not disgusting. I don’t really like any of the commercially available ones,  but I’ve found the answer is to make it.

I’ve been messing around with various soy milk block cheeses based on The Non Dairy Formulary. I recommend this book if you want to make vegan cheeses. Just don’t be afraid to experiment a bit.

The cheeses in the book that I have tried so far have not been quite cheesy enough for me, and a bit too solid and rubbery for my liking. This may be due to variations in the carageenan, I’m not certain. All I know is that after several failures I think I now have a successful cheese that I like.

What I learnt – one: do not use purchased soy milk with any other gums in it. I ignored this in my first few attempts and I was suitably punished with floppy cheese that wouldn’t really solidify properly. It actually says this in the instructions but I was being a smarty pants and thought it would be OK. So I made some soy milk and used that to make cheese. It works! I suspect you could also use the Aldi Organic soy milk since it has no additives, though I haven’t tried it.

What I learnt – two: not any carageenan will work. There are various types and they each have specific setting and melting characteristics. You need Kappa Carageenan. I got mine from The Melbourne Food Ingredient Depot. I use less than the recipe calls for so it isn’t quite so solid.

What I learnt – three: Taste. I don’t think the cheese tastes cheesy enough, so I added more savoury yeast and salt. I haven’t tried all the recipes and some have miso which would work well too. But for a savoury yeast only flavouring I think it needs more yeast and salt.

What I learnt – four:  Do not use unrefined coconut oil, unless you like coconut flavoured cheese! I have also used less coconut oil than in the original recipe. This seems a bit less fatty and doesn’t seem to make a huge difference to the outcome.

This recipe is a hybrid between the Jack and Cheddar cheeses with some adjustments.

What I have ended up with is a block style cheese that slices, grates and melts satisfyingly. It isn’t dairy cheese as we know it, but it does make a pretty good substitute in a toasted cheese sandwich,  and I think it tastes better than most vegan cheeses out there (except obviously Vegusto and Botanical but they are different beasts) and at a fraction of the price.

I used mine in a cheese, tomato and onion toasted sandwich. It also works well on a pizza, grilled on toast, or on a veggie pattie in a bun.

Here’s a smoked tofu and broccoli burger with some of the cheese melting on it.

I’m going to continue with my tinkering to perfect the flavour, but the texture of this is just how I like it.

broccoli and smoked tofu burger with cheese

 

3.7 from 3 reviews
soy vegan cheese
 
prep time
cook time
total time
 
author:
recipe type: cheese
serves: 2 cups
ingredients
  • 1 and 1⁄3 cup plain soymilk with no additives at room temperature
  • ½ cup organic refined coconut oil liquified (you can do this in the microwave, or put the jar into hot water)
  • 1⁄4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 and ½ tsp kappa carrageenan
  • 6 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 and ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp onion powder
instructions
  1. You will need a container capable of holding 2 cups, not a glass one because there is a bit of banging involved. I use a small rectangular 1 litre container
  2. Pour the half cup of melted oil into a blender.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the blender.
  4. Process the contents until smooth.
  5. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring and scraping with a silicone spatula. Keep stirring and scraping as the mixture thickens. Stir vigorously until the mixture becomes very thick, smooth and glossy.
  6. Now quickly transfer the mix to a container but don't bother trying smooth it out too much, it will set before you can! Bang the container on bench to settle it.
  7. Let the cheese cool for 20 minutes.
  8. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or until completely chilled and firm.
  9. Turn the container over and bang it on the bench to remove the cheese.
  10. Store the cheese wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a zip lock bag in the fridge.
  11. If you don't eat it quickly, you'll need to change the paper every few days.

 

10 comments

  1. Saucy 7 says:

    Cheese toasties even better with balsamic caramelised onions!

  2. barley says:

    mine didn’t solidify. I’m at 5000 ft. any suggestions? I used virgin coconut oil.
    Barley

    • rosalie says:

      Hi Barley
      Not sure. The only times I had mine not solidify was when I was using soy milk with additives in it. In the end I made my own soy milk. You could try more carageenan. I’m no expert with high altitude cooking, I live at sea level. 🙂 Perhaps you need to cook the mix longer to make sure it is done. The coconut oil shouldn’t matter, the difference between unrefined and refined from a cheesemaking point of view is the flavour.

  3. Nina B says:

    Hi Rosalie,
    Another very informative and fascinating blog. Thanks for letting me know all about the vegan butter and cheese-making – it hadn’t occurred to me that maybe I could attempt it myself…
    I think your blog is great and so helpful to people like me who need a bit of guidance.
    Thanks so much. Nina.
    PS Your photos are always mouth-wateringly yum!

  4. Rod says:

    Rosalie,

    The Gentle Chef has an updated no dairy book and it’s better than the old one.

    http://thegentlechef.com/NDECindex.php

    Many of his devotees including Aussies buy their ingredients from here:

    http://www.modernistpantry.com/carrageenan-kappa.html

    Skye has a great Facebook with lots people joining in.

    • rosalie says:

      Thanks Rod. I must check out the new version of the book. The Melbourne Ingredient Depot has kappa carageenan and it is close to where I live so no need for me to look for it overseas.

  5. Angela says:

    Aldi organic soy milk does not work either. Every soy cheese with kappa carrageenan has failed. I have 2 sorts of kappa, Melbourne Ingredient Depot and Modernist Pantry. Taste is good (use refined coconut oil) but does not set.

    • rosalie says:

      That’s unfortunate. In that case it looks like only home made soy milk works well. I guess you could keep trying any kind of soy milk that doesn’t contain gums. I used kappa carrageenan from the Melbourne Ingredient depot. It is both the carrageenan and tapioca that does the setting so maybe up the tapioca starch a bit.

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