Sunday, July 17, 2016

Melty Cheddar and Mozzarella

I'm super happy to report that the two cheeses I made--the cheddar and the mozzarella--came out delicious. The recipes are both from Miyoko Schinner's The Homemade Vegan Pantry, which is an excellent book to have at home, and which is the source of my almond yogurt and almond feta recipes as well. The cheeses are great on bread (I served them for breakfast to a meat-eating guest and he dug them), and they also respond very well to cooking: we used the cheddar as gnocchi sauce and the mozzarella in little pizzetas.

The process for making these cheeses is almost identical; the only difference is a slight tweak in ingredients.

Step 1: Create Culturing Liquid

For either the cheddar or the mozz, you'll need one cup of culturing liquid. For my feta, I used juice from sauerkraut, which was a nice time saver; this time, I decided to go all DIY and made my own rejuvelac. This is not a bad idea, seeing as it keeps in the fridge for 3-4 weeks, and also as it produces sprouted quinoa, which you can then use to bake this delightful little roll. Follow the instructions in the previous post to produce the sprouted grains and the rejuvelac; strain the grains out to use in the sprouted bread recipe; and measure one cup of the rejuvelac for use in the cheese.

Step 2: Mix and Culture

Blend into a smooth consistency:
1 cup cashews
1 cup rejuvelac/sauerkraut liquid
1 tsp seasalt
nutritional yeast (1 tbsp for mozz, 3 tbsp for cheddar)
light-colored miso (1 tbsp for mozz, 2 tbsp for cheddar)
an optional tbsp of dried onion for the mozz

Pour into a lidded container, place somewhere away from direct sunlight but in room temperature, and wait a day or two.

The mix is ready for the next step when you notice that it's become a bit soufflé-like: puffy, risen, full of air pockets, thicker.

Step 3: Harden

For this you'll need:
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp water
1 tbsp agar flakes
2 tbsp tapioca starch

Place 1/2 cup water and agar flakes in a lidded pot and bring to a simmer over low heat. Keep lid on for about 3-4 minutes. Then, check to see whether the agar has liquified and is bubbling away. It's important to wait a few minutes for this to happen. Once the agar has bubbled away, incorporate your cultured cheese mix into the pot and whisk to perfection. As this cooks a bit, mix the tapioca starch with 2 tbsp water until dissolved and add to the pot. Continue cooking until the mixture thickens some and becomes shiny and stretchy.

Pour cheese into container (I simply rinse the culturing container and use that; Miyoko recommends using glass) and let harden in the fridge for at least four hours before consuming.

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