Homemade Vegan Cheese

I made cheese! Since going vegan I’ve been surprised how good a lot of the vegan versions of certain foods are – milk, cake, yoghurt etc. However, all the vegan cheese I have tried has been horrible. They all seem to be made from coconut oil, and I haven’t yet found one that I like. So I searched to see if I could make my own, and found this recipe.

I get the impression you could make lots of different versions of this. It’s essentially a thick cashew cream flavoured with a whole load of nutritional yeast and whatever else you choose, and set using agar agar powder.

Agar agar was a new ingredient to me. It’s a vegan gelatine extracted from seaweed and I managed to find some in Waitrose. It wasn’t cheap – £4 and I used half of it in this recipe. It’s weird stuff, but it did the job of setting the mixture really well.

Another ingredient I found today was Liquid Smoke. I’d seen it mentioned in a few recipes, but had never seen it in the shops. I managed to find it in the American Foods section in a big Tesco.

The cheese turned out well for a first try. It set nicely, and you can slice it and put it on a cracker. It doesn’t have the same texture as dairy cheese. I would say it is somewhere between cheese and pate, a similar texture to firm tofu.

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I will do a few things differently the next time I make it. I probably wouldn’t include the raw garlic; my blender didn’t manage to get this small enough and there were a few little lumps in the cheese. It could also have done with more salt than the recipe suggested.

However, for a first try I’m really pleased. I’m looking forward to experimenting with different flavours and different ingredients. I can imagine a selection of nut cheeses being really good at Christmas time!

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