Vegan Herb Cheese

This is an easy-to-make and versatile vegan cheese which melts and can be used on burgers, pizza etc. Most of the ingredients are easy to get, but you’ll need kappa carrageenan and lactic acid. You can replace these, but the result will not be the same. The lactic acid could be subbed with 1 tsp white wine vinegar and the kappa with agar agar. If you wish to do the latter, follow the instructions on the agar agar packet. The cheese will not melt though. Another alternative is to leave the kappa out altogether if you just want to use the cheese on pizza or similar. In this case you could theoretically blend the mixture up and, heat the required amount as per making the cheese normally, but just pour it directly onto whatever it is intended to melt over. Any surplus could be kept in the fridge but ought to be used fairly soon.

As for the cheese, it can be used the same day but it will still be quite moist. For a firmer cheese it’s advisable to let it dry in the fridge for a few days. To do this, remove it from its mould and store it in the fridge on a wire rack covered with kitchen paper. If you have a cheese or wine fridge it should firm up nicely within a day, in a normal fridge it will take longer. The picture of the cheese when it is grated below features a cheese that was shredded a few hours after making it.

How long the cheese keeps depends upon various factors such as time of year and levels of air moisture. I’ve found the drier the cheese gets, the longer it keeps. However, you can prevent it from spoiling by freezing it, if in doubt.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (5o gr) potato or wheat starch
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 4 teaspoons kappa carrageenan
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons tahini*
  • 1/2 teaspoon lactic acid
  • 1 tablespoon soy milk powder – optional. If you use this, you won’t need to use plant-based milk, but it’s difficult to get hold of nowadays, at least here. BUT – you can leave out both this and the plant-based milk and just use water.
  • 1/3 (80 ml)cup olive oil
  • 1/3 (80 ml) cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water OR unsweetened plant-based milk
  • 1 tablespoon garlic butter herbs (or herbs of your choice)
  • How much tahini depends upon the consistency. Some is very runny, then go for 2; if it’s thick use 1.

You will also need:

A blender or immersion blender

Method

Place all ingredients into an immersion blender friendly vessel or into a normal blender and blend until everything is homogeneously combined. Pour into a saucepan and heat on a medium heat stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides. Transfer to a glass, silicone or earthenware container and leave to cool, then transfer to the fridge until the cheese sets fully (I use 3 ramekins per recipe). It can now be used directly or left to firm up further by removing it from the container and placing it on a wire rack covered with kitchen paper in the fridge.

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