Cultured Vegan Cheese Success!

You know that old saying “necessity is the mother of invention”. That is a mantra in my life whether it’s building a needed coffee table out of an old pallet, a cat tree out of driftwood or cultured vegan cheese out of cashews. Yes that’s right, I have been fine tuning the art of great vegan cheese making recently.

The necessity to get started down this road came from a move away from the Sunshine Coast and my dear friend and amazing vegan cheese maker Andrea of The Artisans Kitchen. For the last year I have been enjoying her amazing Casheese creations. Brie, strong cheddar, mozzarella, cream cheese, yogurt. She did the impossible – she made dairy better using plants.

Being neighbours with Andrea was a big bonus because Deb and I often got to try new delicious cheese varieties as they were being created.

Now living 500km away with mountain passes between us means no more cultured cashew cheese for us – or at least that’s what I thought it meant until Deb asked me a great question about a month ago. It turned out that she was missing Andrea’s cheese too and was probably tired of me complaining about not having it available anymore. She said “Can I buy you a gift?” I don’t think she has ever asked me that before so I said YES. Twenty minutes later I had two new books on my iPad by Mikoko Schinner that have changed everything. I suddenly had the power to create my own cultured cashew cheese right here at home.

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Just like the first time I made almond milk or kombucha or tofu I was intimidated by the idea of making something as fancy as cultured cheese. I read both of Miyoko’s books from cover to cover starting with her original Artisan Vegan Cheese where I learned how rejuvelac is used as the culturing agent in all of her cheese recipes. It sounded a bit daunting – soak, rinse, sprout, rinse, wait. Then I read her latest book The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples and found she’d created an ‘easy rejuvelac’ recipe that was quicker with less steps.

That was all I needed to boost my confidence and when I realized I had everything I needed to get started already in my kitchen – raw cashews, quinoa & nutritional yeast I didn’t hesitate to begin.

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-2-22-17-pmThe cheese I loved the most from the Artisans Kitchen was the brie. So that is how I started. I  soaked some quinoa to start the easy rejuvelac and about 3 days later was I starting the process of making brie with it. The cheese making itself took just two days and when I took my first bite of the finished brie I was totally stunned by how good it was. Our pup Francis (see photo above) agrees and has been enjoying cheese and crackers with us on a daily basis since.

Basically Miyoko is a genius and her recipes are next level unique. She dedicated a year of her life to creating and fine tuning her recipes and then chose to share them so mere mortals could make amazing vegan cheese. The nice part is she does a great job explaining everything so even newbies like me feel confident. I felt called to share my excitement with you so you had the tools to be a wicked vegan cheese creator.

To date I have made and loved:

Cheese Plate

Our Christmas Day brunch

Brie – simply divine

Cranberry Brie – holiday favourite

Melty Cheddar – amazing in mac & cheese

Melty Mozzarella – fabulous on pizza or in calzones

Lemon Chèvre – spectacular

 

I have also followed her recipes and made cheese danishes using my own brie, fab cakes (think crab cakes), pumpkin buns and calzones loaded with my own mozzarella. OMG. All so so good.

So my suggestion is if you are not lucky enough to live on the Sunshine Coast and order Andrea’s Casheese is to get both of Miyoko’s books from the library or from your favourite book seller and start playing! Seriously easy and seriously delicious!

I am exited to be offering my unique online program called Beyond Vegan again starting January 23, 2017. This is an opportunity for a small group of women who are interested in exploring veganism using both practical tools like menu plans and cooking videos and in depth discussions on food as a metaphor for how we choose to live and what we choose to consume.

“This is definitely something I would recommend to anyone who is curious about the why behind veganism. Beyond Vegan gave me a community of like-minded people to talk to and made me feel empowered in more ways than one”! – Rebekah Nemethy (New York)

For more information on this paradigm altering program click HERE

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