Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese

I love to stack cookbooks and shuffle them around, I'm really good at it. My hobby spot of choice is The Bed.  Then I turn out the lights and fall asleep dreaming and scheming about new recipe concoctions, like Buffalo Salad Rolls (that's a new recipe I made, coming later this week).

Anyway, it's one thing to boast about book cracking, and a whole 'nother thing to get crackin' in the kitchen and put a book through its paces.  Miyoko Schinner's new book Artisan Vegan Cheese is so razzle dazzling, it inspired me to get busy in the kitchen even before the book ding-donged the doorbell on my front porch (you can see a bunch of the recipes via Amazon's "search inside" link on their website).

This is August's stack, and that's Vegan Diner hiding up at the top.
I've only had this book for a few weeks, and yet I've already made five successful recipes and hope to work my way through all of Miyoko's cheeses, and then back again.  I need to pace myself tho, 'cuz cashews are spendy on the budget and spendy on the belly.  Actually, Miyoko's cheeses are so good, for the first time in 22 years, I'm reminded of my old cow cheese habit. 

While there's a bit of a learning curve to the techniques (especially on making them pretty--mine all look like the inside of a Pyrex bowl), Miyoko is super available via her blog and on a dedicated thread over at the PPK.  She's also featured in this month's Veg News with new improved versions of some of the varieties in the book.  All good stuff.

So far I've made three cheeses, quinoa rejuvelac and cashew yogurt.  Most of the cultured cheeses are made tasty with the rejuvelac and yogurt, but Miyoko's instructions are simple, easy and spot-on.  I especially recommend using quinoa for the rejuvelac (instead of a different grain), because it sprouts and ferments quickly.

Most of the recipes use about 2 cups of cashews and many require rejuvelac and/or yogurt.
The first cheese I made was the Sharp Cheddar.  This cheese is cultured for a few days and then thickened over heat and refrigerated to age.  If you can wait.  Most of mine was gone before I even had a chance to cook it.  As a raw cheese, it was great dolloped onto bowls of rice and beans, and awesome off of the finger, too.  I was a bit disappointed with the texture after I'd cooked it, but Miyoko addresses this particular issue, and the texture does not compromise the flavor one bit. I'd love to taste this one again after it's been aged for a few months in the fridge, but I'm not sure I'll be able to stop eating it long enough to make that happen.

This cheese may look like a slice of Tofurky, but OMG it's not. 
I also made a batch of Air Dried Cheddar, which I believe came out fucking awesome (sorry to be so technical).  I've been eating this on local xgfx Happy Camper bread topped with salted and peppered fresh tomato slices. Please feed me this every day.


The last cheese I made was the Fresh Mozzarella.  This was a particularly fast cheese to make, since not much culturing is required and forming the balls in water is cool!  In fact, I was so excited to make the balls I didn't culture my cheese long enough, so mine lacked tang.  Even so, I've been mashing mine up with salt, pepper, garlic and herbs and stuffing it into collard wraps with shredded beets, carrots and apples.  Very yum to the yum.  Another keeper, and yes thank you, I know I'm a hippy.
  • Title: Artisan Vegan Cheese
  • AuthorMiyoko Schinner
  • BlogThe Vegan Manifesto
  • Publisher:  The Book Publishing Company
  • Photos:  Yes, with color
  • Amazon Search Inside Link
  • Focus:  Nut based cultured cheese
  • 5 Recipes to IntrigueAir Dried Brie, Figs Stuffed with Lemon-Scented Chevre, Gruyere and Pear, Air Dried Gouda and Boursin
  • XGFXness: The cheeses are all xgfx.  The last three chapters include recipes for incorporating the cheeses into meals.  Many of these are also xgfx or can be adapted.   
 xo
kittee

45 comments:

  1. I cannot get over the look of that mozzarella!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never had fresh mozzarella before, so I don't know how to compare this. But the texture is very nice. It's firm, but soft and slice-able--and easy to mash.

      Delete
  2. Oh my, this mozzarella does look so NON-vegan O.o (in a good way) I mean it just looks absolutely f****** amazing o:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The recipes is super smart, too. Cashews are cultured then mixed with dissolved agar powder. You scoop the soft cheese into iced salt water, and they firm up immediately. Then more so in the fridge. It'd be awesome to season them ahead with spices and herbs, then ball 'em!

      Delete
  3. Yes! So excited about this! I started my Sharp Cheddar yesterday and I'm getting the rest of the ingredients for the fresh Mozz today. Cheeeeeeese!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love how everyone makes the Sharp Cheddar first! I really like the Air Dried Cheddar better, the texture is really better...

      Delete
  4. That mozz is definitely going to be first on my list! Looks amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So far the mozz has been the neatest to put together. The texture is really great, but much more mild than the other cheeses. I think it would make awesome chocolate truffles!

      Delete
  5. This book looks like so much fun!! I love all of your pictures. It definitely has me hungering to try all of them. (I laughed out loud at your line about getting technical.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cadry, the book IS fun. Besides making CHEESE, the process of everything is really interesting. I love being a kitchen scientist, tho. I am trying to learn a lot more about fermenting and the like.

      Delete
  6. I have to get this book pronto. Looks like crafty fun with food.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for your great review, Kittee! I ordered the book after your first post and my rejuvelac is almost ready. This weekend: sharp cheddar, cream cheese, and smoked provolone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smoked provolone! I need to go look at that one again. I hope yours come out!

      Delete
  8. i've never had a vegan cheese i've liked but never thought to try and make some! what a fab idea, these look awesome. vegan cooking is always so damn good. i wonder if i can make a dill cheese :) thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely could! The book has a cream cheese recipe and a very simple cultured cashew cheese. Dill would even work in the fresh mozzarella!

      Delete
  9. Woah! I am totally buying this cookbook. Gonna try the mozzarella on some pizza!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should do, Jen! There's a melt-able mozzarella that's different than the balls I made. I think you guys are gonna love this. Miss you!
      xo
      kittee

      Delete
  10. I made the Philadelphia cream cheese (blog post coming soon, I hope) and after 48 hours it tasted enough like real cream cheese to fool me, especially with roasted pepper, chives and olive bits mixed in. (After only 24 hours it tasted pretty good, too.) As you mentioned, it was pretty hard to wait. I took a cooking class about 5 years ago where we sampled a nut cheese that had been fermented with rejuvelac, which I believe had been made from wheat, and it was amazing. I'm going to use quinoa if I make more cheese. Now I'm gonna go spread some cream cheese on a rice cake.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yum! These cheeses help me fall into bad eating habits, tho. I need to make them sparingly I think. Too easy to slather on bread, instead of making veggies.

      Delete
  11. Thanks for posting, Kittee. You made this look and sound so damn intriguing that I'm buying this book in the next 3 minutes. Yay for cheeze!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should get a commission,even though I feel like a drug dealer.

      Delete
  12. Kittee! This post is amazing! I was already excited about the VegNews article, but this is even better. And because of you, I now know that Miyoko has a blog! :D Ah, so much good stuff. Thank you for giving me the confidence to try these recipes.

    adriennefriend at http://cracktheplates.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can do it! You should read the thread on the PPK, too. Miyoko has been posting lots of helpful advice. According to that thread, the recipes in VegNews are new and improved.

      Delete
    2. Thank you thank you! I will definitely check out the PPK thread. There's always so much fun to be had over there...

      Delete
  13. I am PUMPED for this book, and now you just shoved my excitement WAY over the top. Good god ...that air dried cheddar !!! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine came out really ugly, but all second attempts will be delicious and beautiful. It just takes a little forethought, which I don't have, 'cuz...CHEEZE!

      Delete
  14. Sold. Oh man I'm so excited to get my hands on this!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I gotta jump on the band wagon here and get this book. Wow these all sound cheezmazing. I don't know if icould wait for it to cook either, Kittee. The book has smoked provolone too? Wow. Thank you for posting!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the review of Artisan Vegan Cheese! Looks like this would be a big help in pushing me closer to Veganism.

    Quick question, though: Do any of the cheeses brown properly in the oven e.g. the mozzerella? It's one of the things I enjoy most about pizza.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Howdy! There are some cheeses in the book that are meltable, but I have no experience with them yet. Ask Miyoko! She is really really nice and wants to help. http://veganmanifesto.blogspot.com/

      Delete
    2. Thanks. I just noticed on one of the links you posted:
      "A tip for melting the Meltable cheeses:
      Use higher temperatures, 400 - 450, for better melting and browning. If the recipe states a lower temperature, raise it at the end to encourage the browning."

      So I guess they will brown.
      Thanks!

      Delete
  17. Thank you for the great review, Kittee! Seems like I really need this book. I used to eat a lot of cheese and most of the store-bought varieties I tried so far have been disappointing. Plus, it's awesome if you can make something so tasty yourself!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mihl! There are a bunch of recipes posted through Amazon, so maybe check that out if you're really interested. I don't think I'd want to use these cheeses as subs or stand ins for commercial vegan cheese. They're kinda too nice for that, and their flavor is super nuanced just like a really nice aged cheese. I think these are best where they can be enjoyed on their own, like on bread or on a cheese plate.

      Super yum. I have yogurt cheese, air dried gouda and pub cheese culturing now. xo kittee

      Delete
  18. Hi! I am interested in buying this book but I can't eat gluten or soy. Are there many recipes that I will still be able to use in this book? Thanks so much I really appreciate your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hi hi hi!
      all of the cheese recipes are gluten-free if you make rejuvelac from quinoa or millet. the yogurt recipe (which goes in some of the cheeses) calls for soymilk, but i used an almond coconut blend and it was great. some of the cheeses also call for miso, so you'd have to find a chickpea one, or one without soy, but that's not too hard.

      i think you'll love this!
      xo
      kittee

      Delete
  19. I just tried to make the mozzarella for the first time, and it failed! GAH dont know what i did wrong :( They firmed up nicely in the ice water, adn then since being in the fridge have gone more like balls of cream cheese and are too squishy. Did my fermenting go wrong? Are they ok to eat like this, maybe if i mix them up with some fresh herbs etc or am i going to poison myself? I had my hopes so high for my first cheese making adventure and now i dont know what to fix to make it work... :S

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mozzarella balls or the meltable mozzarella? They shouldn't have gone soft, but I can't imagine they're mushy. Did you boil the agar really well until the liquid went transparent? That's my only guess. You really should ask Miyoko, since it's her recipe.

      Can you salvage them by making stuffed shells or just eating like cream cheese?

      xo
      kittee

      Delete
    2. Also, you're storing them in the water brine, yea?

      Delete
    3. Mozzarella balls. When you grab one from the water it leaves 'cheese' all over my hand and isnt sliceable :S Yea the only thing i can think is i didnt boil it enough... i simmered it for 5 mins and it was nice and thick and didnt *look* grainy or anything. And yes i emailed Miyoko, very helpful :D And yes storing them in the salted water in the fridge. I may take a few out and freeze them in a bag then i can make something new out of them later, in the meantime i can attempt this again haha!

      Delete
    4. my first batch were firmer than my second, so maybe it does take playing with the recipe a little. the balls are very delicate, not super firm, but they should be slice-able if that's what you're after. maybe try a bit more agar and boiling until it's clear.

      Delete
  20. That moz is intense. Damn. I plan to buy this on your recommendation, so I hope the Amazon link is an affiliate one.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Kittee, great info, great review as usual! My copy of this book is coming tomorrow (hopefully, common' amazon!). Starting with the air dried cheddar sounds good b/c I was tempted to start with the sharp cheddar like everyone else, but now I know betta!

    XOXO!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I am glad that I found your blog. I made the sharp cheddar and thought that I did something wrong. I don't like the way it looks, but it tastes great. It is mild and buttery, and mine is oily because I added the oil that was optional. I hope she comes up with one that is not as grainy of texture as this one.

    ReplyDelete

I like comments, unless you're a spammer.
Spamming kills baby sea turtles.