rosefox: A cheerful chef made out of ginger. (cooking)
Rose Fox ([personal profile] rosefox) wrote2014-09-20 01:11 am

"CHEESE OF THE DEVIL!"

The subject line is what [twitter.com profile] jamessacorey said when I claimed that J and I had made almond mozzarella. But we did! Here's photographic proof:

a small wheel of white cheese

And here's what it looked like on pizza:

a small pizza covered with tomato sauce, melted cheese, and pieces of sopressata

Yes, it shreds and melts, thanks to the magic of kappa carrageenan, though it doesn't get stretchy (I'd have to add xanthan gum for that) and it doesn't love direct heat. I made that pizza with 10 minutes in the toaster oven preheated to 450F followed by 4 minutes under the broiler, and it came out fine. But when I put slices of the cheese (not shreds) on top of bread and toasted it, with the toaster oven starting out cold and heating the toast from both above and below, the cheese got an odd sort of thin crinkly skin on top, though it was lovely and melty underneath. It had only started to brown slightly when I took the toast out, but I'm sure it would brown well if given the chance.

It is far FAR better than any storebought vegan mozzarella I've ever had. The flavor is perfect, milky and mild. The texture is a little solid, almost rubbery; it would be perfect for something like deep-fried cheese sticks but it's not quite right for eating on crackers. There's a "buffalo mozzarella" recipe that cuts the carrageenan from 4 tsp to 3 with all other proportions the same, and I might try that next, since I still have some almond milk in the fridge.

Oh yes, this is made from homemade almond milk: almond meal + water + Vitamix + 2 minutes. (I love the Vitamix so so so much; very grateful to [livejournal.com profile] auntyglory for that housewarming present.) So the complete and total ingredient list for the cheese:

Almond meal
Water
Tapioca starch (aka tapioca flour)
Refined coconut oil
Kappa carrageenan
Lactic acid powder (lemon juice can be substituted)
Salt

That's it. And making it was pretty simple, though it required some elbow grease (provided by the mighty [personal profile] sinboy): blend the non-acid ingredients*, heat in a nonstick pot over medium-low, stir frequently until it goes through the curdled stage and becomes glossy and goopy and thick (and reaches 175F internal temperature), remove from heat, rapidly mix in acids, pour into a mold and let cool, put in the fridge to set. I keep it wrapped in paper towels to absorb excess moisture that gradually rises to the surface, so the cheese gets firmer over time.

* The recipe recommends blending everything except the acid and the oil and adding in the oil in the pan. This doesn't make sense to me, since the Vitamix can emulsify the mixture far better than a person could manage by hand. Maybe the oil becoming fully incorporated into the mixture would be a sign of cooking progress? Still, I should probably try it the way the recipe recommends, to see whether that affects the cheese's texture in some way.

In short: chemistry is pretty incredible. And delicious.

The recipe is from The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook, which is nonstop amazingness from cover to cover. The book is inexplicably self-published; I don't know why it isn't being brought out by a trad publisher and marketed the way Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese was, but the only place to buy it is from the author's website. So if you're interested in making your own vegan cheese (and butter and whipped cream and sour cream and all sorts of other fake dairy products), please support awesome queer vegan self-publishing chefs and buy a copy. I recommend the PDF edition, which is full of seriously impressive photos.

Now to decide what to make next: mild cheddar or Swiss. The Swiss calls for extra-dry vermouth, and I'm not sure we have any... must check with J, who's in charge of the liquor cabinet.
akycha: (Default)

[personal profile] akycha 2014-09-20 02:44 pm (UTC)(link)
WOW. That is one impressive cheese. Mozzarella is hard with dairy product: what a lovely result with almonds!

You have totally sold me on this cookbook!
dantesspirit: (Default)

[personal profile] dantesspirit 2014-09-20 04:24 pm (UTC)(link)
*jealous*

I'm going to have to try this. I have everything except the kappa carrageen.}:P
dantesspirit: (Default)

[personal profile] dantesspirit 2014-09-21 04:21 am (UTC)(link)
I will defintely check them out! }:)
vixy: (teacup)

[personal profile] vixy 2014-09-21 06:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Groovy! Definitely gonna share this with some dairy-free folks I know.

[identity profile] browngirl.livejournal.com 2014-09-20 04:22 pm (UTC)(link)
*COPIES DOWN AND SAVES*

[identity profile] sariel-t.livejournal.com 2014-09-20 05:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Super cool!!

[identity profile] icecreamempress.livejournal.com 2014-09-22 04:01 am (UTC)(link)
That looks wonderful. Thanks for the pointer to the book, which I am ordering right now!

[identity profile] hitchhiker.livejournal.com 2014-09-25 06:12 am (UTC)(link)
that's pretty impressive!