Vegan Aged Cheddar Cheese
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This aged, sliceable, dry, and sharp cheddar cheese is perfect on crackers, with fresh fruit and raw nuts, or on a cold sandwich!
Author:
Recipe type: Side, Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked 4-8 hours or overnight, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened almond yogurt
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1.5 tsp probiotic powder
  • ⅔ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • ⅓ cup brown miso
  • 1.5 tsp salt (plus more when drying cheese)
  • 5 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 3 Tbsp agar agar powder
Instructions
  1. Prepare the cashews.*
  2. At least four hours after soaking the cashews, put the cashews, water, probiotic powder, nutritional yeast, miso, and salt into a blender. Process until smooth and creamy, stopping as needed to completely blend the mixture. The final liquid should be a rich, golden-yellow cream.
  3. Pour the mixture into a clean glass bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit on the counter 48 hours to culture and deepen the cheddar flavor.
  4. Two days later, pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and add the tapioca flour and agar powder to the pot.
  5. Whisk the mixture together until it is smooth and creamy and does not have any lumps.
  6. Set out your mold so that you will be able to spread the cheese into it quickly after it is done cooking. I use a 8"x8" square silicone mold** because the cheese pops right out when it has been chilled.
  7. Slowly heat over medium-low heat, stirring and scraping the sides constantly with a spatula.
  8. As the cheese heats it will go through several stages: it will become smooth and stretchy, then small lumps will appear as the agar and tapioca begin to combine and thicken the cheese, then the mixture will smooth back out but will be thicker than the beginning. All of these stages together only takes 8-10 minutes, but differing stove tops and temperatures may cause the time to be shorter or longer during each section-- be prepared for an arm workout stirring! I know that the cheese is done, when after the lumps have smoothed back out, the cheese begins to stick a little to the bottom of the saucepan even though I am constantly stirring. If you are not sure that you have cooked it long enough, do not be afraid to cook it longer! You won't hurt the cheese by cooking it longer, and the cooking time only changes the texture of the cheese, not the edibility!
  9. Once the cheese is done cooking, quickly spread the thick mixture into your mold and smooth the top.
  10. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours until firm.***
  11. Once firm, lightly salt the top of the cheese and then carefully pop the cheese out onto a wire cooling rack. You may have to run a butter knife along the edge of the cheese.
  12. Lightly sprinkle salt the remaining edges with salt.
  13. Make sure that the cheese has plenty of air flow around all the edges, and then let it sit out to air dry for four days.
  14. After four days, carefully flip the cheese to its other side. I do this by placing another cooling rack on top of the cheese and then quickly flipping it to the other side and pulling the original rack off.
  15. After another four days, cut the cheese into the desired portion sizes (I usually quarter mine), wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
  16. The cheese will keep up to a month in the refrigerator.
Notes
*The estimated preparation and finish times do not include the time needed to soak the cashews, the 48 hour interval when the cheese is culturing, or the time needed to air-dry the cheese.
**When you are ready to cook and mold the cheese, either use a silicone mold or line a glass or metal pan with plastic wrap or cheesecloth. I have used everything from casserole dishes to Pyrex bowls as molds, so just look in the cupboard and decide the shape you would like for the cheese. If you are going to make a lot of cheese, I highly recommend getting a silicone mold for your cheese block!
***If you do not want to air-dry the cheese, you can stop at this point and keep the cheese in the fridge to use like a regular cheddar block. However, the cheese has a sharper flavor and slices better when it has been air-dried.
Additionally, please know that when the cheddar cheese is air drying, it is normal for the cheese to darken in color (this occurs as the cheese forms a rind) and develop numerous lines and cracks throughout the cheese.
Also, during the air-drying process, particularly when the cheese is flipped at the four-day mark, you may notice a few orange or white spots on the new top, original underside of the cheese. Simply scrape these off gently with a knife and continue to let the cheese air dry. The spots are merely superficial and will not cause any damage to the cheese if removed.
The serving size and nutritional information are general estimates based upon the ingredient amounts.
Nutrition Information
Servings: 1/16 of the finished cheese Calories: 253 Fat: 12.2g Saturated fat: 4.1g Unsaturated fat: 8.1g Trans fat: 0g Carbohydrates: 27.9g Sugar: 9g Sodium: 540mg Fiber: 3.8g Protein: 9.7g Cholesterol: 0mg
Recipe by Shalom Homestead at https://shalomhomestead.com/vegan-aged-cheddar-cheese-oil-free/