Artisan Vegan Cheese Review and Contest

In the 1980s we fell off the vegan wagon into a pool of melty mozzarella on a pizza. More than once. We loved cheese. With Miyoko Schinner’s new book, Artisan Vegan Cheese, I’m happy to say that we are happily indulging once again.

For most of the cheeses, the first step is making rejuvelac. Before the book was out, I’d been browsing about Amazon and spotted some for sale. I had planned to order it right before the book came out, so I could make cheese right away. As it worked out, the rejuvelac vanished. I was intimidated by making my own. What to look for? How long should the sprouted tails be? How cloudy should I let it get? In truth, I’m still not sure I got it right, but if the proof is in the cheese, I did alright.

I started with the basic cashew cheese, which I divided into quarters to make several of the recipes. We liked the chevre and the sun-dried tomato and basil, but the star was easily the boursin. Somehow, I managed to misplace the photos from these. With this first round of recipes behind me, building my cheese-making confidence, I plunged into creating a variety of cheeses for the platter below. The rejuvelac can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks. But once you get soaking those cashews, you’ll be hooked. Don’t fear the rejuvelac!

So far, I’ve tried: basic cashew cheese, cashew chevre, boursin, sun-dried tomato and basil cheese, brie, soft gruyere, hard gruyere, sharp cheddar, fresh mozzarella, air-dried gouda, air-dried cheddar, air-dried emmentaler, air-dried camembert,  meltable mozzarella, easy tofu ricotta, and the smoked provolone. The only recipe that gave me any problems was the fresh mozzarella. The taste was great, but my texture was off. Because all the other recipes were stunningly successful, I’m thinking it was something I did wrong. We’ve loved every other recipe.

 

 Since the texture was off on my fresh mozzarella, I mashed it into a tasty spread, spiked with garlic, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes.

 

I added a bit of sausage to Miyoko’s Stuffed Shell recipe because I had some leftover. The sauce on these is canned spicy marinara.

 

We absolutely flipped over the Fettucine Alfredo. I’m going to merge this recipe with my own for a bit of extra zing. Because I always add something green to my alfredo, I tossed a pound of spinach in the strainer before draining the noodles. Miyoko’s version is very close to my memory of alfredo.  Check out my recipe for it in American Vegan Kitchen, too.

 

 In keeping with my canning theme, these homemade ravioli were topped with canned marinara sauce.

Here are a couple things I’ve learned along the way that seem to work for me. I like to use mini spring form pans, lined with plastic wrap, for shaping the cheeses. They release from the plastic easily, and I can flip them right on a baking rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet. This way I can brush them with the wine/salt mixture for aging, and the extra just drips off. For more good news, most of the cheeses can be frozen. I’ve been cutting the small wheels into halves and wrapping them individually before freezing. Over the months to come, especially over the holidays, I’ll happily thaw a few kinds at a time so that we can have an almost-instant party plate.

As you can tell, I think you need this book! Want to take your chances at winning a copy? Leave a comment on this post about what you’d do with a knock-out vegan cheese! Random.org will pick the winner on 10/31 to celebrate the end of VeganMofo (and my sixth year of participation!).  Thank you to Book Pub Co. for supplying me with a contest copy. US shipping only (sorry!).  Be sure to visit Miyoko’s blog, too!

Please note: The contest is closed! Congratulations to Nicole, #29!

 

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49 Comments

  1. Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I would love to make a cheesy sauce for a great mac and cheese and would love to make a flavored monterey jack style cheese.

  2. Karen D
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I’d throw a party and show my friends how good vegan can be!

  3. Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    excellent review! I already have the book (no need to enter me in the giveaway), but I haven’t busted into it yet. i really want to try out the sharp cheddar… maybe I’ll get started on my rejuvalac this weekend. I’m still in the slightly-intimidated phase, so I appreciate your reassurances!!

  4. Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I’d start with the basics, cheese and crackers!

  5. Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I would eat a big pile of grilled cheese. yes.

  6. Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Oh my – what would I do with these cheeses? Throw a wine and cheese party of course! Oh, and I would also throw myself a little ‘whine’ and cheese pity party to celebrate the end of my busy season at work :)

  7. Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Oh, I am SO ready for this book, bring it on! I would love to serve a homemade vegan cheese at my vegan Thanksgiving celebration, straight up, with crackers! I want to really showcase how wonderful vegan eating can be!

    XOXO!

  8. DaveInMPLS
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I’d make a good old fashioned 70′s style cheese ball, complete with a slivered almond coating. I have fond childhood memories of cheeseball on New Year’s Eve.

  9. in2insight
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    You know how much I trust you.
    If you say it works, well, then… :)
    Making the rejuvela is what’s kept me away from this book.
    Cheese on Pizza is the reason I am just an Almost Vegan. Perhaps this book will give me that chance to make the last step?
    All in all, your photos and descriptions sound amazing.
    Wine and Cheese party?

  10. jody
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Great review and psyched to hear about this book. I’d probably have a cheese tasting party with matching beers or wine. It would be so fun!

  11. Leslie
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    With the help of this cookbook I could hopefully turn my vegetarian husband into a vegan! Cheese is the only thing he can’t seem to give up and store brands don’t cut it in his mind.

  12. Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    I would start out with grilled cheese because that is really the true test for me, then next up would be mac & cheese.

    Your photos look so enticing.

  13. bitt
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I would love to make a good cheese for nachos. I’m in the mood for nachos.

  14. Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow, I’d love to make some ‘cheeze’ to go with crackers and some nice Italian wine or create a nice ‘cheeze’ for pizza or a grilled cheeze sandwich to go with tomato soup! ;)
    I used to love cheese in my veg days so I’d love to be able to create vegan replacements! :)

  15. b.vicious
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I would really like to make some cheese to put on crackers, like brie.

  16. Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m excited about this book! I’ve been vegan for almost 10 years and I’ve managed to replicate a few kinds of cheese, but some of my favorites like cheddar and brie still elude me.

  17. Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Crackers and cheese with fauxsage! I miss such simple pleasures.

  18. Jen O
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    I would love to have a chance to have wine and cheese tasting parties! High class, yessss!!

  19. charj
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I would make vegan Croque Monsieur sandwiches.

  20. Charles
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    I’d be making grilled cheese sammiches non-stop! And my Italian food would get some love too.

  21. Holly
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    What would I do with cheese? Uhhh, eat it! I guess I miss cheese on pizza the most, but on anything, really.

  22. Kim B
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I have had this book on my “books wanted list” since I first heard about it. What would I do with a knock out vegan cheese? Work on converting my family to dairy free joy, that’s what. Cheese is what holds some of them back. Thanks for the opportunity.

  23. sandra z
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I would love to make a completely vegan pizza (the only reason I’m vegetarian and not vegan is mozzarella!) Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Posted October 26, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always wanted to make timbales…I have recipes for a potato, apple and camembert combo, and a beet, goat cheese and hazelnut combo, so I’d love to give those a go! Cheers!

  25. Jacqui
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Cheese is something I really do miss. I’d love to try a cheese sauce that wasn’t made with nutrtional yeast. It’s good, but no match for a “real” cheese taste. I see lots of cheesy casseroles, cheese fries, etc. in my future.

  26. Posted October 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    This is at the top of my wish list!

    If it’s vegan cheese, I’m putting it on a pizza :)

  27. Mary
    Posted October 26, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Macaroni and cheese, of course!

  28. Mari
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    I would love to try out a new cheese for Thanksgiving!

  29. Nicole
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    I’ve been wanting this book! I would love to make a vegan version of beer cheese dip or beer cheese soup! I used to be all about the beer cheese combo!

  30. Robin
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Your photos are super inspiring! What would I do with yummy vegan cheeses? Vegan cheese trays for Christmas!

  31. Erin
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I want this book so much! I think I would start with a cheese and veggie sandwich.

  32. Lizzie
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Growing up, we always did a “cold cuts” spread for Christmas Eve – I would love to recreate it with some delicious homemade vegan cheese!

    (Hey – I can’t seem to get my Google Reader to let me subscribe to you since the re-designed website…any thoughts?)

  33. Corrin Radd
    Posted October 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    I’d use it on pizza, of course!

  34. John
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    I would love to win this book! I need to make a vegan mac & cheese!

  35. Tami
    Posted October 28, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    A couple of others have had the same problem, Lizzie. But then it works when they try again! I hope it does for you, too. But if not, please let me know.

  36. Posted October 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I would love to make an Italian dinner to rival Olive Garden and sell my hubby on vegan cheese. Plus I’d love to indulge myself as well. We love ravioli and fettuccine Alfredo but I have not attempted a vegan version yet.

  37. Posted October 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I already own a copy, but would like to win one for a friend. So far I have made Brie, Air-dried Cheddar and Mozzarella di Bufala from Miyoko’s blog, but plan to make gouda and parmesan as soon as I buy more nooch and agar.

  38. Posted October 28, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    What awesome news that most of the cheeses can be frozen! I love the idea of having several on hand for an impromptu get together, party, or you know, Wednesday… :D

  39. Posted October 29, 2012 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    I am a few weeks from having my first baby and all I’ve been craving lately is grilled cheese! I love Daiya but I would really like to try my hand at making my own cheese so I can control the ingredients a bit more. I really want this book!!!

  40. megs
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    I would LOVE to make a big ol’ boozy fondue like in my pregan days.

  41. Ruth
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I grew up in Switzerland so not a day went by without cheese. Fondu, Raclette and of course “Gschwelti”, a meal of boiled potatoes and cheeses. As kids we would cut the warm potatoes and add a bit of cheese between the slices, letting them melt from the warmth of the potatoe. Oooey gooey cheese, what can be better than that (except for chocolate).

  42. Mandi
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I need stuffed shells in my mouf, please. Also, grilled cheese is a lovely weekend item but so far store bought vegan cheeses just are not quite cutting it.

  43. bitt
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I need this book! I would love to use it in a lasagna.

  44. Posted October 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    wow. such amazing recipes! i would love to make them for family gatherings, especially this year. they’ve agreed to have a ‘vegan’ thanksgiving. you know, except there will be cheese…and probably fish. at least i’d know who’s bringing the amazing vegan dishes!

  45. Jaime
    Posted October 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Would love a copy of the book!

  46. Posted October 30, 2012 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    Oh man, I want this book so much! IF it is open to Canadians, of course. :)

  47. Posted October 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I think I might bathe in a knockout vegan cheese! Nah…actually, I’d really just like to eat it Mediterranean style, with some good crust bread, olives and maybe some thinly sliced apples or pears.

  48. Posted October 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    The mini spring-forms are a great idea!

    I’d have a delicious baguette + chevre gorge session like I did when I spent my spring break in France ages ago. :)

  49. Debbie
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    I would love to win this book for my daughter! She used to love brie with fruit!

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