Challenging Cheddar

Freshly made cheddar that firmed up nicely

If you’re new to cultured vegan cheeses, my recommendation is that you start with the Basic Cashew Cheese. However, most people seem to plunge right into the Sharp Cheddar. And the report has been generally good with one caveat: that some people struggle with getting the texture right, that is, firm enough. Rest assured, even if your cheddar is fairly soft, if you’re patient enough to age it in your refrigerator for 8 – 16 weeks, it will get much firmer and become sliceable (not to mention much tastier). But if you want something you can slice right away, you’ll want to pay attention to the following three tips:

1. Soaking time is critical for a successful semi-hard cheese. Unfortunately, your equipment will dictate how long you have to soak your cashews, but keep in mind that the longer they soak, the more water they absorb, and the softer the cheese will be. It will all be fine in a matter of weeks or months, but if you don’t have that high-speed blender, your cheese will come out a little soft. This shouldn’t affect taste, however, and it will still be great in a grilled cheese or a mac and cheese. Here’s a picture of a Sharp Cheddar I made when I soaked the cashews way too long…still made a great cheese sauce.Β 
2. How long you culture the cheddar is key — don’t just assume that because the recipe says 24 to 72 hours that anywhere in between is okay. You have to taste it every day, or twice a day, until it is sufficiently sharp in flavor. It will really start to taste like cheddar, not nutritional yeast. You have to trust your taste buds and judgment, and give it the time for the cheese to culture properly. In some circumstances and weather, it may take 4 days or more, although the average is 48 to 72 hours. As it cultures, it will thicken some as well. Don’t start cooking it until it is ready. Only you can tell.

3. How you cook it determines its firmness. Be sure to cook it until it is really shiny (like cheese, which means that the oil is being released, and the starch in the cashews are thickening) and pulls away from the sides of the pot. This may take 3 Β to 10 minutes, depending on how high you have the heat, the type of stove, etc. Be sure to stir almost constantly with a wooden spoon. It will become very thick, like a shiny bread dough, with some air pockets. Pack it into a mold and refrigerate until completely cool before removing it.Β 

Okay, there you have it for the somewhat challenging cheddar. Let me know how it turns out!

Comments

  1. Miyoko – thanks for all of the ongoing tips and tricks. This vegan cheese business is quite a new learning, and I love the fact that there’s so much *customisation* and *instinct* involved.

    We’ve got jars of everything fermenting to make your cheeses, it’s all very exciting… Thanks!!

  2. People need to understand that most dairy cheeses (other than something like cottage or farmer cheeses) are not made in a few minutes or even overnight. You are frequently, if not almost always, looking at MONTHS of aging (or longer) before the cheese is ready for consumption, whether you are creating small-batch, home made cheese, or large-batch, industrial made cheese. I have the beginnings of Rejuvelac going right now, in order to start in on some aged cheeses, but in the meantime I will def be doing the “quickie” cheeses (which I’ve done in the past, and had great success with). It’s like wine, beer, and love- takes time, peeps!

    • Exactly, Carolyn. That’s what I keep telling people! Wine, cheese, and some of us, improve with age! Have fun with the recipes! You might want to try the almond ricotta (instant, other than soaking the almonds) and make the stuffed shell recipe. It’s a winner.

  3. my sharp cheddar is in the fridge at the moment ageing. It is quite hard already but I am going to leave it as long as I can to see how hard it will get! Mine is darker than yours, I’m assuming that’s the kind of miso I used though, I had barley which is quite strong, I may start using white miso instead so the flavour isn’t so strong in every cheese I try. I’ve also done the oat cheese and we’re having the meltable mozzarella for dinner tonight, it looks lovely! Thanks for the book, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve cooked so far and am excited to keep trying more!

    • Anna, it will be a couple of months before it gets really hard. To prohibit mold, you might want to dip it in some white wine. I generally don’t have trouble with mold for the sharp cheddar (I’ve kept it for months and months), but this will ensure its good keeping. Good luck!

  4. I’m about to tackle this one and I’m happy to get the ongoing support! Thank you for your AWESOME recipes!!!

  5. Please publish your great new book on Vegan Cheese in a kindle format soon. The recipes look fantastic and I am eager to try them all.

  6. Greetings Miyoko! I received your book on Tuesday and already made 3 batches of rejuvelac, cashew cheese, mozzarella, the brie, and my gruyere will be 24hrs done when I get home. These first three taste incredible, though I need a better blender to get the texture more smooth, and I’ve ordered the kappa carrageenan through willpowder.com. I am so so so thankful for your hard work and dedication to this, as I have been aware of fermented vegan food from Sandor Katz’ book for several years. However, the quality of your cheeses is amazing and the book is easy to read with great descriptions and photos, it’s absolutely a game-changer for your average vegan chef. I’m dying to turn on local vegan and non-vegan restaurants to your cheeses, if only I had a commercial kitchen (we’ll see). There is NO REASON why these cheeses can’t fully replace dairy cheese (and expensive oily processed cheeses, for that matter, DIY!)… all to the benefit of cows and their calves, the environment, and all the soon-to-be vegans who never knew what they were missing, till now!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  7. Miyoko,

    Just want to let you know that I’m trying an experiment… To cut down on excessive moisture in the step where we are soaking the cashews, I’m actually soaking them in Rejuvelac instead, banking on not needing to add very much more Rejuvelac once we’re at the blending stage. The consistency is coming out pretty nice, and there seems to be much less liquid in the cashew blob I’ve got aging on my countertop right now. I think this might turn out a harder product more quickly? We’ll see!

    Best,
    Gabriela

  8. Do you think coconut yoghurt will work? I’m in Canada and soy yoghurt are hard to find. The only one I have access to only has flavoured and even the vanilla is very strong. Thank you.

    • You can definitely try. Or you could use the coconut yogurt as a starter and make your own soy yogurt. Most coconut yogurts I’ve tasted are pretty sweet.I’m not sure what kind you can get there.

  9. HI, Brie question. I did not have a 6″ cake pan and used a small bundt pan. When I took it out of the fridge I noticed that a lot of the oil had “bled” out of the cheese. Being in a bundt pan it leaked out. I assume cheeze won’t be quite as rich now but am wondering if it does the same in a regular cake tin, pool at the bottom, or did I do something wrong. Smells delicious, it is drying now. The Swiss is still quite soft, does it harden after a while too, it cannot be sliced, only spread.

    • Which Brie did you make? I would need to know in order to assess what went wrong. No, it shouldn’t be oozing oil. Some separation clearly occurred – it could not have emulsified in the first place, or if it is one of the bries that are cooked, you may have cooked it too long to the point where the oil separated. The shape of the pan in irrelevant. Again, which Swiss are you making? Did you use powder or flaked agar? In this case, it may not have been cooked long enough if the agar didn’t set. Unfortunately, there is a learning curve to many of these cheeses, just like baking.

  10. Regarding mold on the sharp cheddar. I soaked the raw cashews for 6 hours, and blended them in my food processor and bullet. They were still too dry, so I used more quinoa rejuvelac than called for. (About 3 cups.) It looked and tasted good. Uncooked, it has been sitting out in a glass container with sealed lid for 52 hours. This morning, it had 1 inch diameter delicate, fluffy white circles on top. We scraped off and discarded the top layer. The rest still smells the same as before, but stronger. Is it safe to continue?

    • Ooh, fluffy, delicate white circles…yum. I’m not an expert on mold, but I’ve read that it’s safe to scrape mold off of certain things but not others (cheese is okay, while cutting off mold off a strawberry is not). I don’t know if anyone has ever studied vegan cheese. But 3 cups of rejuvelace for 2 cups of cashews is a lot. I would expect it to get moldy. But it may also be because you used a sealed container. I do put a lid on my cheeses while culturing, but they are not airtight. The cheese mixture in your blender (or food processor, where it won’t get a smooth) will indeed look very, very thick and perhaps somewhat dry. Also, I’m a little surprised because the higher salt content of the cheddar usually prevents mold better than some of the other cheeses (which, by the way in my experience, usually do not get moldy during the culturing phase). I would also question the reliability of the starter (rejuvelac) that you used and whether the probiotics were alive. Did you make it, and did it taste tangy and lemony at the outset?

    • I knew it was recipe suicide as I poured in all that lovingly cured rejuvelac. I didn’t know how else to make the cashews look “smooth and creamy”. With correct proportions, the best my processor would give me was a cookie dough texture. Would that have been good enough to culture?

    • The mixture is smooth and creamy, but it’s also thick like a cookie dough. I guess that should be in the explanation.

  11. Thanks for your quick response! I did make the rejuvelac, using the recipe on page 6 of VAC. It tasted tangy from day one, but was not what I’d call lemony. It didn’t smell like citrus, nor did it make my mouth pucker. The quinoa sprouts developed in step one had the same tangy taste. The water I added to them went white immediately, and I cultured it for 3 days with no change in taste or smell. So, maybe the sprouts weren’t right. I think I’ll play it safe, dump this batch, sterilize everything and start over. I really appreciate your inspirational recipes and the fact that you took time to answer my question.

    • Did it taste or smell off? If so, it was bad. But if it was tangy, it was probably fine. I find that quiona rejuvelac tastes different from brown rice or wheat berries. Also, note that it can take 5 – 6 days to make rejuvelac.

  12. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it – great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on Petitchef.com.

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use http://en.petitchef.com/?obj=front&action=site_ajout_form or just go to Petitchef.com and click on “Add your site”

    Best regards,

    petitchef.com

    • I’m a bit frantic right now- I’d appreciate advice from anyone! I made my cheddar mix today and it’s fermenting right now- but I just discovered that my carrageenan is probably the wrong type! The oat cheese I made never hardened completely despite my adding an extra T of agar to achieve a cheddar-like sliceability like the instructions suggested. It is still like a slightly jello-y spread after 24 hours. I am going to order the right carrageenan but it will take 2 days at least to arrive- can I put my cheddar mix in the fridge to slow the fermenting? Thanks so much!
      -April

    • April, yes, you can put it in the fridge. I do that all the time when I realize I don’t have time to finish a cheese. No worries! Just bring it up to room temperature before taking the next step. Good luck!
      Also, the cheddar takes 2 – 3 days in my kitchen to culture, so you might just get your carrageenan in time.
      Another thing you can do is follow the agar instructions for Pub Cheddar, substituting rejuvelac for the beer, using agar instead of carrageenan (are you making Sharp Cheddar?). Just FYI.

  13. Hi Miyoko! Do you think to make the cashew cream cheese i could replace the unsweetened plain non dairy yogurt with rejuvelac? if so how much would you suggest. I live in Canada and it is impossible to find unsweetened plain non dairy yogurt here – soy or otherwise. I know there is a recipe for homemade yogurt in the book but to make it for the first time you also need plain unsweetened non dairy yogurt. I’ve made a batch of the cream cheese with plain almond milk yogurt (it was the plain non dairy yogurt that had the least amount of sugar in it) that is culturing right now so fingers crossed but if it doesn’t work out I’m looking for a plan B.

    Any suggestions?

    • No, rejuvelac will make it taste like chevre. Interesting how different cultures yield different flavors! GO ahead an use a plain, sweetened yogurt, or even vanilla yogurt, as the culture. You only need 2 tablespoons, so it will not affect the flavor too much. You can use sweetened yogurt as the starter for your own homemade if that is all you have.

  14. I made the smoked provolone last night using 6 T agar flakes (carrageenan hasn’t come yet). Put it in the fridge overnight and this morning it is kind of gelatinous but really not set up (maybe like jam). And it has sand-like hard tiny chunks in it. I assume I messed up the cooking stage and something went wrong with the agar. Did I not cook it long enough? What would happen if I put it back in the pan and tried to cook it again? Thanks for your help.

  15. I made the sharp cheddar (not the air-dried one) after reading all your tips and it is tasting so spot on! I was skeptical after blending the ingredients together, but after 48 hours of culturing, it really took on a cheddar taste and the nutritional yeast taste went away. I live in Phoenix where I keep the thermostat at 80 degrees and higher most of the year. So I really think those who say it tastes like nutritional yeast are not culturing their cheddar long enough. Also, I accidently fell asleep when I soaked my cashews for the cheddar, so they soaked 8 hours. I drained them and let them sit unsoaked for 4-5 hrs and that seemed to dry them enough that I now have a fairly firm cheddar. I am planning a big fondue night thanksgiving weekend using the hard gruyere, sharp cheddar (not air-dried), air-dried emmentaler, and the chipotle queso (forget what it’s called in the book). Have to say the gruyere and emmentaler are amazingly spot on in flavor too. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the work you put into this book. I would like to know how many cashews you went through in the experimentation process!

    • I’m glad you found success with it! Yes, I agree that folks who say that the cheddar tastes like nutritional yeast simply aren’t culturing it long enough. This is the cheese that omnivores often like the most, saying that it is similar to cheddar, so I know that when it is made right, that it is pretty spot on. Thanks for the comments and have a happy Thanksgiving!

  16. Hi, Miyoko – I found that I can process cashews into a fine powder, without soaking in water, by using my coffee grinder. Would this be a good alternative to use for the cheese making, in order to reduce the liquid?

    thanks!

    • Elaine, it might. I’ve never tried that. However, I have used raw cashew butter instead of cashews, and of course, that does not need to be soaked. About 4 1/2 ounces of raw cashew butter equals a cup of raw cashews. Give it a try and see how it works!

  17. Challenging indeed. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but when I went to cook the cheddar, it almost immediately separated from the pan, and in very short order all the coconut oil wept out of it, pooling, splashing, and generally making a mess. I poured it off and kept stirring, but never did get a smooth, glossy product. I finally got tired of stirring and just plopped it into molds anyway, and it is cooling now. We’ll see. It tastes good, but I’m not sure what kind of texture I’m going to get. BTW, I think the reason so many folks jump right in to the cheddar recipe is because the commercial products are so wretched. 8-D

    • Kelly, there is no coconut oil in the sharp cheddar. Try making it without oil. Wrap your cheese in cheesecloth and let it dry in the fridge for a few weeks.

      • My confusion; I was making the gruyere fondue base at the same time, which does have refined coconut oil in it. I put almond oil in the cheddar, as the canola oil had gone off. Still, it wept out. The fondue, on the other hand, was fabulous tonight! Good suggestion on the cheesecloth. We’ll see if I can leave the cheddar alone long enough for it to dry out. As I said before, it tastes fine. πŸ™‚

        • Kelly,

          I had the same problem a few minutes ago. I came back to this site to see if anyone else had the same issue. I do know that I soaked the cashews for too long and added the agar and xanthan gum way too soon.

          Did your cheddar ever come together after aging in the frig? I cooked and stirred constantly as directed, looking for that smoothness. It never happened. The oil would separate and then come back together. The texture was that of cookie dough. It never became smooth. I went ahead and put it into a mold and I’m hoping for the best, particular since it seems there a streams of oil around the edges.

          All in all, it smells and tastes unbelievably like cheddar. It even has the mouthfeel. Of course, my house now smells like a stinky cheese factory. But right now that’s a wonderful thing! In fact, I just started soaking some more cashews so that I can practice again and have a supply of cheddars aging.

          I think this cheddar just sealed the deal for me experimenting with veganism. Now I just need to try Miyoko’s burger recipe and the decision will probably be settled.

          Lisa

          • Just read the tips page. I have a better idea of where things may have gone off track. I feel a little better equipped to handle the next batch of cheddar now.

  18. Malgorzata says:

    I’ve made sharp cheddar, but I can not understand from the book, how to store it. I’ve wrapped it in the foil (cling film) and then put into ziplock bag and keep it in the fridge. Is it ok? It is some air in the foil, as I sliced a piece.

    Sharp cheddar was delicous after culturing, but it’s changed a lot after cooking with agar (carageenan is not available in the place where I live). The first flavour is agar now. I wonder, whether it is possible to reduce the amount of agar (I followed the book and added 1 tablespoon of agar for 1 cup of cashews). Cheddar is very solid, I can easily slice it.

    • It’s best to store the cheeses in something like waxed paper, really. If it’s in something somewhat permeable, it will continue to dry out over time and become really nice and hard. Plastic wrap is fine, and I suggested that for the general public, but I actually buy various kinds of paper and film specifically made for cheese. But waxed paper works well, too.

      I don’t know why the flavor would change. Agar doesn’t taste like anything. It should not affect the taste unless you bought sweetened agar. It is necessary to cook the cheese, or it will continue to get really tangy and become quite overwhelming. The cheese will continue to get sharper and develop more flavor over time, but the tanginess will not develop once cooked. What brand agar did you use? That is really strange.

      • Malgorzata says:

        Thanks, I will buy waxed paper.

        To me agar smells and tasts like a fish. I use agar produced by Arche, also tried another company’s one with the same result. I would say, that after cooking with agar, cheddar has lost it’s beautiful sharpiness.

        • I just googled Arche agar, and the description of the “faint seaside aroma” is funny. Powdered agar we buy here has no smell or taste whatsoever. Also, I used to use traditional stick-form of agar in Japan, and that did not have a smell, either. I am wondering if Arche agar is actually Irish Moss, from which carrageenan is derived, and does have a seaweed smell. Bizarre. My suggestion is that you omit it next time, and just cook it without the agar. You can add 2 -3 tablespoons of tapioca if you like. It will still thicken, although not as much. Pour it into a cheesecloth-lined mold, and when cold, take it out and let it dry out in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. It will become sliceable. Not as instant, but you can avoid using the agar. Good luck.

          • Malgorzata says:

            Thank you Miyoko very much. The taste of sharp cheddar is so great, that I do not want to loose it for the fishy flavour πŸ˜‰
            I will try with tapioca. I do hope it has neutral taste πŸ˜‰ Should I use tapioca pearls or tapioca flour? I have never used it so far, so I don’t know, how the pearls behave during the cooking process.
            I will also look for other agar producers, I hope that I will find the neutral one.

            After your previous comment I searched for waxed paper and… it is not available where I live or maybe it has got another name? ‘ve found silicone papers, but I am not sure, whether it can be used instead of waxed one.

  19. Hello

    I have a question about sharp cheddar. It’s about aging it. It’s cooled down, and have been in the fridge for 12 hours in ceramic bowl with cling film over it. I have now wrapped it in cling film a stored in a fridge. Is this the right way to go? I understand it will take several weeks/ months for it to age. I would be devastated if it would get moldy, during the process. Someone have said above, something about aging it on a rack? I need some help here πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Mags. After it has firmed up enough to remove from the bowl, wrap it in waxed paper or cheesecloth and let it age in the fridge for a few weeks. It will dry out and improve in flavor. Good luck!

  20. Hi Miyoko!

    I continue to be stunned and amazed by your recipes. Thanks again!* I just made my first batch of the Sharp Cheddar moments ago. However, I got a bit ahead of myself and the recipe. I mistakenly put the agar powder and xanthan gum already. Nearly killed my blender, it was so thick! I actually had to finish it in my food processor.

    I am so excited by the taste already. Do you think it will be okay to sit out at room temperature to ferment now? If so, what about cooking it in a couple of days. Will it still perform the same way as you intended in your recipe before putting in the frig to set for any length of time?

    Help!

    * Made the Tuscan Hills this past Friday. You can see my comments under that recipe page.

    • Yes, go ahead and culture it. It shouldn’t makea big difference. After cookig it, let it harden a bit then wrap in cheesecloth or wax paper. It will continue to dry out over time. Good luck.

      • Thank you so much for the quick reply! Culturing is underway.

        How do you do it? How do you come up with these incredible, REAL taste flavor profiles?!!! The stuff is simply delicious and REAL; not just good for vegan food where something about the recipe tastes or feels off somehow. That is an incredible a gift. Thank you for sharing your gift and making the vegan transition so much fun!

  21. Love the book! Just got it for my kindle, super handy in the kitchen!
    I just made the sharp cheddar but I am a little nervous because it cultured in a sort of strange way.
    After about 3 days of fermenting I spotted a tiny bit of mold on the top (white hairy mold type). Also it had a very yeasty smell, like bread dough, and seemed to have “risen” a bit , again like bread? And hd little air pockets and a fluffy texture, reminding me of a pre-ferment starter in bread.
    Well, I scraped off the top layer and finished the recipe and it is chilling now… but should I be concerned? Wondering if this is normal.

    • Hi – check out my notes in “Challenging Cheddar.” Yes, as it ferments, it rises and forms air pockets like bread. Sounds like you might have let it go a bit too long, however. I usually culture mine for about 2 days. Three is rare. What sort of lid did you have on it? I would scrape off the mold and taste it. It should taste very sharp and cheddary. Did you cook it afterwards as directed? This helps stop the fermentation, and will prevent it from getting too tangy.

  22. This book is great! I’ve had success with a batch of basic cashew cheese that I used for a Chevre and a Brie, and now I’ve got a Sharp Cheddar culturing.
    Do you have any tips on how I know if it has cultured TOO long? Mine has just started Day 4. It’s been going very slowly (this is Minnesota, so the kitchen’s not very warm). Last night I tasted it right before bed and it still just tasted like nutritional yeast. This morning I tried it again, and the nutritional yeast taste is fading slightly, but I wouldn’t say it tastes like cheddar quite yet. The problem is that all of a sudden, it’s VERY tangy in a sharp, biting way, almost unpleasantly so. Is that a normal phase before being ready? Or have I over-cultured it?

    • The problem you are having is due to the cold climate. Rejuvelac likes it best between 70 to 80 degrees, so if it’s much cooler, although it will culture, it doesn’t thrive. If it is bitter, then probably it over-cultured. However, that might actually mellow after you cook it. Cook it, wrap it in cheesecloth, adn let it age in your fridge for a couple of weeks and see where you are. These are living things, so it’s never an exact formula. Good luck.

  23. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh. The. Brie. Ommmmmmm, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom…….. I just made my first aged cheese. Made the queso day before yesterday (it rocks). But the brie…… Oh, drool. Oh, happyhappy, joyjoy. Miyoko is the Vegan Cheese GODDESS!!!!!! I don’t believe this is purely plant based! And I made it! I wanna say, “Self! Why do you lie? Haven’t I been good to you? Why you wanna clog my arteries with dairy?” And then I remember, I made it. Not a moo in site. Miyoko, you are life-changing, my friend.

  24. Oops. I just realised I posted that in the cheddar page. Sorry. It’s 4:50 a.m. Do I know where my brain is?

  25. Miyoko, have you ever made the cheddar with refined coconut oil in place of the canola?

    • Kath, refined coconut oil will make it harder. However, at home, I never use any oil at all. Also, my new cheese company, Miyoko’s Kitchen, will be making an aged cheddar called Aged English Sharp Farmhouse (aged for several weeks in our state-of-the-art aging room) which has no oil whatsoever. Glad you are enjoying the cheesemaking experience, even if you do post to the wrong post at 3 am!

      • I’m giddy with excitement for Miyoko’s Kitchen!! Told my hubby and he’s over the moon, too. Any sharp cheddar is his favourite, so we plan to fit it into our budget. I converted two confirmed Brie haters today. Hubby and my doctor. He worried that veganism would difficult, realistically speaking. Cue Kath: Doc, I brought you a treat. He’s my endo and a professor, so he had his annoying intern and two med students with him. I fed everyone Brie! Dr. I Hate Brie bashfully asked for seconds. He’s so jazzed about my new vegan way of life and he’s excited about it, and is my best vocal cheerleader. They all agreed that these cheeses make it so much easier to enjoy our food. A tablespoon of cheese works wonders with a plated rainbow. This is good. This is sane.

        • Thanks for sharing your story! Yes, a little cheese can make the world go ’round. A plated rainbow is indeed the foundation, along with whole grains and legumes, but come on, let’s have a little fun once in awhile! Enjoy!

      • Itay Raphael Oron says:

        Hi again Miyoko,

        Sorry for posting 2 questions separately but I wanted posting each question as related to the earlier post…

        I have tried to make the Air-dried aged Cheddar, salted it one time and started ageing it. Turned it over after 48 hours. Because of the cold and rainy weather we are having, we keep the windows closed most of the day so I decided to manually ventilate it from time to time using a big plastic box lid. It seemed to help drying the cheese but the next day it started cracking. I have brushed it with red wine brine but it didn`t seem to help so I wrapped it with parchment paper and put it in the refrigerator. What are you suggestion I can on my next try, taking in mind the environment conditions I have and the fact that I do not own a state-of-the-art ageing room ? πŸ˜‰

        Thank you !

  26. Is there a big difference between white miso and brown/red miso? because i purchased white miso, since its hard to get the brown one where i live.

    is there an alternative for miso? its the first time i have tried it and im not a big fan of the taste.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Federico, white miso is milder than brown. Miso is added not just to impart umami (depth in flavor), but for the enzymes it contains, which help culturing and development of flavor. Even if you don’t like miso by itself, you’ll love it in cheese!

  27. When cooking/thickening the cheese is the oil supposed to separate? Or did I cook mine too much?

  28. Hi Miyoko

    what would happen if I omit xanthum gum and canola oil, would it still harden/sliceable after cooking it and aging it in the fridge?

    thanks

    • You can definitely omit them. The oil, especially, is optional. It will get harder over time.

      • Itay Raphael Oron says:

        Hi Miyoko,

        Would omitting the carrageenan/agar be possible as well with this recipe? (Taking in mind that I can be patient about ageing it in the refrigerator…)

        Thanks

  29. Hi. I completely failed at making the sharp cheddar and now I’m trying to find out what the problem might have been. Basically I have been stirring the cheese paste with the powders for ages but there was no oil coming out of it and it looks like a dry cake dough, certainly not like cheese. Might the rejuvelac not have been right or what else could I have done wrong? Really quite frustrating to spend a week on making something that ends up in the bin.
    Thanks
    Hannes

    • Hi. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I know it’s too late, but the cheese can look like cake or cookie dough. As it ages in your fridge, the texture changes again. We cook some of the cheeses at Miyoko’s Kitchen, and the texture after aging improves greatly.

  30. Hi Myoko, I made the sharp cheddar but it separated while cooking. Do you have any suggestions as to what I can do with it now? Thank you!

    • Debbie, so sorry about the delay. I was unable to access my site for awhile. As for the cheddar, if it separated, you can let it cool down completely, then process in the food processor. That should re-emulsify it.

  31. It’s me again, the one who’s sharp cheddar separated. I think my problem is a bit more complex. You see, it separated right away when I put it in the pan to cook. I’m not sure it even cooked enough. I think I blended it too much before I even cultured it. I tried re-blending it just now to make it creamy again, the oil is still separating. Any suggestions?

    • You mean the oil separated even before you heated it? Did you add oil or omit it? I suggest omitting it next time. Overblending at any stage, if it leads to heating up the mixture, can cause separation. Let it cool then reblend.

  32. Annie Dollins says:

    Hello, A family member’s diet is limited to low FODMAP foods. Because of this change she is not supposed to eat cashews. What would be the best nut to use as a substitute given the cashew’s contribution to the cheese’s taste and texture? Thank you in advance.

  33. Helen Higgs says:

    Hi Miyoko
    If using Agar, do I need to disolve in water 1st or just add the powder straight to the cultured cheese and cook it?
    Thanks

    • You have to dissolve it first by boiling. It’s certainly not as straightforward as carrageenan, but if you prefer agar for any reason, you do need to first boil.