Hi Karen! It's great to have you here answering questions and sharing your processes. Reading your reply to the query about cheddar, I appreciate your approach. I've made a few nut based cheeses and have enjoyed the results, even if they weren't all that much like the cheese they were based on (a blue vein and a white mould) they were delicious and satisfied the desire for tang and funk. The few non fermented cheeses I've made have pleased me a lot less, and I'm to the point where I keep walking if I see any cheese recipe using nutritional yeast; I don't think it tastes at all cheesy and has an odd aftertaste.
The fridge temperature controller arrived last week so I'll soon have better control over the ageing, yay! What better use for a bar fridge?
I wonder if you've had any success in creating a nut based cheese that can fill the role of a grated Parmesan/Pecorino? I don't need melty, just that set of flavours and texture that will work to enhance pizzas and pasta dishes. Look forward to hearing from you on this.
Thanks for the link to the Facebook page on Vegan Cheese experimentation.
I agree as well with your take on nutritional yeast-seasoned non-fermented cheeses.....with one possible exception being a quick-n-dirty addition of a bit of nootch to almond flour along with a bit of salt as a grated parmesan substitute. That satisfies the parmesan needs of the average plate of spaghetti, although I have not tried to use it for any other dishes. Hoping to hear as well what Karen may have to say on your question. I suspect that cheese-making from the plant side of things is just in its infancy and a lot of terrain to still be explored.
“The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”― Albert Einstein
I did try the quick almond and nooch, but I can only tolerate the stuff in tiny doses. I've read in a couple of places that fermented pine nuts taste Parmesan-like, but without an actual recipe, I'm not willing to risk such an expensive ingredient. I tried culturing ground walnuts and ended up with an extremely powerful flavour, not actually good in large doses, but it might dehydrate well. Just have to dig out the dehydrator 😄
I have enjoyed reading about everyone's experiments and approaches. In general my objective has never really been to try and replicate or copy dairy cheeses. I have been allergic to dairy since I was a child, so I don't think I have the same nostalgia for cheese as some, and so my focus has been primarily 2 fold: 1. investigate cheesemaking as a practice, understand the role of cultures and methods, 2. make plant based cheeses that are their own cheeses in their own right.
that said with my company Blue Heron Creamery, I have had some success in developing an almond based cheese that ages for 6 months -12 months that tastes very much (I've been told) between parmesan and very sharp cheddar. The key really is aging, and knowing which methods will encourage certain kinds of flavor development.
Congratulations on getting the rest of your equipment to use your bar fridge as a cave!!
Allergic from childhood is would be both an advantage and disadvantage in your explorations. I got in a fair few (delicious) years before dairy turned on me, so I have clear, fond recollections. I like most strong flavours, even natto, but mostly they ring an odd note when used in western cuisine to replace the roles of cheese. What I want is flavours that will 'fit in', not necessarily replicate.
Your aged almond Parmesan/Cheddar cheese sounds like something I would enjoy; is this recipe in your book? I have some, limited experience with making dairy cheese, so waiting 6-12 months doesn't faze me 😀
The almond cheese I make is proprietary to my company Blue Heron Creamery, but I would be willing to share the basic method/core concept with you. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are some specific things I am not fully able to share because some of the IP belongs to the company, but with respect to the second book, I am working to make more of that content available in a more open way.
In general, with aging a lactic acid cultured nut cheese, an almond or almond/cashew mix or almond/pine nut mix can be aged through repeated brining processes and pressing, and of course air drying/cave aging (bar fridge!) for several months to yield a fully hard cheese. Pressing and brining help to pull out excess moisture, and create a hard cheese, which can end up tasting very much like a parmesan.
I hope this is helpful, and please feel free to email me !