This is the first vegan cheese that I’ve wanted blog about. Cheesy: Tick, Creamy: Tick, Tasty: Tick. It also has a depth of flavor without the need for fermenting.
Now, for those of you who are new to vegan cheese making, let me explain; vegan cheeses are generally quick and easy bung everything together type affairs or a massive faf. This second “massive faf” category includes the fermented cheeses. These cheeses do have a better, fuller, deeper flavor but let me tell you, they are a FAF! Most of them include rejuvelak. Rejuvelak is a fermented beverage (apparently easy to make) in which you culture bacteria. In the words of Bob Dylan:
Rejuvelak: You Just Kind of Wasted My Precious Time
Seriously I have made so many failed batches. I once even made one that turned bright pink. It looked kind of cool but after spending 2 hours googling why it had gone pink I found out that “moulds in the red category are seriously bad.” Another rejuvelak bites the dust. You may also want to note that a recent study found that when several bathes of rejuvelak were tested for good versus bad bacteria, 40% of the batches tested were good, 60% were bad. This clinched it for me; I wouldn’t be using rejuvelak so I set about trying to find a depth of flavour that didn’t rely on this strange fermented beverage. Here’s what I came up with…
Labna (made from a 450g pot of unsweetened soy yogurt – don’t panic, you can make this)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon cashew butter
1 tablespoon miso (preferably white miso)
1/2 teaspoon English mustard
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
OK, so the most time consuming bit is making the labna but don’t panic, it’s really not that hard and I’ve given you directions on this below.
Then simply add all the above ingredients together and mix. The mixture needs to be warmed very slightly, just enough to get the nutritional yeast flakes to melt into the rest of the mixture. I do this in a saucepan. Then load it into a sealed tub and dish out when desired. YUM!
How To Make Labna
Labna is a totally genius vegan thing. You can make it from any yogurt, here I used soy. Essentially, you are just removing excess whey from the yogurt to get a thicker, more creamy texture which makes an awesome base for sweet creams and savoury spreads.
To make, load the yogurt into a cheese cloth attached to a bowl or jar (I attach mine to a large jar with an elastic band.) Leave for 24-48 hours. You will notice that the whey has strained through and is sitting in the bottom of the bowl and you’ll have your labna in the cheesecloth.
Truly, it’s genius.