My extra mature vegan cheddar is simple to make, and is a mind-blowingly delicious, full-bodied, and robust dairy-free cheese.
I must admit that I love dairy cheese. Why then do I bother to make vegan cheddar? Quite simply because occasionally, I want something really savoury that my vegan friends can eat, which works well in a sandwich or a salad, or in a dish. For example, my cauliflower cheese.
And let’s face it, pizza without cheese is kind of like a black hole where fun goes to die.
Speaking of pizza, do try my easy meltable vegan mozzarella and my vegan parmesan. They’re both pretty darn kickass on pizza (and in a panino with avocado too)! And my nacho cheese has been declared by all who've made it to be the best they've ever had. While you're at it, my vegan ricotta is awesome in vegan bagels and 'lox'!
Extra-mature vegan cheddar
I have to admit that I have never found a commercial vegan cheese that I’ve been fond of. Mostly they just taste rather like flavoured plastic, even the ones I've seen people rave about online. It’s not just the taste, it’s the texture too. If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having those nasty squares of ‘burger cheese’ inflicted upon you, then you’ll pretty much know what most commercial vegan cheese is like.
I wanted to make one which not only tasted similar to extra-mature cheddar (the more gum-tingling, the better) but had a great mouthfeel too.
Vegan cheese, particularly cheddar, is never going to be just like cheese made with dairy, no matter how much some vegans will try to convince you otherwise. It just isn’t. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be every bit as good as its dairy counterpart.
And this is so very good.
So good in fact, that amato mio, who is the biggest cheese fan I know, and who is even more disparaging of commercial vegan cheese than I, actually declared this to be excellent. If you knew him, you’d know what high praise this is.
Is vegan cheese exactly the same as dairy?
That said, if you’re expecting an exact replica of traditional extra-mature cheddar, this is not going to be it. Let’s not fool ourselves, plants cannot produce the same results as dairy. However, if what you’re looking for is a full-bodied and robust cheese, which contains no animal products, yet is still mind-blowingly delicious, then this, my friend, is for you.
Perfection cannot be rushed
Do be aware though, that this is not for the impatient cheese lover. Like anything worth having, it’s worth waiting for. While the actual making of this cheese is very quick, waiting for it to mature is going to take the best part of a week. Waiting for the flavour to reach its fullest potential, and for the cheese to firm up, will be another couple of weeks.
But hey, delayed gratification an’ all that*.
Of course, you could make two batches at a time. One to eat as soon as it’s ripened (it makes an amazing cheese spread), and one to leave to mature.
Extra Mature Vegan Cheddar
- 1 quantity cashew cream
- 120 ml coconut oil
- 3 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tablespoon white miso paste
- 2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 70 g plain live vegan yoghurt (AKA bio yoghurt)
- Place all of the ingredients into a food processor, and whizz together until you have a smooth, creamy paste.
- Transfer to a non-reactive bowl (e.g. a glass bowl), cover with cling film, making sure it's in contact with the entire surface of the 'cheese', and set aside to culture. This will take anywhere between one and three days, depending on the temperature of your home. The warmer it is, the quicker the cheese will culture.
- Once the cheese has reached your desired tanginess, give it a stir to knock out the oxygen bubbles, then transfer it to lightly-oiled non-reactive container. Press down to make sure it’s as compacted as possible, and smooth the top.
- Cover with cling film, making sure the film touches the surface of the cheese (keeps out nasties), and place in the ‘fridge for 2-3 days to ripen – longer if you want it to be firmer and have a deeper flavour.
- Once it’s fully matured (after 2-3 weeks), this cheddar can be sliced for use in sandwiches, wraps, salads, etc. Left at room temperature, it will be soft enough to spread. If you want to grate it, then freeze it, and grate while frozen.
- Store in the ‘fridge in a Ziploc bag or wrapped in cling film.
- For the cashew cream, you will need the entire recipe's worth (c.240g).
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tablespoon = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml
**To prove my point…
I am definitely going to try this cheese, thanks for the recipe. I won't use plastic cling film though 🙂 with respect.
Do let me know how you get on with it, Alison. And also what you use instead of cling film. 🙂 xx
OK, I'm feeling like an idiot. I found that note that indicates I should use the full quantity from the cashew recipe.
I' think I'm ready to give it a try now.
I'm getting ready to try this recipe, but the measurement for the cashew cream has me confused. It calls for "1 quantity cashew cream". I notice that this amount changes in a proportionate way when I move the slider, but nothing really tells me if the one quantity is a cup, a number of grams, or what.
I'm making an assumption it is a cup, but I don't like making assumptions with recipes, especially ones new to me. I've searched your website and don't find anything that clears it up for me. Perhaps I just missed it, or I'm being particularly dense But I'm hoping you can clear it up for me. I'm really looking forward to trying the recipe.
Thank you very much.
So sorry, I've only just found your message... in the spam bin! So glad you figured it out!
How did the cheddar turn out? xx
Does this taste coconutty?
Not in the slightest, Beth! xx
thank you very much for your recipes!
I produced one cheddar version with and one without miso.
Sadly one version developed mildew. Did you encounter similar problems? I'm really careful with nuts, because mildew on nuts is toxic and can cause longterm health issues (cancer). I couldn't find any reliable information whether I can still eat my cheese or not.
Do you have a recommendation for the ideal ripening environment? As far as I know it varies heavily with normal cheese (humidity temperature) according to cheese type.
All the best Dominik
I haven't had any of my cheddar go mouldy but I did make some brie that must have been contaminated with some kind of bacteria that accidentally got in. Maybe that's what happened with yours? If you're in any doubt as to its safety, don't eat it. Beyond that, I'm afraid I can't be of much more help because I'm not there to check it. I hope you have better luck next time. xx
Hi. Just stumbled on your site. 🙂
Is there anything I could substitute for the miso?
Mom's allergic to soy.
If I try almond meal/flour instead of cashews, do I still need to cook it? Or just blend with the hot water?
Thanks for dropping by! Sorry to hear that your mum is allergic to soy but great that you want to make this cheddar to share with her! You can buy miso made with barley, rice, chickpeas, etc, which are all excellent (although do be aware that because it's relatively new, chickpea miso tends to be a bit pricey). Or you could use some liquid aminos, which is made from coconut. You'll want about the same amount as for the miso.
Re. using meal. No, that's fine - the only reason to boil the cashews is to soften them, ready for blending, so if you've got ground nuts, then sure, just go ahead and blend with water.
Let me know if you need any more help... and enjoy the cheese! xx
Thank you for sharing, this sounds fantastic!
Also, you're a kickass copywriter, so witty...and you know the difference between a panini and a panino.
Loved this: "...pizza without cheese is kind of like a black hole where fun goes to die."
Thanks again, have a great day,
Thanks so much, Parker; your kind words are very much appreciated. As is you knowing the difference between panini and a panino! xx
I'm intolerant to cashews. Do you think sunflower seeds, ground almonds or macadamia nuts would work instead?
I haven't tried with sunflower seeds but they might work - they should be creamy enough. Although both work well, macadamias do actually work better than almonds. Do let me know how you get on! xx
In my experience, sunflower cheese is distinctly 'grainier' than cashew cheese. It also seems to culture much faster for some reason. Almond is also 'grainier' than cashew, even without the skins. If you don't mind the texture, then I'd say almond is a great choice. Sunflower is also good, but it does have a very different flavor to it.
That's really good to know - thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Philip, I really appreciate it, as will others, I'm sure! xx
How do I make the cashew cream, quantities of ingredients, etc Sounds just what I want!!
Hi Anne, the cashew cream is linked right at the top of the cheddar recipe - it's the first ingredient! xx
I just wanted to share with you that I made this cheese with coconut yogurt and it worked well! Very delicious and blew away my vegan friends who have been missing cheese. Thank you!
Aww, thank you so much for your kind words, Nancy; I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know. I'm so happy you all enjoyed the cheese, and thanks for the heads-up re. the coconut yoghurt! xx
How do you tell when the cheese has cultured enough? I'm not really sure what to look for. It has been two days, but we are having very cold and rainy weather right now. The taste hasn't changed significantly- but it's very yummy! Thanks for any help you can offer!
Your weather sounds like ours at the moment! Brrrr! Anyway, if you can see air pockets in the mixture, and you like the taste, then you're good to go! xx
I am a bit concerned about covering with cling film. Do you think I could use something else?
Hi Kathryn, you could try using baking parchment; I've not used it myself for this recipe, but it might work. Do let me know! xx
Sorry Nico, I have only just resd your article on cling film. If your OK with it then I shall use it.
Oh gosh, no need to apologise, Kathryn! I'm definitely OK with it, and would never use something if I believed it to be harmful. xx
Thank you Nico I will let you know how it turns out. x
Smashing - I look forward to it! xx
I do get violins in Southern Ireland health shops skibbereen and dunmanway
I get mature cheddar (I prefer stronger tastes, but it is best mixed with Parmesan, I grate both together)
Sadly I just cannot get them to get me the feta I long fir
They order if none in so are very helpful that way.
That's great that your local people will order in stuff for you. I'm totally with you on the stronger tastes! xx
Extra Mature Vegan Cheddar Cheese sounds tasty.
Could a non-dairy milk, e.g., almond milk be substituted for the 1.3 c. soy yogurt listed in this recipe?
Apologies for the late reply; I've been moving house, so everything else had to go on hold! But to answer your question, if you're going to use a plant milk, you'll need to add some form of probiotic. The reason I use yoghurt is because it already contains it, and it's a good deal cheaper than buying a bottle of probiotics from the health shop! But if you want to go down that road, you may need to use a bit less milk than you would yoghurt, otherwise the cheese will be too runny. For the probiotics, you'll probably want to break open enough capsules to get about a teaspoon of powder. However, don't quote me on this because I've not made this recipe that way before - only brie and blue cheese!
When I get time, Ill have a play around in the kitchen but in the meantime, if you want to come back and share your results, or keep in touch by email, that would be great! xx
Hi! I made this and it's been maturing in the fridge for 3 weeks...I took a look at it a few days ago and noticed that it's gone all furry with mold all around the base's edge and dots of white furry mold over the top too. I made as per the instructions and it's been kept in the fridge. I don't think I'll be trying it, very disappointed after waiting for so long! Have you got any thoughts on why it might've gone mouldy? I will try again as it sounds wonderful, just a bit sad about my first attempt! xx
Oh, Kelly, I am so sorry this happened. It's not something I've ever experienced but it sounds as though some errant bacteria got in there somehow, either during the making process, or storage. I'm really sad for you too, and I hope the next batch goes better for you. xx
I made this.... oh my goodness. Much tastier as it matures too. It tastes very 'American cheese' before maturing so I was worried. As it has matured it has a less sweet tangy flavour and is deep and rich. I made a cheese and onion toastie this morning and I honestly had to remind myself that I had made it and there was no dairy in it. Perfect.
I am so, so glad you like this cheese, Kim - and thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate it. Now, I need to go and make myself a cheese and onion toastie too! xx
Can this be shredded easily? I'm looking to make a vegan chili and I wan't to have a great tasting cheese to sprinkle on top.
To be honest, Kyle, I wouldn't try to shred it at fridge temperature, as it probably won't be firm enough (unless your fridge is super-cold); however, if you freeze it, and grate it while frozen, it works very well. I haven't put it on top of chilli but now that you mention it, I think it would be amazeballs!
Have you checked out my chocolate chilli? xx
I'm making my second batch of cheese and have just put all the ingredients in the blender and realized I don't have any yoghurt to add!
I live in the back of beyond and can't get to the shops till Thursday. Can I substute one or two 40+ Acidophilus probiotic capsules instead? Alternatively, is it OK to leave the mixture in the fridge till Thursday when I can get some yoghurt?
This will teach me to read through the recipe each time before I start!!
Hi Dorothy! I don't think it would hurt to add them - after all, that's what I do when I make cultured cashew brie and blue cheese. I've not tried it with the cheddar but now you mention it, I'm going to experiment! Let me know how you get on! xx
This is the best cheddar I've ever made! At last a vegan cheese that really does have a kick to it!!
I'm sure I remember seeing somewhere that you could make macaroni cheese with nut cheese by mixing the cheese with milk and pouring it over the macaroni. It could have been something that you wrote, but I can't remember! Anyway, do you think it would work?
Dorothy, I am soooo glad this was a hit for you! I think it's some of the best I've ever had but of course, I am highly biased, so it's brilliant when someone else makes it, and loves it too!
Re. making macaroni cheese with this, yep, you can! Chuck the cheese and milk into a blender (or whatever), and whizz it together until smooth, then heat it through. Or, warm the milk, and whisk the cheese into it. Either way will work. Yay for non-bland macaroni cheese!
A little smoked paprika goes really well with it too!
If you're going to to put it in the oven though, you may want to make it a bit thinner than you'd normally make the sauce, and add a little more nooch to compensate. I've found that if I don't do this, it does tend to dry out. It's not gross when it does that but it's not what was intended!
Let me know how you get on! xx
Hi! So I just made this. I let it culture for a day and a half, I'm in Florida and it's summer, and I've had it in the fridge one day. I just tried it and it tastes as if it's gone bad. I am a fan of fairly strong cheeses but this was really skunky. Am I just so used to Americanized chesee that I'm being too picky or has my cheese gone bad cause my house is at a min 80 degrees right now? I did try the mix before I let it sit and it had amazing flavor but it is more than sharp it is right on th verge of tasting spoiled. Normal? Thank you! I followed your recipe exactly besides using homemade coconut yogurt.
Hi Amanda, I'm so sorry you're having problems with the cheese.
I can't say whether you're being picky (LOL!) but I can tell you that I've made it in all kinds of temperatures, and the only time I've ever had it spoil was when I deliberately left it out of the fridge for two days in 32C heat, to see what would happen. It was light, airy, fizzy, and sour... and horrible!
I've never made it with coconut yoghurt, so I wonder whether that was the culprit? Or maybe leaving it for a day and a half? In high summer, I only let mine culture for a day before transferring to the 'fridge.
Could there be a chance the cheese has been contaminated with another bacteria? I only say this because when making a batch of cashew brie, although I was sure everything was scrupulously clean, a nasty must have got on it somehow, and it developed an almost a 'dusty', damp taste to it (think that smell you get in damp cellars, but as a taste!).
Regardless of whether it's gone bad or is as it's supposed to be, if you're in any doubt, please do bin it. Even if it's fine, if you don't like the taste, there's no point in persisting, right? And if you really liked it before it went in the fridge, why not make a smaller batch to eat immediately after it's cultured?
I truly wish I could offer more help but without being able to see and taste it, it's hard to troubleshoot when there's five and a half thousand miles between us! If there is anything I can help with though, please don't hesitate to email me (using my contact form), and I'll be more than happy to go through it with you to see if we can work out what went wrong. xx
Can I substitute cashew with pine nuts?
In all honesty, I don't think that would work, Ank. Plus, it would be horribly expensive, and just would not taste right! xx
Sorry Miss, but I'm one of those vegetarians that wants to be vegan, but I adore cheese. That's why I'm trying to find alternatives that are actually good. I found one sharp cheddar recipe that a reviewer described as a "gelatin loaf". A recipe from a cookbook. Sound delightful? Because I don't think so. I'm willing to try several alternatives, but I'm not going to settle on something that just sort of looks like a cheese. It has to taste good. I've not seen good reviews for the soy cheeses available at stores, so I've not tried them, yet. But I am more than willing to give up all dairy easily. Cheese is a different story. I don't want some icky thing that's a sloppy, badly tasting alternative.
I adore animal cheese too - the stronger the better - but I'm firmly of the opinion that if you truly want to do something, you'll find a way around your own self-imposed limitations!
That's why I make my own plant cheeses (most of which have never been blogged because they're not particularly photo-worthy)! I don't feel the need to have cheese every day, or even every week... but I do like to have the choice.
I concur that commercial vegan cheeses tend to be bland, rubbery, and generally pretty foul (although some are OK in a pinch when cooked, and with added nooch). Vegan cheeses on mainland Europe tend to be far superior to those I've tried in Britain. I've never tried any in the US... I once had dairy cheese in the US - it was as far removed from European cheese as commercial vegan cheeses are to their dairy counterparts. That is to say it was bland and pointless. I'm not even sure it was actual food. American chocolate was even worse!
I'm not going to disparage my fellow food writers - I know how long it takes to develop recipes, and the amount of work, time & expense involved. And honestly, as long as people keep experimenting with cruelty-free foods, and putting their work out there, I'm good with that. I know plenty of people who love the cheese made by some of my blogger chums!
In the meantime, I keep working on my own cheese. Since December I've been developing cultured cashew cheeses. They're good but not good enough to blog yet. Watch this space! xx
Ooh this looks good. At present I use lots of NOOCH, lots! And I get VIOLIFE Parmesan which is the best vegan cheese ever tasted. I make my food and still am looking for those wondrous homemade that I actually wAnt to eat so... here goes?
I love nooch sooo much! Nooch is life! And no danger of me ever getting a B12 deficiency, LOL! Violife is definitely one of the better commercial vegan cheeses around, especially on pizza. I've just discovered VioFast Tomato and Basil, and it's actually good enough to have in sandwiches. It's a Greek brand, so I don't know you'll be able to find it in Ireland but do keep an eye out for it.
But, IMO, nothing beats home-made vegan cheese, so I wish you well with making your own. Do let me know how you get on! xx
I'm going to look for the ingredients to make this! I'm taking a vegan class and they also teach how to make and cook vegan meals. We're having a potluck at the end of the 6 week class and we can bring anything we make vegan. I'd LOVE to bring this!
Wow, Fran, that sounds amazing; a vegan potluck is my idea of food heaven! I really hope you (and your fellow pot-luckers) love this cheese, it is pretty wonderful! 🙂 xx
I have made this today, now waiting for it to mature. Watch this space!
Fantastic, Eve... I can't wait to find out what you think of it! x
Right.. I'm going to roll my sleeves up & pop my vegan cheese making cherry this weekend with this recipe. Let's see how I go! 🙂
Oooh, how fab! Do let me know how you get on, Louise!
I'm desperate to make some more but we're moving to Serbia in two weeks' time, and I don't want to risk it getting squished in my suitcase, so I'll have to wait until we get there!
I have a question, is this white chaddar? Could this be use to make cheese stuffed pretzels or stuffed crust pizza? Does it taste like white or orange?
TBH Myles, I don't even know what orange Cheddar is - is that an American thing? In Britain, Cheddar (originally from Cheddar in Somerset, UK) is always pale yellow, and can be mild, medium, mature, or extra mature. My vegan Cheddar tastes like extra mature... that is to say, that it's strong-tasting.
As for whether you could use it for cheese stuffed pretzels - again, I don't even know what they are! I wouldn't use it for a stuffed crust pizza - you'd be better off using my mozzarella for that. xx
Orange cheddar is an American thing. It tastes like and has a similar consistency to processed American cheese with a cheddar-like after taste and is a bit firmer. This cheese is similar to the extra sharp white cheddar available in America, and is a bit grainy like authentic cheese from cheddar. Most of our cheeses in America are highly processed and very, very smooth. Hope that helps.
Fantastic, thank you, Stephanie - the clarification is very much appreciated! xx
Hiya had a go at this,this morning. Have put in a airtight container to culture is this OK or should I remove lid and cover with cling film . Tastes good so far. Thanks mel
Hi Melanie! It's best to use cling film, and make sure it's covering the entire surface of the 'cheese' - that way it will form a seal so no nasties can get in. Looking forward to reading your updates! xx
Omg this was delicious. I am allergic to onions so used garlic powder instead. Thank you so much. 🙂
I am so, so happy you enjoyed the cheddar. Sorry you're allergic to onions but I bet it was good with garlic powder though. Do you ever use hing (asafoetida)? It's used a lot in Jain cooking to replace garlic and onions, and is lovely... as long as you don't use too much, or else it can turn a dish bitter! xx
Thanks so much . I will get sine to try. Could you suggest how much to use in this recipe. Many thanks. 🙂
I'd start with an eighth of a teaspoon, and then see how it tastes. If you feel it needs more oomph, add another eighth. Just be aware that adding too much will make the food bitter but you should be OK up to about ½ tsp. Enjoy! xx