You’ll Be Buffaloed By This Vegan Mozzarella

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“Growing up in a second generation Italian-American family there was a great deal of attention given to cheese. Every meal was centered around some variety or another; whether it was the Parmesan or Romano on the pasta, soup and vegetables at dinner or the Cheddar, Swiss, Provolone, and/or Jack on the sandwiches at lunch. And of course, there was the stretchy chewy meltable white cheese we’d put on pizza— mozzarella. Early in life I was introduced to Buffalo Mozzarella, round balls of soft white spongy cheese that you’d slice thick and put on a sandwich made with crusty french bread, freshly picked tomatoes from my parents garden with some drizzled olive oil and a few basil leaves. Or sliced paper thin and put between layers of lasagna or on pizza. The reason it was called buffalo mozzarella is that in the old days it was literally made from buffalo milk. But since buffaloes became a rare sight on the Italian range, they began making it with cow’s milk. After switching to a plant-based lifestyle, I tried all of the vegan cheeses out there on the market and to me all of the mozzarellas taste like salty slime. I also read all of the vegan cookbooks I could get my hands on and I found a couple of great recipes for homemade cheese in Ann Gentry’s Real Food Daily cookbook and Miyoko Schinner’s, Artisan Vegan Cheese. For me these books were literally lifesavers. Ann’s for her great cashew cheddar and Miyoko’s for her meltable mozzarella made with unsweetened nondairy yogurt. This recipe is inspired by what I learned from those two revolutionary cookbooks. Thanks Ann and Miyoko!” – Gary De Mattei

vegan-mozarella

1 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt (we use So Delicious brand)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup cashew cream
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of carrageenan powder or xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt (plus one teaspoon for the brine made with 2 quarts of water and ice)

In a blender mix the yogurt, water, olive oil and cashew cream. Blend on medium speed for about a minute. Turn off the blender and add the tapioca, carrageenan (or xanthan gum) and salt. Mix it with a spatula before turning on the blender. It will immediately start to thicken and look like cheese. Put the blender lid in place and remove the center cap. Turn on the blender to low and stream in a little water at a time, turning off the blender to scrape down the sizes. Continue this process until the cheese is thoroughly blended. It will be thick.

Prepare the brine. Add the teaspoon of salt to two quarts of water. After the salt has dissolved, add enough ice to make the water very cold.

Scoop the cheese mixture into a heavy-duty sauce pan on medium heat. I use a spatula to scrape out the blender making sure I get all of the cheese.

With a wooden spoon (I use a rice paddle) cook the cheese over medium heat stirring constantly for at least 10 minutes. As it bubbles and hisses it will start to get smooth, shiny and elastic, just like melting mozzarella. Keep stirring. What you’re doing is cooking out all of the flour taste. As you stir you’ll start to see the cheese forming itself into egg-shaped balls. With your wooden spoon shape the cheese into 2 to 3 balls, keeping the cheese in the pan on the heat, and dropping them into the ice water brine. The cheese will immediately start to harden. It will look like a large hard boiled egg that has cracked open during cooking. The cheese is ready after it has chilled in the brine for about an hour in the refrigerator. It will keep in the brine for a few days. To shape it into balls, trim the excess “fringe”. Don’t throw any of it away, however, it’s all delicious!

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  18 comments for “You’ll Be Buffaloed By This Vegan Mozzarella

  1. Michael
    February 19, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Looks good… and real (no pun intended)!

  2. fran
    September 1, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    Hi I want to make this mozzarella – you have either carrageen or xanthum gum in your list of ingriedents – but in your direction you have to add both – can I just use the gum? Thank you

    • fran
      September 1, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Sorry one more question – you also have drizzle in water a little at a time – how much water…

      • Caryn Hartglass
        September 1, 2016 at 1:37 pm

        No apologies! It is 1/2 cup as listed in the ingredients. You just want to add it slowly, not all at once. Let us know how it comes out!

        • Fran
          September 1, 2016 at 1:39 pm

          Thank you for such a quick reply. Will let you know – hopefully trying this weekend!

    • Caryn Hartglass
      September 1, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      Thank you for your question. It was not clear and now it is fixed. It is either carrageenan or xanthan, not both.

  3. Katie
    October 18, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Hello! I just tried this recipe today but mine didn’t harden properly. I’m wondering if I didn’t cook it long enough maybe. When I take my cheese out of the brine it’s soft and mushy. I put two trays of ice cubes into the brine so I don’t think that was the problem. Any ideas? Thank you!

    • Caryn Hartglass
      October 19, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      It does take a while to cook. Did you get the consistency we described while cooking? You’ll need to cook it longer if it is not thick and stringy when pulled from the brine. Did you watch the video? You can see how thick it needs to be.

  4. Jenny
    November 13, 2016 at 11:03 pm

    I would love a nut and sunflower / pumpkin seed free version of this . I wonder if tahini would work ?

    • Caryn Hartglass
      November 14, 2016 at 9:13 am

      I have wanted to try seeds too. I am sure they will work. The taste, color and texture will be a little different. I chose almonds because of the flavor and the creamy white color, when the skins are removed. Sunflower seeds are slightly gray, pumpkin seeds can be beige or green. Tahini or sesame seeds are a light beige.

  5. Marsha
    December 3, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Can this cheese be frozen?

    • Caryn Hartglass
      December 3, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Yes it can. We freeze it all the time.

  6. Marsha
    December 3, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Hi. I just tried this. As mentioned above it did not harden. It was slimy and greasy when taken out of the brine. I cooked for 15 minutes. It was not stringy but very thick. What went wrong I wonder??

    • Caryn Hartglass
      December 3, 2016 at 11:02 am

      I am sorry it did not work out for you. Did you watch the video on the recipe page? You can see there how thick the mixture needs to be before chilling in the brine. You may need to cook it longer to get the right thickness. Did you use carrageenan or xanthan gum?

      • Marsha
        December 3, 2016 at 1:07 pm

        Hi. It seemed to be very thick before I started to cook it. While cooking and stirring it was forming into balls and not stretching. I used xanthan gum. Would carrageenan be better? What about Agar powder? Tks

        • Caryn Hartglass
          December 7, 2016 at 9:56 pm

          It’s hard to say. We made it often with carrageenan so I would try that. Let us know what happens.

  7. Roseanne
    December 11, 2016 at 2:13 am

    What can you use in place of cashew cream. My son is allergic to all nuts except almonds. Also, most seeds are ok, like pumpkin and sunflower.

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