For me, the hardest thing to stay away from is cheese. I know everyone says you won’t miss it, you get used to it, if you went back you wouldn’t like it, but all of that just doesn’t apply to me. I really love cheese. So when I heard about this book, I wanted to buy it immediately. I didn’t, of course, because I’m a poor student. But a few months ago, we decided we really wanted to give vegan cheese-making a go and took the plunge.Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner is full of easy-to-follow instructions, lovely pictures (although not on every page) and tonnes of ideas. It’s structured into several chapters, covering Artisan & Aged Cheeses, Air-Dried Cheeses, Almost-Instant Cheeses, Other Dairy Alternatives, and several chapters on recipes using the made cheeses. It doesn’t use too many wild ingredients apart from the slightly disputed carrageenan (which I’ve been using and haven’t died of to date) and agar agar. You’ll also need to make your own rejuvelac, which is dead simple.
The recipes themselves are, if I’m honest, a bit hit-and-miss. I’m not a fan of the air-dried varieties at all as the brine used makes them unbearably salty, and the ‘hard’ cheeses are still of the firm, spreadable variety. The brie and air-dried camembert have been my favourites so far and I’ll definitely be making them again, albeit in smaller quantities as the recipes are doubtlessly family-sized. The camembert was especially delicious in baked form. I also really enjoyed the mozzarella, and although the meltable muenster wasn’t exactly to my taste, the melting properties were far better than any store-bought vegan cheese have ever displayed in my kitchen.
I love that such a huge variety is included and I’ll be making lots more recipes from Artisan Vegan Cheese. I don’t count the fact that I didn’t like every recipe I’ve tried as a con, because, if we’re honest, who has ever liked every single recipe in a cookbook? I think some cheeses might benefit from some work, but I personally wouldn’t have known where to even start in developing vegan cheeses, and I think Miyoko has really broken down a barrier and pioneered into an exciting new territory. I’ve even heard that she’s starting up her own cheese company! If those products ever make it to the UK I’ll certainly be the first to buy.
Overall, I think this book is definitely worth buying if you have even the slightest interest in vegan cheese. The recipes can be a bit daunting, so it might not be the best book for a beginner, but the instructions are so clear that, with a bit of practice, anyone should be able to produce good results.
I’ll definitely be following Miyoko’s website to keep up with all her future creations!
Artisan Vegan Cheese is available for £12.23 from Amazon.