#1 Cook: Vegan Cream Cheese!

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#1 – Making homemade vegan cream cheese

On Friday I took on the project of make vegan cream cheese and plain vegan yogurt from the recipe book I’ve chosen, Vegan! Over 90 mouthwatering recipes for all occasions.

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I’ve never needed to make cream cheese at home because, thankfully, there is a wealth of excellent vegan cream cheese products out there already. Non-vegans might be surprised at how good they’ve gotten. I love the Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese as an all-around versatile spread. Equally great is Go Veggie Vegan Cream Cheese (formerly Galaxy brand). Both have almost exactly the flavor and texture of non-vegan cream cheese, and each one also comes in a “herb and chive” option!

OTHER DAIRY-FREE CREAM CHEESE REVIEWS

Vegan Cream Cheese Review: Showdown! via The Very New Vegan
Go Veggie! Cream Cheese Alternative via Go Dairy Free
Vegan Cream Cheese Taste Test via VeganBaking.net

(My recommendation if you’re looking to try a vegan cream cheese, stay away from Daiya and Follow Your Heart brands as these cheeses tend to be very gummy and too sweet for bagels. They are excellent in a desserts though. Follow Your Heart vegan mozarella cheese on the other hand is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.)

NOW FOR MY ADVENTURES

The recipe was very simple:

6 oz. regular tofu
1/4 c. coconut oil (melted)
1 T. rapeseed (or canola) oil
1 T. lime juice
1 T. agave syrup
2 t. salt

1. Place everything in a food processor or blender and combine well.
2. Transfer mixture to a container, store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

I mixed everything together in a blender. It came out great and the taste was there, but the texture was much more like ricotta cheese than cream cheese! It was completely spreadable and delicious, but just a little bit thick. Next time I want to incorporate more creaminess by folding in the oil or blending . But it was excellent nonetheless, and it plan to use it in a future recipe: stuffed peppadew peppers!

For a slightly less sweet cheese add less agave. I used a regular firm tofu, but I’ve been thinking about doing it again with silken or extra soft tofu might to create a creamier cream cheese. If I do this I will probably add less liquid all-around!

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#2 Failing at making vegan yogurt!

After my success with vegan cream cheese I thought I’d test the vegan yogurt recipe.

The recipe called for:
2 cups sweetened soy (non-dairy) milk
2 T. unpasteurized vegan yogurt
or 4 vegan acidophilus tablets

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I sterilized the soy milk by heating it to just below the boiling point. Then I rinsed a glass jar with boiling water to sterilize it.

I cooled the milk to lukewarm, poured it into the jar, and then added the live yogurt.

Next came the tricky part. The recipe said, in retrospect vaguely:

Place the container near a constant source of low heat, such as on top of the refrigerator. Alternatively, wrap it in a towel or newspaper and put it on a hot water bottle. The yogurt should be set within 12 hours. (If the temperature drops too low, it will stop the process or take longer; if the temperature is too high, the bacteria will be killed.

I wrapped the jar in a towel, and placed it in the Crockpot on warm. I tried to keep the temp below 120, but it may have gotten too low a couple times. Regardless of what I did wrong, my product was a curdled mess!

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Next time, I’ll be much more careful about my temperatures, and hopefully I’ll be more successful. I’ll update you when I do!

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