If you follow a plant-based diet, you may have thought that delicious camembert was off the menu. But with this easy and tasty vegan camembert recipe, you can enjoy a dairy-free alternative that is just as satisfying as the real thing. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to make your own plant-based camembert at home.
The goal of this article is to provide a step-by-step guide to cooking vegan camembert. We’ll explain everything you need to get started, from the ingredients to the methods of molding and ageing. Don’t worry if you’re not an experienced cook – this recipe is straightforward and doesn’t require any fancy equipment. So, let’s dive in and discover how to cook vegan camembert!
What You Need to Make Vegan Camembert
Making vegan camembert requires a few unique ingredients that you may not have used before. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
|Cashews||Macadamia nuts or blanched almonds||2 cups|
|Nutritional yeast||Dried mushrooms or miso||3 tablespoons|
|Agar agar powder||Vegetable gelatin or cornstarch||1 tablespoon|
|Probiotic capsules||Non-dairy yogurt or sauerkraut||2 capsules|
Most of these ingredients are available at health food stores or online, and they can be used for a variety of vegan cheese recipes.
It’s worth investing in high-quality agar agar powder to ensure that your cheese sets properly. Some brands may require more or less agar agar powder, so it’s best to read the instructions carefully.
Additionally, you’ll need a high-powered blender and a cheese cloth or nut milk bag for straining the cheese. A cheese mould or a round container can also be used to shape the cheese.
Making the Vegan Camembert Cheese Base
The first step in making vegan camembert is creating the cheese base. This easy vegan camembert recipe uses cashews and nutritional yeast to create a creamy and flavourful alternative to dairy-based cheese.
Ingredients for the Cheese Base:
|Cashews (raw and unsalted)||1 cup (150 g)|
|Nutritional yeast||3 tbsp (15 g)|
|Water||½ cup (120 ml)|
Soak the cashews overnight or for at least 4 hours to soften them. Drain and rinse them thoroughly before using.
- Place the soaked and drained cashews, nutritional yeast, and water in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as needed to ensure all the ingredients are incorporated.
- The resulting mixture should be thick and smooth, with a consistency similar to cream cheese. If it is too thick, add a little more water and blend again until the desired consistency is reached.
- Transfer the cheese base to a mixing bowl and cover it with a clean cloth or plastic wrap. Let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours to ferment and develop the flavour.
Once the vegan camembert cheese base has fermented, it is ready to be flavoured and shaped. See the next section for instructions on how to add the camembert flavour to the cheese.
Adding the Vegan Camembert Flavour
Now that you have the vegan cheese base ready, it’s time to add the camembert flavour. For this step, you’ll need agar agar and probiotic capsules.
Tip: Agar agar is a natural thickener that is commonly used in vegan cheese recipes. Make sure to use a high-quality agar agar powder to ensure the cheese sets properly.
To start, dissolve the agar agar in water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until the agar agar is fully dissolved.
Next, add the probiotic capsules to the mixture and stir well to incorporate them evenly. The probiotics will give the cheese its characteristic tangy flavour and help it to culture and grow.
Tip: You can adjust the amount of probiotic capsules to get the desired level of tanginess in your cheese. Start with a small amount and add more gradually until you find the perfect balance.
Pour the mixture into the cheese mould and smooth the top with a spatula. Cover the mould and transfer it to the fridge to set for at least 12 hours or overnight.
Tip: If you prefer a stronger flavour, you can let the cheese age for longer. Try leaving it in the fridge for 2-3 days or even up to a week for a more intense taste.
Moulding and Aging Vegan Camembert
Once you have prepared the vegan camembert cheese base and added the flavour, the next step is to mould and age the cheese. This is an important step as it allows the flavour to develop and the cheese to take on its final texture.
To shape the cheese, you can use a cheese mould or a DIY alternative. A popular DIY option is to use a small glass dish lined with cheesecloth, allowing the excess cheesecloth to fold over the cheese to cover it. This will create a round shape that you can then press down slightly to create the characteristic camembert shape.
|Moulding and Aging Tips:|
|Don’t press the cheese too hard, or it may become too dense|
|Aim for a thickness of around 2cm to 3cm|
|Allow the cheese to air-dry for a few hours to develop a rind. Alternatively, you can dust the cheese with a thin layer of flour to help develop the rind.|
|Place the cheese in the fridge to age for at least 5 days, or up to 2 weeks, depending on desired flavour and texture.|
During the aging process, the cheese will continue to develop a tangy and complex flavour while also becoming firmer. Make sure to check the cheese periodically and discard any visible mold that is not part of the rind.
When it’s time to enjoy your homemade vegan camembert, remove it from the fridge and let it come to room temperature before serving. This will bring out the best flavours and textures. Pair it with crackers, sliced bread, fresh fruit, or use it in a recipe.
Serving Vegan Camembert
There are many ways to enjoy vegan camembert, whether as a snack or incorporated into your favourite recipe. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Serve the cheese with crackers, bread, or fresh fruit for a simple yet delicious snack.
- Use the cheese as a pizza topping, adding your favourite toppings for a decadent and flavourful meal.
- Add cubed or grated vegan camembert cheese to pasta dishes, such as mac and cheese or carbonara.
- Spread the cheese onto sandwiches or toast, adding fresh veggies or herbs for extra flavour.
- Incorporate the cheese into your favourite recipes, such as risotto, quiches, or soups.
Experiment with different ways to serve vegan camembert, and don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen!
FAQs About Vegan Camembert
If you’re new to cooking vegan camembert, you may have some questions about how to make it and how to use it. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you out:
How long does vegan camembert last?
Vegan camembert can last for up to a week in the fridge when stored in an airtight container. Keep in mind that the cheese might become more flavorful and develop a stronger scent as it ages.
How should I store vegan camembert?
You should store vegan camembert in the fridge in an airtight container. If you aged the cheese for a longer period, you may want to wrap it in cheesecloth and store it in the fridge.
Can I adjust the flavour of vegan camembert?
Yes, you can adjust the flavour of vegan camembert to your taste by adding more or less salt, nutritional yeast, or any seasonings you prefer.
How can I serve vegan camembert?
Vegan camembert can be served as a cheese board with crackers, bread, fresh fruit, and nuts. It can also be used as a spread in sandwiches or as a topping for pizza and pasta dishes.
Can I freeze vegan camembert?
It is not recommended to freeze vegan camembert as the texture can become grainy and the flavour may be affected.
Can I make variations of vegan camembert?
Yes, there are many variations of vegan camembert that you can make by experimenting with different flavours and ingredients. Some popular variations include adding herbs, spices, or dried fruits to the cheese base.
Now that you know the basics of making and storing vegan camembert, it’s time to get creative and try out different recipes and variations. Have fun and enjoy your dairy-free cheese!