But first, some potentially exciting news. I spend a lot of time watching food-related videos on YouTube. I’ve learned a lot from them. And for a long time, I’ve considered making videos about my projects. Well, I’ve started! Yes, there is now a The Enabling Cook YouTube channel. There’s only one video up now; it shows my haul from My Spice Sage, a recent obsession of mine. Keep in mind I’m a novice at videos and not using any fancy equipment. But I hope we all have fun as more videos get posted.
Now, back to the subject at hand.
I’ve never made a secret of my love for chili. Regardless of season or temperature, I love it. And when I want it, I want it. This adoration has been with me since childhood. When we were kids, though, Mom almost always made it with Chili-O seasoning mixes. We weren’t big or adventurous spice people, so it made sense. But have you looked at the ingredients in some of those seasoning mixes? Many have flour, cornstarch, or other ingredients you might not think would be included. Some, like cornmeal, serve a dual purpose. They help keep the ingredients from clumping, and they help thicken the final product. And, of course, salt and sugar (or another sweetener) is included.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want those ingredients. So I make most of my own herb/spice blends. I’ve shared a chili blend before, but this is the most current version. It includes my favorite chili mix ingredients. Plus one you might not expect–cocoa powder. Not the hot chocolate drink mix; cocoa. This adds color and depth to the flavor, which I find particularly welcome when making a vegetarian chili or one where I use ground turkey.
I use four types of pepper: chili powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne, and black pepper. The last batch of chili I made also included ancho chili powder, but I added that directly to the chili rather than add it to the mix. You can, of course, add any kind of peppers you like in any amounts. I tend to make the mix more on the mild side because I don’t always want it nose-running hot.
And no, there is no salt or thickening agent in this blend.
That’s the thing about making your own blends. You know exactly what’s in them and how much. If you don’t want cocoa powder, or think you might not want it in everything you might use this blend for, then leave it out and add it where and when you want it. Here’s my recipe for Oh Chili Mix .
I’m going to be sharing other blends in upcoming posts. If there’s something you’d like to see, be sure to let me know. And don’t forget to check out our YouTube channel. Please subscribe.
Have you noticed there seems to be a cauliflower version of almost everything these days? Pizza crust, rice, even a burger bun. To be honest, I’ve not given any of them much thought. To be honest, my favorite form of cauliflower is its natural state–raw. Sometimes, though, I’ll put some in a stir-fry, but that’s about it.
Then I saw it. Again and again. And again. Yes, cauliflower steaks.
I’ve been disappointed in faux steaks before. Like portobello mushroom steaks/burgers. Yes, I like the taste, and yes, they do have a more toothy texture, but they’re not steak or burgers. They may be brown like beef, but that’s it. Still, there was a cauliflower in the fridge that needed something done to it–and soon. So I decided to give the cauliflower steaks a go.
My version is different from the one posted by Bosh on Facebook. You can find it here. My original plan was to follow that recipe. But I really don’t care for sweet barbecue sauces (except for Sweet Baby James, of course). So I opted to go spicy. The recipe calls for 1 cup of ketchup. It just so happened I made smokey ketchup this week, so that was taken care of. I left out the maple syrup and cayenne (didn’t have any of the latter). I used ground cumin, ground Ancho chile powder, and red pepper flakes. Other than that, the recipe was identical.
No, cauliflower steaks do not taste like what most people would think a steak tastes like. But that doesn’t make it bad. Quite the contrary, they’re very good. I didn’t do a very good job cutting them into steaks, but the florets are just as good. If you’re going to skip the maple syrup, you may want to reduce the amount of water a bit.
I’ll be making them again. And, of course, the sauce can be used on a lot of things. You can use the sauce as in the original recipe, or use your favorite.
Over on Facebook the other day, I posted about a vegan cheese fail I had. I was kind of surprised when someone commented that she’d never heard me say that before. But then I got to thinking about it. I guess maybe I don’t (well, except for a massive one on an International Bake Bread Weekend a few years ago). The truth of the matter is that I don’t have many of what I really consider to be failures. They may not have turned out the way I expected, but overall, I wouldn’t call them a failure.
Except for this one.
Okay, that isn’t the failure. This is a pepper jack cheese I made using Miyoko Schinner’s recipe. And to say I love it would be an understatement. I’ve made it several times. Each time I’d add something a little different. My most recent version was this one.
Cotswold with chives and onion is probably my favorite dairy cheese to make. So I decided to try a vegan version. Since I love the pepper jack, I decided to use that as a base. But instead of jalapenos, I used chives and onions. Plus, I added some pimento for good measure.
After it was done and had firmed up a bit, I decided to try something I’d seen on YouTube. I coated it with tapioca flour and put it in the dehydrator for about 2 hours to speed up the development of the rind. I learned 2 things in this process. First, as much as I love my Nesco/American Harvester dehydrator, it won’t work for this; the cheese is too tall. And second, though the NuWave oven will work as a dehydrator, it’s a bit awkward. I now have a LEM dehydrator.
After the dehydrator, it sits for a week–at least–before eating. It was worth the wait. If I had more self-control, I would have aged it longer. But I don’t. So I didn’t. Next time. (Yeh, right.)
Anyway, armed with self-confidence, I decided to try Miyoko’s recipe for what she calls a “meltable” Monterey Jack. I had melted both of those cheeses, and while they didn’t melt in the way dairy cheese does, it was okay for me. But since she made a point of saying this other one was gooey and meltable, I decided to try. I followed her recipe. I was disappointed.
Excuse the photo. And I smooshed it apart so you could see inside.
See the yellow in the lower-right corner of the paper? That’s oil After it’s been “drying out” for a day. I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s also evident in the cheese itself. And the taste? Well, it’s all right, but nothing I’d write home about. Does it melt? Not any better than the other two.
And therein lies the fail. I’ve tried another vegan cheese recipe and had the same result. Each called for vegetable oil. Thinking about it, though, I have to wonder if refined coconut oil would have been better, despite what the recipe calls for. After all, it is solid at room temperature. Unless it’s really hot, which isn’t a problem in my kitchen. But I don’t know if I’ll try it. I’m thinking I’ll keep to my base and tweak as my heart and appetite desires.
My love of bread is a big nonsurprise. Okay, a huge nonsurprise. The simple fact of the matter is that I love bread. What I have discovered over the past year, though, is that as much as I love eating it, I think it’s the process that I love the most. Which is a good thing since I need to restrict my carbs.
At first, I bought low-carb bread. It didn’t suck, but there wasn’t anything special about it. And it was expensive. Well, compared to how much my homemade bread cost to make. But most important, I missed making bread. So I looked at the ingredients. Of course, there were more than what is in the basic “Enabling’s Bread.” And then it hit me. Okay, I can be a bit slow at times. The primary reason it is low carb is because they are sliced thinner. Well, sheez. I can do that. So I stopped buying it and started making my own again.
This has worked for me and my dietary needs. I don’t know if the same decision will work for you. But that’s not what this blog post is about.
I want you to make bread. I know I’ve said this before. Probably lots of times. But I really want you to try at least once. But first I wonder, Why don’t more people bake bread?
The most common answer is, “I don’t have time.” Okay, I get that. The bread I’ve got rising now takes between 12 and 24 hours from start to finish. And I know breads that take longer. But the truth? Hands-on time is oh, maybe 20 minutes. That includes pulling all the ingredients together.
And then there’s the, “But it’s so complicated.” Well, I can understand that it might seem daunting at first. At least when you look at some of the recipes. But it can be as complex or as simple as you like. Seriously.
So why should you make your own bread? That’s a sensible question, especially since you can pick up a loaf at the grocery store or even some gas stations. I make it because I find it quite therapeutic–even when I don’t have to knead. But then, I’m a process kind of person. Plus, I know how fresh it is without having to decipher a code.
For me, one of the main reasons is because I know what’s in it. There are only four ingredients needed to make bread: flour, water, salt, and yeast. And you have options for those things. There are myriad flours, and I don’t always use water. As for yeast, you can choose commercial or wild. Each have their place in bread making. You can add eggs and fats, if you want, and make an enriched bread, but that decision is up to you.
Over the next few posts, I’m going to focus on flours. Some may be surprised to know there are flours beyond whole wheat, bread, and all-purpose. Flour choice can take your bread from the ordinary to something new. If you’re lucky, you have many choices available on your store shelves. If you’re not, like me, you can take advantage of mail order. I’m a big fan of Breadtopia. I’ve never been disappointed in their products (flours and other supplies), and the videos are very helpful. And, of course, King Arthur Flour also has mail order. Yep, I’ve taken advantage of that, too. (Actually, I even took a day trip to visit and picked up some supplies not long after moving here.)
I hope you’ll follow the next posts as we take a look at flours. Even more, I hope you’ll decide to make your own.
I have always loved cheese (see my previous post should you have doubts), so when I decided to adopt a more plant-based diet, I was concerned about cheese’s role in the change. Some commercial ones were okay. Some were flat-out awful. And selections in my local stores were limited to individually wrapped cheese slices. I was beginning to think that would be the extent of my cheese experience with a plant-based diet.
I was wrong.
I’ve made lots of cheese. Lots and lots. Yes, I’ve been a cheesemaker for a long time. So it was only reasonable to assume I’d go back to those roots and try my hand at nondairy cheese. I’ve posted about some of those efforts previously. They were hit and miss. But I wasn’t ready to give up. Especially if it meant I could have my beloved pepper jack cheese.
Quick Google and YouTube searches will find the name Miyoko Schinner when it comes to vegan cheese. I started my search with her book The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples. (By the way, the yogurt recipe is fabulous.) I made her “Oil-Free Melty Pepper Jack” a few times and loved it.
About that title. “Melty” is kind of an overstatement. The texture of this cheese is not like the dairy version. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just different. It doesn’t get really hard. In fact, it’s sliceable but still spreadable. When used for a grilled cheese, it softens nicely, but I wouldn’t say it melts like one finds with dairy cheese.
The recipe calls for cashews, rejuvelac, sea salt, roasted jalapenos, water, agar powder, and tapioca starch. Schinner says you can use juice from sauerkraut instead of rejuvelac. Since my experience with rejuvelac is, well, iffy, I opted for the sauerkraut juice the first couple times.
Agar powder might be unfamiliar to you. It’s a thickener made from algae. I couldn’t find it locally, so I ordered it.
That’s the basic ingredient list, and that’s what I used the first few times. With the latest batch, I changed it up a bit. I increased the amount of jalapenos (might not have been a smart move. HOT!) and added chives, turmeric, and nutritional yeast. Oh, and I used the whey from homemade yogurt instead of rejuvelac or sauerkraut juice.
This is a cultured cheese, so it does require some planning ahead. But it’s all easy. Take the cashews, liquid of choice, nutritional yeast, turmeric, and salt, and whiz in a blender. Pour into a jar, cover with a lid, and let it sit out for a day or two. It’s cold in my house, so I let it go three days. You’re looking for it to thicken, get air bubbles, and have a tangy smell. Like those pictures up there.
When you think it’s ready to become cheese. it’s time to work with the agar. Not a big deal. Combine the agar and all but 2 tablespoons of the water in a small saucepan, cover, and bring to a simmer. AND DON’T PEEK. Seriously. Don’t take the cover off for 3 or 4 minutes. It may look like the agar has dissolved and done its thickening thing, but it could be toying with your emotions. Just wait a couple more minutes.
When it’s fully dissolved, add the cheese mixture and stir well. Really well. You want to make sure the mixture is well combined with the agar. As it heats up, make a slurry with the tapioca starch and remaining water. Add to the cheese and stir, stir, stir. And stir some more. You’re looking for something thick, stretchy, and shiny.
When it’s reached the proper consistency, stir in the jalapenos. Pour into a mold. I use a small springform cake pan. Works great.
I let it cool at room temperature before putting in the fridge to cool completely and set, about 4 hours. Then I take it out, unmold it, and let it sit on my drying rack on the counter for at least a day, flipping it regularly. This creates a “rind” that I really like.
Store in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic or cheese paper for up to 2 weeks, but it doesn’t last that long for me.
As I was licking the left-behinds out of the pot, I was already thinking about my next batch. I need a cashew tree.
Last Sunday morning I talked to my mom, something I do every two weeks. The previous Friday night, my brother and sister-in-law and taken her to the American Legion’s monthly fish fry. Mom doesn’t get out a lot, and she can’t drive at night anymore, so these are special treats. Besides, she says the fish is really good.
Listening to her relate the experience and how much she is looking forward to next month’s it made me ask her, “Do you remember the soup suppers we used to go to when I was a kid? Oh, where have they gone?”
For whatever reason–maybe the cold weather, worrying about the state of organizations that depend a great deal on federal funds, or simply my love of soup–I’ve been thinking a lot about these dinners lately. My family loved them. Soup suppers usually served two kinds of soup, generally a vegetable and perhaps a bean soup. Bread or roll went with them. Chili suppers featured, well, chili. You got a nice hot bowl of chili, on the mild side spice wise, and cornbread. Those were probably my favorite dinners. I am, after all, a huge chili fan who could never understand why lots of restaurants only served it “in season.” I think my dad’s, and probably my brother’s, favorites were the bean suppers. There was always a navy or soup bean soup–seasoned with pieces of ham–available and often a pinto bean. And, of course, a roll or cornbread. As for Mom, I think she liked them all since it meant she didn’t have to cook.
There were also spaghetti suppers, but we didn’t go to those as often. Spaghetti, garlic bread, and sometimes a dessert were featured.
But as Mom and I talked last Sunday, it became clear to me that these suppers were more than an opportunity to get some great food at a reasonable cost. Don’t get me wrong, the fact these suppers were a low-cost way to eat out and get a good, hearty meal was important to my family. We didn’t have the money to eat out often. But there was more. In my hometown, most were held in meeting halls like the American Legion or VFW. We sometimes went to ones held at a church or school, but those were less frequent. I specifically remember having to walk up a really steep set of stairs and turn right to enter one (and you don’t need to know how long ago that was). Long tables were set up, and everyone sat together. And the bowls. No matter what soup was served, it always came in a heavy white bowl; I’d love to get my hands on some of those bowls today.
There were many times when my brother and I were by far the youngest ones there. But it didn’t matter. Everyone was so nice. People brought whatever soup and any sides to you with big smiles on their faces. (Yes, most were women.) There was an almost constant buzz of conversation, occasionally interrupted by laughter, among people, many of whom did not know each other. But it didn’t matter. Food, in this case soup, brought people together. For at least a night, there was no distinction between friends and strangers.
It’s been many years since I’ve attended a soup supper like those of my childhood. I don’t even know if organizations still have them. I know I’ve not seen any listed where I’ve lived since leaving Iowa. That makes me sad. I’m sure there are several reasons why–or more accurately, why not. After all, people are very busy, and many don’t have time to volunteer to help out at these events. I think what makes me saddest of all is that besides great food and atmosphere, people, especially children, will not have the chance to create great memories of the power of food to bring people together for at least an hour or so.
This weekend is the Super Bowl. You know, that football game. Some of us think of it as Puppy Bowl Weekend! But what about next weekend? How do you spend the weekend after the big weekend? Well, this year you can spend it participating in the 6th International Bake Bread Weekend–The Enabling Cook Edition. Yes, February 11-12, 2016, we celebrate bread!
The rules are simple. Actually, there’s only one rule: bake some sort of bread product. A loaf or boule is fine, of course. But so are biscuits, rolls, buns, breadsticks; you get the idea. Gluten or nongluten–your choice. And although it hurts me to say this, yes, you can use a mix.
But before you run for the mix department at your grocery store, let me argue on behalf of making your own. A lot of people go the mix or even frozen loaf route because they think it takes a long time to make bread. Now I’ve described my procedure many times. And if you don’t have a lot of time for hands-on work, it’s a good one for you. It does require planning as it involves a slow fermentation. But your involvement is minimal. Mix the ingredients in a bowl, cover, place in a warm location, and let it do its bulk fermentation for 12 hours or more. How long it takes depends on the ambient temperature. My house is always cold, which is great to keep summer cooling costs down but not so great in the winter. At times, I use my proofing box to hurry things along a bit, but I let it work on its own for at least 12 hours.
After the initial stage, shape as you like, cover, and let rise. This one is a shorter rise; again it depends partially on temperature. I usually let mine go 2-4 hours. Then bake. See, you really can ignore it during most of the process.
As always, I encourage you to use this upcoming weekend to try something new. I made the above bread from homemilled turkey red wheat and bread flour. But to make it a bit different, I added seeds. I’ve been using flaxseeds and chia seeds a lot, but this time I also used poppy seeds and caraway seeds, too. Yes, it’s a seedy bread. And it’s very good. I’ve not quite decided what I’ll be making next weekend, but I’m keeping my options open. I love pumpernickel, so I’m leaning in that direction. I may try it with sprouted rye. Of course, that means I need to get my rye berries in the sprouter.
I hope you’ll join us this year. Whether it’s loaf 1 or loaf 100, it’s a great way to spend part of the weekend.
Those who know me know how much I love the idea of living in a working grain mill next to a babbling brook. (Stop laughing.) Can you guess I was a huge fan of Apple’s Way? And most of you know I prefer to purchase locally grown/made products, mill my own flours, and even sprout some. So in the interim, I decided I would experiment with flours made from locally grown wheat all over the country. I bake at least one loaf of bread a week, and this experiment would allow me to expand my bread-making adventures. Ideally, I would be able to get some wheat berries, so I can grind my own flour.
I put out some Facebook posts asking for information about small mills. Someone told me about Cortez Mill in New Mexico, and the experiment has begun.
Information I found about this mill and the flour says it’s a favorite of Navajo bakers. It seems to be a favorite for frybread and tortillas. I also found posts talking about how good it is for bread. Well, that grabbed my attention. And the mill was run by members of the Navajo nation. (More about that later.) And it came in a cotton flour bag. Though I usually don’t buy or use bleached flour, I was anxious to try it. I searched for a place from which I could order. I didn’t find a site for the mill where I could place and order. And though some stores, including Walmart, carries it, none of my local stores do. So I ordered from Walmart and spent probably more than I ever have on 5 pounds of flour. Seriously.
Anxious to try it, I searched for a place from which I could order. I didn’t find a site for the mill where I could place and order. And though some stores, including Walmart, carries it, none of my local stores do. So I ordered from Walmart and spent probably more than I ever have on 5 pounds of flour. Seriously. And it took longer to receive it.
After the package came, I realized I should probably have done more research. First, I misread the information about the Navajo connection. Apparently members of that community are consumers, not managers. Oh well.
Then there’s the bread-making issue. According to subsequent research, I learned the protein content is on the low side for bread. And then there’s the bleached thing–though I did k now that before.
As for prices, I’m since found other sites where it can be ordered for a lot less money, including eBay.
While this example may not be exactly what I’m looking for in this experiment, I’ll enjoy the process of using it. Plus, the research has pointed me in the direction of more applicable mills. It’s a chance to learn something new.
If you know of a small mill that grinds locally grown grains into flour, please let me know.
Air fryers have been a hot item for quite a while now. I never felt the need for one. After all, I don’t deep fry, and I seldom fry things. But note I said “felt.” Past tense.
I watched many air fryer presentations on TV and YouTube. I followed posts on FB about the various kinds and the merits of having one–or not. For a long time, I resisted. And then one day, and I don’t know what precipitated the change, I decided I’d like to have one. And since I’m not one of those blogger who have companies send them products to review (and admittedly I’m jealous), I had to buy my own. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money (some are quite pricey), but I wanted to see what they were all about. It was after Christmas, and Walmart was having a pretty good sale on the Farberware Air Fryer, so I decided to give it a shot. Besides, if I didn’t like it, I could easily return it.
This Farberware Air Fryer is pretty basic. It has a nonstick basket that can easily be removed from the basket holder. The top dial controls temperature–175 degrees to 400 degrees. The bottom is time, which goes from 0 minutes to 30. The basket holds up to 2 pounds of food. You can use no oil or just a little. They recommend spraying oil on the food, which is what I usually do if I need to add oil.
A partial bag of french fries had been languishing in my freezer for quite some time, so I decided to start with those. (That’s not my picture up there, so those aren’t my french fries.) I set the temp and time as recommended in the instructions and preheat the unit for just a few minutes. Then I added the fries. During the 15 or so minutes I cooked them, I took the basket out and shook the fries a few time. The fryer stops when you remove the basket and restarts when it’s reinserted. The result? The fries were crispy and tasty. Big win!
Since that initial trial, I have reheated food in my air fryer. It did quite well. And I must say it makes a killer toasted cheese. It also makes better toast than my toaster! And I got a crispy fried chicken with no flour and almost no oil.
One day I wondered if I could use it to roast nuts. I usually buy raw nuts for my nut butters and roast them myself. Though this isn’t one of their products, I contacted the chef who presents air fryers on QVC and has written a cookbook specifically for air fryers. She said sure but reminded me to shake the basket several times in the process. I usually use my counter oven to roast nuts, but stirring them can be problematic. Besides, since I use it for storage, I have to find some place to put the things stored on and inside it. Easier said than done sometimes. Anyway, I tried it with some cashews, and it worked really well. They made a wonderfully tasty cashew butter.
Now I’m wondering if I can use it to roast coffee beans.
Did I need an air fryer? Of course not. Am I glad I got one? Absolutely. If you’re thinking about getting one, a couple of things. Do your homework. Most work about the same but have different features. For example, mine has dials, but I think were I to buy another one, I’d go for a digital one. I sometimes have dexterity issues, and the dial can be a bit difficult to turn at times. They are also available in different sizes. While mine says it holds up to 2 pounds of food, that doesn’t necessarily mean one should cook 2 pounds of food at a time. Overcrowding can prevent airflow and hinder crisping. Just like when frying on the stove or in the oven. And remember that in most cases you’ll need to flip food or shake the basket during the cook time.
No, I’m not sneezing. Just trying to be cute and catchy with the title. I may need to stop that.
I grew up in a nut-loving family. We often went out as a family to collect black walnuts and hickory nuts. Few batches of fudge were made at Christmastime with walnuts added (not my favorite, I must say). Of course, several packages of assorted nuts were purchased at the holidays. Our year-round go-to nut were peanuts–though not really a nut.
My favorite nuts were–and continue to be–cashews. I could eat them by the bucketload. Seriously. I didn’t, of course. Actually, they were a treat in our house. Though they were readily available, they were considerably more expensive than the peanut and, of course, those we could pick for free at certain times of the year. So the cashew was treated with reverence.
In researching nondairy cheeses and other products, I was pleasantly surprised how many called for cashews or listed them as an option. So considering my love for cashews, it was only natural I try them.
My first experiment was cashew cheese. There are several recipes for it and videos available online. Mine is based on Miyoki Schinner’s recipe in Artisan Vegan Cheese. Most recipes for vegan cheese, hers included, call for rejuvelac. There’s nothing complicated about it. You sprout wheat berries (others can be used) and let them sit until the water is cloudy and there is a lemony taste. So when you’re making cashew cheese, start that about 3 days ahead.
The night before (or at least 4 hours before) making cashew cheese, soak 2 cups of UNSALTED cashews in filtered water. This plumps them up and softens them for the processing stage. If you have a powerful blender (I have a Vitamix), some say you can skip this stage. I don’t.
When it’s time to make your cheese, put the well-drained nuts into your blender. Then add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of your rejuvelac. Note: if you’ve soaked your cashews, you probably will only need the lesser amount.
SCREECH to a halt.
Okay, that’s what Miyoko’s recipe says, and it was my intention to do so. I even made rejuvelac. Or at least tried to. I followed instructions to the letter, but what resulted smelled like rotting feet. And I can’t say there was much of a lemony taste. I don’t really know how to describe the taste, but let’s say I can’t imagine anyone willingly drinking it, and there are people who swear by its benefits.
But being the stubborn cuss I am, there was no way I was going to just give up on cheese. For crying out loud–we’re talking cheese, here. So I did some research. Okay, there were people who used lemon juice. Hmmm. But then I started thinking about it. The primary role of the rejuvelac, at least from what I could gather, is to act as a culturing agent. Hmm, I have cultured yogurt. With live cultures, even. So I decided to use that.
But how much? Good question. The amount of liquid you add depends on how much is needed to facilitate processing. Err on the side of less. I didn’t. I kept thinking it needed more, so I added more. I don’t recall how much I ended up with, but it was more than what I needed.
After you have the desired consistency, place in a glass bowl and cover to culture. Let sit on the counter until you like the taste. I let mine sit for about 3 days. Then I added a wee bit of salt and some turmeric and put it in a mold to harden in the fridge for a couple of days.
SCREECH to another halt.
Despite what I found online, my cheese didn’t firm up very much. I may be wrong, but I’m guessing it was because of my overzealousness with the yogurt. Regardless, it is a very tasty cheese. I used it as a spread and as a pasta sauce (save some of the pasta cooking water). I’m going to try other versions to get the firm cheese I want, but this one is definitely on my “Will make again” list.