They’re Not All Perfect

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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.

Pepper Jack Plus

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.

© Copyright 2017 Ida Walker, All rights Reserved. Written For: The Enabling Cook
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