How I Learned to Stop Hating and Love the Vegan Cheese

Photo: Pascal Bauder.

Just the mention of “vegan cheese” is likely to set off a contentions internet thread as long as those on such subjects as presidential politics, beekeeping methods or shellac dilution. And for good reason. The vegan cheese you can buy at the health food store takes the flavor profile of already bland and awful American cheese and makes it far worse. A vegan cheese I bought recently tastes like what I imaging it would be like to eat a slice of partially dried wood glue mixed with sand.

This weekend I had the good fortune of attending a vegan cheese class taught by forager and author Pascal Bauder (a guest on episode 89 of the podcast). His vegan cheese method is nothing short of moon shot vegan culinary genius. I’m not going to give away the secret on this blog–you’re going to have to take his class. One hint: it involves a simple fermentation. I know many of you don’t live here, but Pascal’s classes are worth traveling long distances to attend. He’s got another vegan cheese class coming up on August 25th. See his calendar of events.

Pascal is doing a book on fermentation that will include his vegan cheese recipes. Look for that book next year. In the meantime you can enjoy his two previous books, The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir and The Wildcrafting Brewer: Creating Unique Drinks and Boozy Concoctions from Nature’s Ingredients. On that second book–Pascal brought some of his home concocted beer to the class and it was delicious. His brewing method is simple and easily accomplished without any special brewing equipment other than a gallon jug.

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  1. I bought The New Wildcrafted Cuisine following one of your podcasts. I think it is the most aspirational book I own. I may never make a single thing from it but I am happy that it exists and that people are pushing the limits. Like, vegan cheese, LOLOLOLOL….

  2. That hint was great. That’s how a lot of the good umami flavor happens in vegan food … well, in food. I would love to travel to LA and take his class, but for now, I will look into some of the books. Thanks!

  3. Matt makes fermented almond and/or cashew cheeses. The fermentation is key to achieving anything like tangy, aromatic, pungency of dairy cheese. The rest are just dips and spreads to me…which might suit the bill just fine in some instances, but… they’re nothing like something with some actual live culture flavor profile.

    I bet a class like that would be amazeballs. I mean, we do good work, but we’re just cheese-making dabblers. We were just talking about the brie we made for Christmas yesterday. The boursin has been our favorite though. What styles are you culturing?

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