A couple of years ago, a good friend of mine challenged me to eat vegan for a month. I must admit that a whole month (30 days!) felt like an eternity at the time. I told her that I would take on the challenge provided I could find a plant-based alternative for the cappuccino that I made myself every morning. Nice creamy foamy cappuccino … I could not imagine life without it!
I set off for a well-known coffee store and ordered myself a soy latte, which was surprisingly drinkable! As you probably can guess, I did take on the challenge and completed it without too many hiccups. Surprisingly – most of all to myself – I did not return to using animal-based milk and still make myself my daily cappuccino with plant-based milk. My favorite brand is WestSoy unsweetened organic soymilk. By the way, you don’t need a fancy espresso machine to foam milk. I use a French press and it works like a charm.
Even though my cappuccino cravings had been satisfied, the cravings for cheese and yogurt were an entirely different matter. None of the commercially available alternative were remotely palatable – I am referring here to the period 2012 through 2015 – at least not the ones that I had access to in the smaller cities where I was living.
Come 2016/2017, I discovered different group on Facebook that focused on vegan cheeses and yogurts. Those groups and the cookbooks they were often talking about (Non-Dairy Evaluation cookbook by the Gentle Chef, Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner) helped me get more serious about making and creating vegan cheeses and other non-dairy. Prior to that, I had made a couple of vegan cheeses – typically made with agar agar – with varying degrees of success in terms of taste and consistency. By the way, I really recommend both those books if you want to learn more about vegan cheese making. If you can’t get them from your local library, here are links to places that sell them. The links given are NOT affiliate links.
I have learned a tremendous amount in the last year about both vegan cheese making and vegan yogurt making. I now have ingredients in my pantry (lactic acid, kappa carrageenan) that sound as if they have escaped from a chemistry lab rather than being part and parcel of an amateur’s kitchen!
As I posted about my vegan cheese making experiments on Facebook, I discovered that there is an almost insatiable hunger for vegan cheese recipes. It didn’t matter if I posted about a cheese failure or posted a picture of a cheese that did not look terribly appetizing, the standard comment appeared to be “recipe please?”
To help satisfy the recipe hunger, I have placed links to all the vegan cheeses that are on the Cilantro Roots website in this blog post. Over the next couple of weeks, I will gradually be uploading more of my vegan cheese recipes. Whenever I do that, I will also update this blog post to include those new recipes.
Happy vegan growing, cooking, and eating!