Crock Beer Cheese is a spreadable sharp non-dairy cheddar enhanced with the flavor of beer. The beer is first reduced to eliminate the alcohol and a good portion of the water thus concentrating its flavor (the beer flavor is not a primary note in the cheese but rather contributes to the overall flavor profile). To spice things up, ground cayenne pepper can be added before cooking the cheese. For a robust cheese, prepared horseradish can be mixed into the cheese after it has set.
Crock Beer Cheese is superb for spreading on crackers, hard or soft pretzels or chunks of crusty bread. It can be melted on sandwiches or used in any application where spreadable sharp cheddar might be used.
Note: For this cheese, you will need a working understanding for preparing the Block Cheeses in the Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook (see the main page of the TheGentleChef.com website for information on where to purchase the book). A cheese form is not required since the cheese will be stored in a crock or other suitable container. Any heat-proof container that will hold a minimum of 2 cups liquid will suffice for chilling and setting the cheese.
• 1 bottle (12 oz) beer of your choice, alcoholic or non-alcoholic
(please note that dark beers will darken the cheese)
• 1 T raw apple cider vinegar
• ½ tsp vegan lactic acid powder (available from ModernistPantry.com) or 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
• ½ cup refined coconut oil
• 1 cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk (no additives) or homemade almond milk
• ¼ cup tapioca flour
• ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
• 2 T mellow white miso paste
• 1 T tomato paste
• 2 tsp kappa carrageenan (available from ModernistPantry.com)
• 1 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 tsp dry ground mustard
• ½ tsp onion powder
• ½ tsp garlic powder
• optional: ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper, or more to taste
• optional: 1 T prepared horseradish (not creamed) for stirring into the cheese after cooking and chilling
First, gather all ingredients. Combine the vinegar with the lactic acid powder or lemon juice in a small dish and set aside near your cooking area. The acid mixture will be added to the cheese mixture after cooking.
Next, melt the coconut oil. Measure ½ cup and set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the beer to a simmer. Watch carefully while heating, as the beer will foam excessively and possibly boil over if brought to a vigorous boil. Skim and discard any excess foam. Simmer until reduced, about 15 minutes. Let the mixture cool until warm. Measure ⅓ cup and discard any remainder.
Transfer the beer reduction to a blender. Add the soymilk or almond milk with the remaining ingredients (except for the optional horseradish). Do not add the coconut oil or acid to the blender. Process the contents until smooth, stopping as necessary to dislodge any dry powder from the sides of the blender with a flexible spatula.
Now add the coconut oil (but not the acid) to the blender and pulse the mixture once or twice only to disperse the oil but not completely blend. This is important. After pulsing, pour the mixture into the saucepan.
Cook the cheese according to the Preparation and Cooking Technique instructions in the Block Cheese section of The Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook. Be sure to incorporate the acid mixture into the cooked cheese before pouring into a minimum 2-cup container to set.
Cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 6 hours. After chilling, transfer the set cheese to a mixing bowl and mash and stir thoroughly with a fork until smooth. Stir in the optional prepared horseradish. Transfer to a crock or other suitable container and chill until ready to serve.