Hard Shreddin’ Chedda’ is a hard, golden block cheese with a mild cheddar cheese flavor. It’s ideal as a cold-snacking cheese. Slices are wonderful for serving on crackers or cold sandwiches. It’s also ideal for shredding as a topping for tacos and other Mexican cuisine, when melting isn’t necessary. When shredded and stirred into hot high-moisture foods, or covered with a sauce and heated, it melts moderately well.
Homemade soy or almond milk yogurt is used in this cheese to impart a natural cultured aroma and flavor that cannot be achieved using commercial lactic acid powder alone. However, for the sake of convenience, you can replace the yogurt with additional plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk and ½ tsp lactic acid powder. If you have commercial vegan cheddar cheese flavor on hand, add a teaspoon or two to the mixture when blending (strictly optional).
This cheese is very easy to prepare since it does not rely upon stirring or emulsification during cooking; and you will never experience a broken emulsion or a block that does not set and firm properly! It also does not rely upon gels for firming and is therefore free of carrageenan or agar.
The cheese can also be seasoned with additional ingredients to create interesting flavor combinations. Ingredients might include a teaspoon or two of prepared horseradish or hot pepper sauce blended into the liquid mixture before cooking. Dried herbs, spices and low moisture ingredients such as crushed peppercorns, chopped sun-dried tomato, dehydrated garlic, dried minced onion and/or chives, red pepper flakes, etc., can be stirred into the mixture just before cooking.
For this recipe you will need a flexible silicone form/cheese mold that will hold a minimum of 2 cups liquid. Avoid using a metal or Pyrex™ container because the cheese will be very hard after chilling and difficult to remove. Do not use a plastic form as it will not be able to withstand the cooking temperature. You will also need a cooking pot with a lid and an open steamer basket for steaming the cheese in the mold.
- ¾ cup refined coconut oil, melted (not virgin coconut oil)
- ½ cup unstrained soymilk or almond milk yogurt, room temperature
- ½ cup plain unsweetened soymilk or almond milk, room temperature
- ½ cup unmodified potato starch or corn starch
- ¼ cup tapioca flour/starch
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon mellow white miso paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 and ¾ teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dry ground mustard
- 2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
- optional additional high-moisture ingredients, such as prepared horseradish, liquid smoke or hot pepper sauce (2 teaspoons maximum)
- optional additional low-moisture ingredients (2 tablespoons maximum)
Add water to the pot, but just below the bottom of the steamer basket, and place over high heat to bring the water to a boil.
Process all ingredients, including any optional high moisture ingredients, in a blender until very smooth. If adding herbs and spices, stir them in after blending.
Transfer to the cheese mold and rap the mold gently on a firm surface to settle the mixture and remove any air bubbles.
Place the uncovered mold into the steamer basket. Place the basket into the pot over the boiling water and cover with the lid. Set a timer for 30 minutes.
Remove the mold from the steamer and allow to cool about 1 hour. The cheese mixture will have a puffy appearance but will settle upon cooling. If steam condensation has settled on the surface of the cheese, or any oil has pooled, very gently blot with a paper towel to remove it (a shiny oily appearance is fine).
The cheese will be very sticky until fully chilled and hardened. It will also have a translucent appearance but will become opaque upon cooling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until hardened. This will take upwards of 12 hours with 24 hours being ideal.
Remove the cheese from the flexible silicone form. Slice or shred the block as desired. Wrap in a dry paper towel and store airtight in the refrigerator. Change the towel every few days. Stored properly, the cheese will last for weeks.