It's all about the cheese. The most popular posts on my blog are all to do with cheese. Cheese is one of the last things that people who want to go vegan struggle to give up. Often, it's the food that even die-hard vegans miss the most. Store bought vegan cheese, up until most recently, has mostly been a sad and plasticine substitute.
Until vegan cheese extraordinaires Miyoko Schinner and Skye Michael Conroy entered the cheese scene a couple of years back, most of us didn't know that vegan cheese could taste any good, or melt, or even pass as not only as an acceptable substitute for dairy cheese, but as an exceptional real vegan cheese that stands up to any dairy counterpart.
Hence, I've been developing unique vegan cheese recipes for almost as long as I've been blogging.
So, I guess it shouldn't have come as a surprise to me when a friend of mine brought to my attention that an Internationally Published Vegan Magazine recently featured my original Smoked Coconut Gouda recipe in a Special Vegan Cheese feature they are running for the Holidays.
What did surprise me though is that this magazine had printed my recipe without my express permission. Their article claimed the recipe was adapted from my site, but the ingredient list was the exact same and the directions were only very carefully reworded, but with the same end result. That doesn't even come close to what my understanding of what an adaptation is. Also, if you'll look to the right hand side of my toolbar, you'll notice that I've always had a copyright statement on my site, which should have given the magazine a pretty good clue that they ought to obtain my permission before publishing my recipe.
In the beginning, I was pretty upset about it, as stealing content from my site is not in any way a form of flattery to me. Also, this magazine made a profit off of using my recipe for one of their headlines for which I never saw a penny. I contacted the company to voice my concerns and they told me they "don't have the time to contact every blogger with a brief mention in their magazine, and that most people they feature are grateful for the free mass publicity they receive." To me, these kind of ethics, especially within a vegan company who you would expect to have a stronger moral compass stinks. Almost as much as a smelly ripe cheese. If you want to read more about that incident, it all unfolds on my personal and business facebook pages.
Anyway, I hadn't thought about this particular recipe in quite some time and seeing it again in print made me realize that the original cheese recipe didn't melt as well as I would have liked, that the steps in the recipe were too complicated and that perhaps I was using too many ingredients to achieve the end result.
In other words, the #cheesegate incident caused me to retool the Smoked Coconut Gouda. Lucky you. This new version has just 8 ingredients (excluding water), and comes together in less than 10 minutes flat for hands on time. Also, you'll be surprised to find that it doesn't actually taste anything like coconut. So, allow me to introduce:
New and Improved Smoked Coconut Gouda
In a medium saucepan, add the coconut milk, water, Vegemite, Marmite or Kittee's Vegan Worcestershire sauce, nutritional yeast, kappa carrageenan, tapioca starch, liquid smoke and sea salt. Whisk together the ingredients until completely smooth.
Heat the saucepan to medium heat on the stove top and cook while whisking constantly for about 7-9 minutes until the mixture has thickened nicely and is very glossy. You'll know it's ready when it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan as you stir.
Remove the cheese mixture from the heat and quickly whisk in the apple cider vinegar.
Pour the cheese into a small container that can contain a minimum of 2 cups volume. I like using a round or square glass Tupperware, or my tofu press container.
If properly cooked, the cheese will start to set right away. Allow the cheese to set at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then put the cheese in the refrigerator to finish setting for 3 to 4 hours.
If the cheese doesn't set up properly that means you haven't cooked it long enough, if this happens to you, throw it back into the saucepan and cook for a few minutes more! It'll re-melt and then you can pour it back into the mold for it to solidify.
Remove the cheese from the mold and use it wherever you would use dairy cheese. This cheese is great for cutting into cubes or slices and snacking with crackers, or grated and melted over a pizza. I especially love it for broiled cheese toasties.
Notes: While this recipe is based on my original Smoked Coconut Gouda and is entirely my own, I plainly confess that I'm standing on the shoulders of vegan cheese giants and have used the cheese making methods that both Miyoko and Skye Micheal (both mentioned above) employ in creating their vegan cheese recipes. For them, I thank them for their vegan cheese genius and for paving a more delicious and melty way for the rest of us.
Kappa carrageenan is a product made from natural seaweed, however, it's a controversial ingredient for some people. I've done my research and have decided that I'm fine using it on occasion. If you do not wish to use this ingredient, you can substitute 2 heaped tablespoons Agar Agar Powder instead of the kappa carrageenan and follow the recipe in exactly the same manner. The cheese should still taste equally delicious, as well as still be able to be sliced, shredded and cubed, but it will not melt nearly as well.
Update: some of my readers have had some difficulty with the cheese setting up properly, this is likely due to the cheese mixture being under cooked, or forgetting to add the vinegar at the end of the recipe (which helps to firm the cheese). I've increased the cook time slightly above in hopes that everyone will get good results and a nice firm cheese! If for some reason your cheese doesn't get nice and firm, don't fret recook it with the instructions above! Or it can still be used like a spread for grilled cheese sandwiches, on crackers, etc. It will also still melt very nicely.
If you make the cheese and love it as much as I do, please respect me and the time I put into creating unique recipes by not sharing the print recipe on your own site, Facebook post or page, but by simply linking back to this post when sharing on social media. For Instagram use the hashtags #VedgedOut and #SmokedCoconutGouda
Somer & All the Vegan Cheese