Over the weekend I tried out a couple of recipes for vegan “cheese”. One of them was for homemade mozzarella. It was pretty easy to make — especially with my new food processor. I did have to buy tapioca flour — which I found out is the same thing as tapioca starch. You can use other types of thickener, but apparently only tapioca will make it stretchy and chewy.
You also had to soak the cashews in water overnight. But after that you basically just blend it up, then heat in a saucepan until it thickens.
The final product looked like this:
It came out a little bit grainy, even though I let it run in the food processor for quite a while. It did have the soft squishy consistency of fresh mozzarella, and kind of tasted vaguely cheesy.
The recipe gives instructions for making mozzarella balls by putting scoops of it in water. this is what mine looked like:
I don’t think this really added anything. To me you could just put it in a container in the fridge and slice of pieces as you need it.
Though it was fun to try, in the future if I wanted mozzarella cheese I would probably just buy the Daiya version. There was a time when products like vegan “cheese” were not readily available and people probably had to make their own. But, even though the final product did taste somewhat like mozzarella cheese, the good people at Daiya can still do it better. And though the Daiya cheese is kind of expensive, raw cashews are not cheap either, so it doesn’t seem like that much of a money savings.
I used some of the cheese to make a pizza, which I made with a store-bought whole wheat crust. I used Pastorelli brand Ultra Thin and Crispy Whole Wheat Crusts. I really liked this crust! Because it is so thin it cooks quickly — just 6 to 10 minutes and you have a delicious pizza. This also means you need to cook the veggies first because they won’t cook during that short time in the oven.
I used a jar of store-bought marinara sauce, and for the veggies I used peppers, red onions and mushrooms. I added a little oregano and black pepper to the veggies as I cooked them. I put cheese on half the pizza for a taste comparison. This is the final result:
The cheese actually puffed up a bit as it baked which was interesting. It did add an extra dimension to the pizza that the part with just the sauce and veggies didn’t have, but didn’t seem to have much flavor. And certainly didn’t actually “stretch” as the recipe suggested. If you want to give it a try yourself you can check out the recipe here: