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Fabulous Book - But Cheddar Recipes Contain Errors
on 4 April 2014
I've been a big fan of Miriam's online recipes over the years, and have been amazed at the delicious meals I've been able to create with her help. Not for one moment would I wish to deter anyone from buying this book (it's stunning!), but - unless I'm missing something - I'm surprised there's so far been no mention of the slip-up of the amount of agar powder required for the cheeses, and the tweak in the preparation steps - both of which Miriam has written about on her website.
Apparently, the revised recipe did not reach her publishers in time. So, in the spirit of being helpful (I hope) to all those prospective vegan cheese makers out there, here is one of her advisory announcements:
"Tip :- Regarding the Cheddar Recipes in my book – Double the amount of agar powder (do not use flakes as you would need to double the flakes i.e. 1 tbsp agar powder = 2 tbsp of flakes). So use powder and double the quantities for both the cheeses there. Also, when I say to add water in the recipe, add the water and agar into a saucepan and heat up stirring all the time until very thick (don’t panic if it over-thickens), continue mixing for 5-10 minutes (This process helps the agar to release it’s gelatinous qualities), then add this mixture to the food processor together with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Continue with the recipe from this point onwards when it says to process everything. Next step would be to pour the cheese mix and re-heat it, you would only need a couple of minutes of heat and stir it until it’s very thick, then it’s done, just add the mixture to a pre-greased container, allow to cool and refrigerate – for a denser result use coconut oil rather than olive oil, and increase agar powder further if you want an even denser cheese (people have different preferences when it comes to this). For melting purposes, aid the process by adding to toast, bakes or pizza and be sure to drizzle on the olive oil to help it break down further. "
I'd got to hear about doubling the agar powder, which I did, but not about first mixing and heating the powder with the water, so when trying the Mature Cheddar recipe I ended up with some - immensely tasty, mind you, and great on crackers - cheese spread.
So, hopefully this post is a bonus if you want to try your hand at a vegan cheese spread as opposed to a block of cheese - you now have options :) !