15 minute, Slice-able and Melt-able Vegan Cheese

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Before I turned vegan, like  most, I was hooked on cheese. I loved it in all forms, even the smelly blues and especially the squidgy brie’s and gooey mozzarella. I expected that I would find it extremely hard to not eat cheese when I turned vegan, but in fact it wasn’t all that hard for me at all and not once since the day I declared to myself no longer a vegetarian but a vegan, did I eat an animal product again.

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This is not to say I did not have cravings, of course I did, but they passed and I’d cure the craving by eating something else that I enjoyed which preferably satisfied some of the attributes of dairy cheese. Creamy pasta’s stood in for macaroni cheese, my ultimate food love pre-vegan and nuts and seeds ground with nutritional yeast made a delicious alternative to adorn gratins, pasta dishes, lasagnes and potatoes.

In the end, the cravings changed. They went from being, in the first few weeks, direct craving for cheese into cravings simply for creaminess, depth of flavour and texture, which could all be satisfied easily and healthily.

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I did my fair share of vegan cheese testing, from widely available brands to ordering expensive versions from abroad. Some were better than others but none were ever purchased a second time. The one alternative I had fallen for, in fact before I had turned vegan but was reducing my egg and dairy intake and only using organic products, was a powdered ‘parmesan’ style shaker which used to be widely available in supermarkets and was called Parmazano. This had discontinued by the time I became vegan and I searched high and low for months on end, constantly checking to see if they had continued to make the product again but they still haven’t. I was over the moon to find a similar alternative from Cherub which adds a great savoury, cheesy flavour to soups, stews and pastas.

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Nut cheese is also a wonderful thing and I love to make almond feta for omnivorous guests who are always surprised that it’s not dairy feta. But, I wanted something lighter than a nut cheese, with less calories and quicker to make without the need for the heavy machinery. I also wanted a solid cheese that I could slice and grate and that would melt into a gooey, cheesy blanket. I tried to make rejuvelac to make recipes from Miyoko Schinner’s Artisan Vegan Cheese, but I went wrong somewhere and my grains didn’t ever sprout. Then I came across this recipe and lightened it up to make a cheese which ticked all the boxes.

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The result is a fast, simple vegan cheddar style cheese that uses basic and easy to obtain ingredients which is comparably lower in calories to both dairy cheese and nut cheese and it tastes delicious, melts, grates and slices. It takes just 15 minutes to put together and can be used as straight away or be left to set. It makes the most realistic toasted cheese sandwiches I’ve had since turning vegan and it amazing in quesadillas. It crisps and browns and makes a delicious, stretchy, gooey pizza topping.

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Update 30/06/14: It would appear that different brands and types of milk affect the set of the cheese so I have renamed to slice-able instead of grate-able as it will always set firm enough to slice but may need to be lightly frozen to be grateable.

Ingredients: Makes around 450g

  • 500 ml/2 cups soya milk (for the best results use a thick, rich milk or creamer)
  • 6 tsp agar powder*
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp coarse salt (or 1 tsp fine salt)
  • 40g/4 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp paprika (used smoked for a smoky cheese)
  • 15g/1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (optional, for colour)
  • 1 capsule of vegan probiotic, emptied (optional)

*6 tbsp agar flakes can be used, boil mixture gently for 15 minutes after adding the flakes, vinegar and salt before adding the remaining ingredients. Carrageenan can also be used (3 tsp powder) and is often sold as ‘vege-gel’ or ‘vege-set’, the cheese will not be as firm as when set with agar but it behaves the same and after a little time in the freezer, grates perfectly.

Method:

  1. Bring the soya milk to a boil over a medium heat.
  2. Once boiling, remove from the heat and whisk in the the agar powder (or agar flakes or carrageenan), vinegar and salt.
  3. Mix the tapioca starch in a cup with a few tablespoons of the hot soya milk and set aside.
  4. Bring the soya milk mixture to a boil again, then whisk in the rest of the ingredients, including the tapioca mixture.
  5. Cook for 10 or so minutes, make sure it comes to a boil at least once, then remove from heat and stir in the probiotic of using then pour into a container to set.
  6. Leave to harden in the fridge or freezer to make it easier to grate.

Calorie Count :: New Recipe

Nutritional Benefits

Low in saturated fat
No cholesterol
High in niacin
High in riboflavin
 

Compared with dairy cheddar cheese;

Tesco British Mature Cheddar 250G - Groceries - Tesco Groceries

 
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161 Responses to 15 minute, Slice-able and Melt-able Vegan Cheese

  1. Sweet mother of God! If only we could find nutritional yeast, this would never be left out of our kitchen…

    • Poppy says:

      You can’t find nutritional yeast? Where in the world are you? Have you tried online?

      • That is the question I ask myself on the daily basis. We live in Serbia. To put it in perspective, here people are actually offended when they hear that you’re not eating meat. During short time I worked in one of the hospitals in Belgrade, I met a patient who was laughing at me for being vegan. When you go to family reunions and decline to eat meat, they scorn you for claiming to be better then them. You say: “No, no, I don’t eat meat, thank you.” And they tell you:”That’s fine, but you can then have some chicken…” So, yeah, there should not be so strange that it’s so hard to find nutritional yeast that easy here. But hey! We could always make our own…

      • Poppy says:

        Wow, I’m really so sorry to hear that. I have experienced what you describe in places in Africa where I worked in the past but I didn’t live there so I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you :(
        But good for you for staying true to your beliefs despite the ridicule and lack of understanding. At least you have the online vegan community and you are always more than welcome here :D

        Is something like Amazon out of the question?

      • Online community is amazing. It is only here, that we found people that think like we do. We learned so much also. That is the power of community I guess. Ridicule and lack of understanding had never stopped us fighting for our beliefs.
        In the recent years, things are improving here. Health food sections in stores are growing bigger. six months ago you could not find stevia anywhere. Now it’s a different story… Hope we’ll see more of that…
        Maybe we could try Amazon for some stuff, but it’s to much of a hassle since sometimes you could end up paying 2 to 3 times the price because of the importing fees. Not to mention that not all online stores are shipping to Serbia.

      • Poppy says:

        That’s great that things are beginning to improve, I really hope the trend continues for you.

        I understand about the cost of importing to Serbia, it must be very frustrating for you. If you ever go on a trip somewhere where you can find it, you should stock up! :D

      • That we will do for sure, hehehe :)

    • Vanessa says:

      Nutritional yeast is available on Amazon!

    • Hi! I’m from New Zealand, the bottom of the world, and people think we are crazy for not eating dairy a lot too! Anyway, while we can buy nutritional yeast here, it is super expensive, so I order from iherb.com and it is waaay cheaper. I know it doesn’t deliver everywhere, but have you checked to see if it delivers to Serbia? Just a thought. And your first order you get $10 off (just google for a code), so it is like free shipping. Good luck!

  2. This is such a simple and fantastic recipe. Thank you for sharing the nutritional details as well.

  3. Amazing Poppy! Looks so impressive!

  4. Marfigs says:

    YAY! This is so awesome – cheese that melts! I have one go-to but it takes super long and involves cashews which I’m not always too happy about, and it doesn’t actually melt. I’m going to definitely make a pizza or calzone next weekend and surprise my omni man-thing with melted cheese! Also, that pizza looks *delicious*

    • Poppy says:

      That’s so exciting! Please feedback on the ‘omni man-thing’ and your reactions :D

      I’m totally with you on the labour of some nut cheeses, this is a ‘I want it now’ recipe! :D

  5. theedgeofveg says:

    This looks amazing! I can deal with some of the cheese replacements out there if I’m desperate, but they’ve never tasted anything like real cheese to me.

  6. Reblogged this on Cathal's Cookbook Allergy Free Cooking and commented:
    Thanks for sharing Poppy xx I will be trying this.

  7. This looks great – I honestly never thought you could make your own cheese – I’m veggie but trying to cut down on dairy (I watched vegucated!) so it’s great to know there is a decent cheese alternative!

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Rebecca! It’s great that you are trying to cut down on diry. There is a plethora of alternatives out there from manufactured ones to recipes for your own and many are really easy too! :D

  8. sammysfood says:

    Looks awesome!! A must try :)

  9. Looks lovely! Can I use almond milk instead of soy milk (as I can’t handle it very well)? Can’t wait to try it out!

  10. Deena Kakaya says:

    That’s vegan? That’s amazing! X

  11. Which grains did you try to make rejuvelac? I’ve had difficulties myself because my house is pretty cold… but i’ve had great success with quinoa. Sprouts easily and you get that tangy taste Miyoko writes about pretty quickly.

    Culturing my cheddar at the moment! Also have my yoghurt ready for meltable mozzarella. Tomorrow is going to be a great day for the kitchen!

    • Poppy says:

      Wow, sounds like you are living my cultured cheese dream! I’ve tried brown rice, spelt and wheat berries before giving up! I will try quinoa one last time! Thanks for the tip :D

    • Poppy says:

      Wow, sounds like you are living my cultured cheese dream! I’ve tried brown rice, spelt and wheat berries before giving up! I will try quinoa one last time! Thanks for the tip :D

  12. leggydobs says:

    Where are the molds from?

  13. Monetta says:

    I would so love to try this but I can’t have yeast

  14. Raquel says:

    This looks awesome! Do you have to use soya milk? Is almond/rice/hemp milk an OK alternative?

    • Poppy says:

      Any milk will work but the richer the better so I’d say a homemade almond milk would be best and of course you may get slightly different results with different milks. Let me know if you try it, I’d love your feedback!

  15. missannmai says:

    Looks amazing!! I want to try this! :)

  16. minapeartree says:

    Oh wow! What a genius! Yes please!!

  17. How fun! I was never big on cheese pre-vegan but strangely since going vegan I’ve fallen in love with nut cheeses and creamy sauces! I’ve made a variation on the coconut milk mozzarella before and it worked great melted on a pizza. I used this recipe: http://www.olivesfordinner.com/2012/03/fresh-vegan-mozzarella-pizza.html

  18. Carry Porter says:

    I cleaned out my pantry last weekend and found some agar flakes. Must mean I’m destined to give this a try! I may even try the coconut milk version, too ;-) Thanks!

    • Poppy says:

      I think it’s written in the stars Carry! If you try the coconut milk version, please feed back, I wasn’t sure I’d like the coconut flavour in a cheese but I will happily be corrected :D

  19. These look really delicious!

  20. Ngan R. says:

    Wow, I had no idea vegan cheese existed (ignorant non-vegan here). This is so cool–thanks for opening my eyes and the recipe!

    • Poppy says:

      I’m glad to have led you to this discovery! There is an amazing array of vegan alternatives out there, not all great but there are some great ones too! :D

  21. BEAUTYCALYPSE says:

    got everything in my pantry except for tapioca starch. only got tapioca. dang! I need that cheese stat (it’s a very cold day, and a gluten-free vegan pizza with goooooooey-est of cheese would be right up my alley)

  22. laurasmess says:

    Oh my. I’ve never liked vegan cheese alternatives but this one looks incredible! Really realistic, gooey and definitely a delicious fill-in for toasted cheese sandwiches. I’m bookmarking this for the next time my vegan friends come over. Excellent post Poppy!! xx

    • Poppy says:

      Thank you Laura!
      I’m totally with you on never liking vegan cheese alternatives, I’ve stopped buying them now even the new ‘most realistic ever’ dubbed brands, they all say that! Homemade is the way to go and this is a great base, you can add herbs like chives or chopped roasted peppers for a Mexican style cheese! I hope you and your vegan friends enjoy it! xx

  23. Holly says:

    Just found your blog and despite not being a vegetarian I usually eat that way. Super excited to have found a vegan cheese recipe and can’t wait to try it out. Most excited at the fact that I’ve found another food blogger based in Kent :)

    • Poppy says:

      How exciting that you’re from Kent!
      I hope you find the vegan cheese interesting, it’s great that you’re open to trying it out! :D

  24. Sophie33 says:

    I also love her home-made vegan cheese too,…it is a win win cheeze,….😀😀😀😀 georgous pics too.

  25. lizard100 says:

    What a good thing. I’ve been trying commercial vegan cheeses recently Nd wod rather try to make one. Thanks for this. Great post!

  26. Wow, nice to find this blog, I love this grate-able cheese, it can eliminate my dairy in my diet, thanks!

  27. Reblogged this on matchamochi and commented:
    I’m so surprise to find this grate-able vegan cheddar cheese. Wish you don’t mind I’ll share in my blog: http://matchamochimoo.wordpress.com/

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  30. lusiakurk says:

    Reblogged this on lusiakurk and commented:
    Vegan cheese that I must try to create

  31. Wow, awesome recipe! Thanks for sharing Poppy! I made nut cheeses (cashew cheese – yum!) before and I was thinking of buying some vegan cheese the other day, but I don’t know, I don’t really trust those supermarket products sometimes, I think they use a lot of other not that natural ingredients to make a product work. I love this recipe because it’s so simple and really seems to give a great addition to a dish. Definitely what you created is proof enough! Yum! I need to give this a try sometimes! ;-)

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Sylvia, thank you for your lovely comment! I hear you about supermarket products and I definitely think that many add artificial flavourings and also a lot of fat. It’s not necessary!

      I hope you try this and love it :)

  32. Elizabeth says:

    This sounds great! I’m not vegan but my daughter is, and I’m so glad to see this post. Thank you for stopping by my blog, too!

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  34. hemakkumar says:

    Looks lovely!
    i was looking for this, will try, thanks.

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  36. Tami says:

    It looks so good Poppy!

  37. Shreya says:

    wow awesome recipe ! loved it

  38. nicoleberth1 says:

    This looks amazing! Gotta try this!! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  39. Cheese was the second hardest thing for me to give up when I went vegan (the hardest was ice cream!), but like you I’m over that now. Still, I’ve got several omnivore friends who say that the only reason they won’t go vegan is because they don’t want to give up cheese. This has led me on a hunt for some really good vegan cheese recipes, and this one looks fantastic! I also love how simple it is to make. Thanks so much for sharing this Poppy!!! Celeste :)

    • Poppy says:

      Celeste I was really lucky in that I didn’t eat much ice cream before turning vegan and in fact eat more of the vegan kind now than I did before!! I love the simplicity of this recipe too and that it is light on fat and calories..sometimes only a cheesy pizza will do ;) thanks Celeste, always great to hear from you!

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  41. I don’t know how I missed this before?? But I just saw the link from Celeste’s post. Great recipe but I can’t have soy milk so I will figure out an alternative and see what happens. I have a hormone imbalance so can’t have any soy unless its in the form of fermented soy like tempeh. And yes, many friends say they could never give up cheese! I did it for health reasons, and felt so much better it doesn’t bother me at all. And of course ethically, dairy animals suffer unbearably- I’ve seen it close up :( I am a framers daughter, one of my Uncle’s was a butcher and the other a dairy farmer! urgh. Made for some interesting conversations as I went vegetarian really young, aged 14. My butcher Uncle and I argued every Boxing Day, ironically he now is so ill with various digestive disorders and concerns about colon cancer, he has had to go almost vegan. As I tried to tell him years ago. Anyhow, thanks for sharing!

    • Poppy says:

      Wow April! You certainly don’t come from the background that would expect you to become vegetarian!! It’s really sad that it has taken illness to make your uncle see the light. What a shame people aren’t open to understanding before it’s too late. I admire you for turning vegetarian and sticking to it despite your family background and the pressure you received. I know it’s hard when you’re young too as people think it’s just a phase. I was 6 when I declared I didn’t want to eat my friends anymore after a visit to a family friends farm taught me what meat actually was. I remember my mum trying to tempt me with roast chicken once but other than that she let me be and wasn’t too phased by it having been a teen in the 70’s and my dad had been an on-off vege during their marriage! He’s currently a vegetarian and I hope for ever now! Anyway, in regards to the cheese, I’m sorry you missed it before! You could easily make it with nut milk, you’ll get best results with a thick and rich kind like a homemade one. I’d love to know if you make it! :)

      • Hey Poppy, will definitely let you know what I use and how it turns out. I was thinking either my own almond milk or possibly brown rice milk as that is also quite thick. I see more and more people open to plant based diets, it’s certainly more common than when I first went vegetarian- I am now vegan. I do feel sad for people who end up ill before they realise. Thanks again for another great recipe!

      • Poppy says:

        I look forward to hearing how you get on so I can add a note to the recipe for soy free alternatives. I agree, I definitely see vegetarianism and even veganism becoming more mainstream. It’s great! Hope you enjoy the cheese :)

  42. Lauzan says:

    Wonderful! I’m going to try your recipe this afternoon, Poppy!

    • Poppy says:

      Id love to know how you got on! Sorry you missed it before! :)

      • Lauzan says:

        I think I did something wrong, my cheese had a lovely taste (!!!) but it was not hard enough. Maybe the agar-agar quantity was not enough…? What do you think?

      • Poppy says:

        Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! Did you use agar flakes or powder? And did you use a full fat soya milk? I will make it again and see if there is possibly variation with brands of milk… I hope you can still use it!!

      • Lauzan says:

        Hi Poppy, I used full almond milk (because I really don’t like soy milk) and agar powder as in your recipe…I will try again. The taste was excellent, maybe it’s the milk that makes the difference, what do you think? I will try again.

      • Poppy says:

        I think it could be the milk, I’ve added a note to the recipe because I used a thick soy milk so perhaps that’s why. I know coconut milk works but gives a lot of coconut flavour! What about trying a homemade thick almond milk? Really glad you liked the taste!

      • Lauzan says:

        Good idea! I will try that! Thanks, Poppy! I will keep you posted! xxx

      • Poppy says:

        Good luck!!! xo

      • Lauzan says:

        thanks Poppy!!

  43. Lauzan says:

    I’m sorry I missed it too before Celeste’s post!,

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  45. Tamara says:

    This looks unbelievable…I am heading to the store now! I have been too lazy to do much with cheeses other than cashew cream ones, and the odd nutritional yeast sauce, so this is perfect :)

  46. Pauline Clark says:

    That was really interesting, I’m not vegan or even vegetarian but it looks wonderful and I think I will give it a try!

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Pauline! You don’t need to be vegan to try it! My partner isn’t vegetarian but he loves a lot of vegan foods :D I hope you have fun if you make it!

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  50. Dani says:

    Agar, tapioca powder and nutritional yeast – nada in this country…!

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  52. Jubes says:

    Hi Poppy, what’s the difference between using probiotic and not using it in the final product?

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Janetta, the probiotic aids in adding a little tang, most of the goodness of the probiotics dies from the heat but it still aids in the flavour, especially after a couple of days. But it’s still plenty delicious without it, I didn’t try adding the probiotics until after making it without a few times!
      Poppy :)

  53. Anne Marie says:

    can i use corn starch instead of tapioca starch?

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Anne Marie, the tapioca starch is what gives it it’s gooey, stretchy meltiness which I am unsure the corn starch would give. If you try, please feedback how it works!

  54. Tree girl says:

    Sounds amazing! Where do you get the probiotic from and what is the purpose of it? Thanks for your help. Looking forward to trying this :-)

  55. wegantastic! says:

    wow, the recipe is fantastic! I will have to try this :)

  56. Molly Czachur says:

    Looks amazing I’ll have to try this when I find out what agar powder and abiotic are… I’m in the UK but haven’t heard of these… are they easy to find?

  57. Tim says:

    Made the Cheese yesterday, but it seems I made something wrong…
    My cheese isn’t really hard even though I’m pretty sure I did everything like in the recipe…
    It’s more like hardened jelly, do you have any tipps ?
    Should give it a second try

    Thanks for the recipe

    • Tim says:

      Made a second attempt… Again the cheese didn’t harden in the fridge it’s just a wobbly jelly :/
      I put it in the freezer to really freeze it now, so I can use it…
      Will update once tried with some food ;)
      Cheers

      • Poppy says:

        Hi Tim,

        I’m really sorry to hear this :(
        The only time I’ve experienced this is when a milk with not enough fat in it has been used? Do you think that could be the case for you?

        It will still be tasty and sliceable just not grateable I’m afraid!

        Poppy :)

      • Tim says:

        Hey Poppy,
        the taste is awesome and it really melts quite a bit and hardens ;)
        On the first 2 tries I used agartine which is only 20 % out of agar agar…. Sadly I saw that very late :D
        I used pure agar agar now it got way harder now but still not grateable…
        But I guess too low fat is the problem, thanks for your reply, since it’s that awesome I’ll give it more tries until I get the result I want :D

        Thanks

        Cheers

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  59. Fina Alatas says:

    Do you think I can use cider instead of white vinegar?

    Thanks!

  60. Zoe says:

    Well I’m currently trying this and I don’t think it’s going well :-( firstly I’m from the UK so instead of tapioca I used cornflour and instead of agar I used psyllium husk powder and I uses easy bake yeast. At the moment it’s like a dough mixture but with hard lumps. Because When I used some hot soya with the cornflour it just went rock solid and was hoping out would melt down when I put it in but it hasn’t.

    It smells cheesy but I’m concerned about consuming it!

    • Poppy says:

      Hi Zoe, I can’t advise on your substitutions as they are not recommended to be used. I am not sure why you have used easy bake yeast? It does not require a raising agent. It sounds as though it would not be anything like the recipe intends, it should not be a dough, I think that is because you have used baking yeast.

      I’m sorry that your efforts haven’t paid off. You will find the correct ingredients in places like Holland and Barrett and ocado and other health foods shops or online. I am in the UK too.

      Best wishes.

      Poppy

  61. ronovan says:

    Thanks for this! Can you tell me the brand of soy milk that you use. I’d like to start out with your exact ingredients.

    • Poppy says:

      Hi, I most often use Alpro, a mix of the cream and the regular unsweetened milk, for a richer and former set I use all cream. Hope that helps! :)

  62. Lina Prompona says:

    Im so gonna do that today! Looking forward for some meltable cheese! Never tasted one (vegan)! Cant find phyticall products here (Im in an island in Greece). Thanks in advance for the recipe. Ill be back for the result lol <3
    Ps im gonna use corn flour instead of tappioca.

  63. Jody says:

    Have you tried this using a nut milk instead of soya?

  64. maggie says:

    what does the vinegar do?

  65. Done that twice! The first time wasnt that successfull because I added the agar powder all in once.
    So I tried one more, I think its almost perfect now. Thanks so much for the recipe! It does melt and Im so excited :) :)
    I have a question though, how come my cheese is already formed before the last step? After adding the agar and stiring well it turns hard, so I dont have the chance to “boil again and add the other ingredients”. I just heat it and add them.
    Maybe the agar I use is more powerfull and needs less of that?
    Thanks in advance for the answer, hope you upload more yummy recipes!!

    • Poppy says:

      Hello. Thank you for your lovely message. Interesting that your mix sets hard so soon, you must have a nice firm set when cooled? Perhaps you could try using 3 tsp of the agar and seeing how the final set is. It should be firmer after adding the agar but not hard, it should get hard after adding the starch mixture. It’s not an issue though as long as you are managing to work everything in. Next time play with flavours, you could add herbs like chopped chives or sundried tomatoes for an extra special cheese!

      Poppy :)

  66. I have been looking for an easy, not intimidating vegan cheese recipe for ages, so glad to have found your blog! I made this for our fajitas and it turned out really nice, I used regular soy milk and agar flakes since thats what I had available to me when I discovered my creamer had spoiled. I set it in little silicone shapes (bear, heart and star) which my kids really got a kick out of.

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  68. Might you think arrowroot powder can work in place of tapioca starch, or have you *only* used tapioca to get that “gooeyness?” I’m on a serious budget, but I really want to give this a try this weekend! I will look for tapioca starch when shopping, but I already have all the other ingredients (except agar, which I *finally* found cheap at a local asian market!) including the arrowroot. Any advisement will be much appreciated!

  69. I’m going to use coconut cream…advisable or *no*? I use coconut a LOT more regularly than soy, and I’d rather not let the soy go to waste…plus, I’m trying to cut back on processed mylks..
    Also, will arrowroot powder work as a replacement for tapioca starch, or is that not an ingredient you’ve tried (yet)? Feedback is *much* appreciated.. wanting to give this a try this weekend and will shop around for budget-friendly prices on tapioca starch…thank you!

    • Poppy says:

      Sure you can use coconut however be warned that the coconut flavour will likely be present. Often ‘arrowroot’ is actually tapioca starch in the UK but I’m not sure if that will be the same for you. I haven’t tried it but I think it is worth a shot it just may not have the same gooeyness. Please do feedback. Good luck :)

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