HERE IT IS. The vegan blue cheese recipe is finally here guys!
I’m really, really excited about this recipe. First, because I’m working on it since several months and secondly because it tastes exactly like blue cheese.
The texture is just perfect, it’s creamy so you can spread it easily on a slice of bread, but firm enough to cut it into slices. It has that rich and strong aroma. This cheese is actually even stronger in taste than my vegan aged camembert! Non-vegans could not believe it was not “real” blue cheese!
Just like the vegan aged camembert, this blue cheese is made with one 4 ingredients: cashews, probiotics, mold cultures and salt.
The recipe is actually pretty easy to make, the hardest part is to be patient since the whole process will take over a month. You start by soaking the cashews in water for at least 5 hours. Then you blend them with the coconut oil, water, probiotics and penicillium roqueforti until you get a thick and creamy mixture. The probiotics will trigger the fermentation process and the mold will give the cheese it’s rich flavor and blue color. The coconut oil is here to add creaminess, it also helps the mold grow since it requires a lot of fat. I recommend refined coconut oil, that has been deodorized. Please do not omit any ingredient.
You can get the penicillium roqueforti mold here. It might seems a little bit expensive for a small bottle but a little goes a long way. For 4 cheeses you will only need 1/8 tsp, which means you will be able to make about 100 batches of 4 cheeses with one bottle. The bottle can be stored in the freezer for a long time. If you are located in Europe, you can find vegan cultures, supplies and everything you need to make vegan cheeses on Cashewbert.
The exterior of this blue cheese is dark blue because I didn’t scrape the sides. The rind is edible, but if you prefer the exterior to be white, you can gently scrap the mold using a clean knife every two weeks. I prefer to leave the rind because…well it looks cooler and after about a month it will become a little bit firmer. Creamy inside + firm rind = perfect cheese to me.
The mixture needs to ferment at room temperature for one day before you place it in springform pans. After 2 days you need to salt the exterior of the cheeses, salt will help the mold grow and make the cheese tastier.
The dark blueish mold is what gives the cheese its characteristic flavor. The problem is the mold needs to be in contact with the air to grow, so you need to have many small openings inside the cheese for better mold growth. Regular blue cheeses are often pierced several times with a skewer to make holes, I tried this way but without success. After severals tries, I thought of scrambling the cheese into little pieces and then forming it again without pressing to much to leave large holes inside it. It changed everything.
This step must be done when the cheese is a little bit firmer, at about 2 weeks. You scramble the cheese with clean hands in a large bowl and re-fill the springform pans without pressing too much to leave large holes.
The next step is to flip the cheeses everyday and wait…This cheese will be ready in about 5 weeks total, but if you are patient enough to wait for another 2 weeks I promess you won’t regret it! It will become even stronger and sharper.
I hope this recipe will prove it’s possible to make everything with plant-based ingredients. If you are not vegan yet, you don’t have to give up on cheese anymore!
Serve this blue cheese alongside vegan camembert, onion chutney, grapes and you have one of the best vegan cheese platter!
Quick note: If you are making vegan camembert at the same time, I recommend you keep them in two separated boxes.
Please let me know if you try this recipe and feel free to ask if you have questions about the process!
Update: Many people have been making this cheese without giving any credit back and labelling it as their own. I worked really hard to create this recipe and had to make a ton of experiments before releasing it, please give credit by tagging @fullofplants on Instagram or linking to this website.
The day before
- Soak the cashews in filtered water for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Forming the cheese
- Drain the cashews, rinse them under cold water and place in the bowl of the blender.
- Add the coconut oil and 5 tablespoons of filtered water to the bowl of the blender.
- Open the probiotic capsules and add the powder to the bowl.
- Add the penicillium roqueforti. If your penicillium roqueforti is in powdered form, please check the notes.
- Blend on high speed, scraping down the sides from time to time, this step might take about 10 minutes depending on your blender. You can also use a food processor if you don’t have a powerful blender.
- The mixture should be smooth but thick. If needed, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until smooth. Do not add too much water, you want to use as least as possible.
- Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with plastic film and let sit at room temperature for one day, this step is important to let the cheese ferment.
- The following day, place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 4 hours to make the mixture easier to work with.
- After that, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut strips of parchment paper and lay them in 4 small springform pans (For each cheese I used two 3-inch cookie cutter rounds, stacked). You want to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. You can also use plastic film if you prefer, the goal is to prevent the cashew mixture to touch the metal. Fill each pan with the mixture and press it down using plastic film so it doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Place the cheeses on the baking sheet and cover them with a plastic box to keep some humidity inside, it’s important for better mold growth. Place the box in your refrigerator (you will age the cheeses if your refrigerator all the time).
- After 2 days, sprinkle salt over the top of the cheeses, and lightly rub with clean hands. Carefully flip the cheeses using a small plate and remove the springform pan. Sprinkle salt on top and on the sides, rubbing gently. The cheeses will still be very soft but they will be easier to work with after a few days.
- Continue to flip the cheeses everyday, always use clean hands or work with a plastic film to be sure you are not touching the cheese.
- Mold should start to appear after about 7 days.
- After 2 weeks, scramble the cheeses into little pieces (just like when you scramble tofu) into a clean bowl.
- Lay strips of parchment paper in springform pans and fill each pan with the scramble cheese, without pressing too much. This step is important to create holes inside the cheese, the mold needs to be in contact with air to grow. Place the cheeses on the baking sheet, cover with plastic box and place in the refrigerator.
- Continue to flip the cheeses everyday for the next 3 weeks, always using clean hands or gloves. This step only takes a few seconds everyday.
- After a total of 5 weeks, the inside and the outside of your cheeses will be covered with blue mold. They will be ready to eat!
- The longer you let them age in the refrigerator, the stronger the taste.
- The cheese will keep for at least 2 months in the refrigerator and will become firmer and sharper.
Penicillium Roqueforti is also available in powdered form. If using powder:
Bring a cup of water to a boil, let cool for about 2 hours.
In a small bowl or glass, combine 5 tablespoons of the water with ⅛ tsp of penicillium roqueforti. Cover with plastic film and let sit in the fridge overnight. Use this water in place of the filtered water (make sure to stir it before using).
The size of the pans have no real importance, use what you have on hand.