I absolutely adore making agar cheeses. The fact that you can use just about any mold that your imagination can come up with, is downright liberating in the kitchen. You can use bowls ( shallow, deep or somewhere in-between ), tupperware containers, candy molds, bakers molds, you name it.
When I made this cheese I wanted to create a cheese wheel for a gathering we were having. I thought it would make for a nice cheese and cracker presentation. I have a circular pan with a removable bottom which I really enjoy using, so I opted for that.
As I was digging out my pan, I happen to spy my container with stencils in it and that got me to thinking… it would be awesome to leave some sort of impression on the cheese, turning it into a conversation piece. I just so happened to have picked up a gear stencil at a craft store some time back… perfect! You can see the photos below on how turned out
To head you all off, because I know you will ask for the recipe for the crackers in the photo… these are store-bought, gluten-free crackers. The BBQ that we were hosting was sprung on me a bit to late and I didn’t have time to make any raw ones.
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Ingredients: yields: 1 (8″) wheel
- 2 cups raw sunflower seeds, soaked 4+ hours
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp chickpea miso
- 2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- After soaking the sunflower seeds, drain and rinse them before adding to the blender.
- In a high-speed blender combine the sunflower seeds, 1 cup water, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, miso, salt and spices until it is smooth and creamy… free of any gritty feeling. Depending on the machine, this can take 1-3 minutes.
- Once the cheese mixture is ready, it is time to make the agar gel. In a small sauce pan, bring 1 cup of water to light boil, add the agar. Stir continuously until the agar had dissolved. This can take several minutes. Keep whisking! If it gels up in the pan, return to heat and melt it down again.
- Start the blender and get a vortex going with the mixture. Drizzle in the agar gel and blend until combined. You will need to stay focused and move fairly quickly. Agar will start to set up as it cools.
- Pour into mold and then place in the fridge, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes. Eat sliced or shred!
- Note ~ I don’t use anything to prepare my molds to help them release once it has set. It is good about just popping out.
- Keep in the fridge up to 5 days.
One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage. Daily I get questions regarding substitutions. Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe. I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family. I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item. Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient. Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself. So have fun, don’t be afraid, and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.