When dairy is no longer an option, you might wonder how to prepare recipes that call for cheese. We quickly found out that grated zucchini has the texture of grated, melted cheese and can be a cheese substitute on pizzas or in lasagna.
The next step was making a soft, ricotta-like cheese out of soy milk.
- 1 Quart unsweetened, unflavored soy milk
- 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar
- Herbs to add to cheese (optional)
- A colander or strainer with legs
- A large bowl
- Cheesecloth, one to two square yards, or white flat-weave cotton dish towel (not terry)
- Sturdy, heavy-bottomed saucepan
- Long-handled spoon
1. Place the colander over or in the bowl. Line the colander by draping layers of cheesecloth over the sides. Modern cheesecloth is rather flimsy and has large openings, so fold to make at it at least three layers thick. A clean white cotton dish towel works even better.
The colander should have legs, as there will be quite a bit of fluid whey produced.
2. Pour the soy milk into the heavy-bottomed saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium to medium-high heat and stir constantly until the soy milk boils.
Watch closely and stir frequently, because the soy milk burns easily. If the soy milk begins to burn (brown or blacken at the bottom of the pan) quickly transfer to another pan and continue stirring. Transferring will lessen the chances of a burnt flavor.
Note: Hot, thick liquids like soy milk can boil over quickly and unexpectedly.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the lemon juice or vinegar and stir. (I prefer lemon juice because it has a lighter, brighter flavor.)
4. Let stand for twenty minutes to let the curds (clumps) and whey (liquid) form and separate somewhat.
The soft clumps are the curds.
5. Pour the curdled milk into the cheesecloth. Allow the whey, or watery part to drip through. Catch the solid part, the curds. Once the liquid seems to have moved through the cheesecloth, pull the edges of the cheesecloth over the curd and press gently to remove as much of the whey as possible.
Note: Squeezing too hard will mash the curds into the layers of cheesecloth, and they will be hard to remove.
When the curds are the consistency of ricotta cheese, they are ready to eat.
- Salt (only the smallest amount, as salt tends to overpower this mild cheese)
- Diced tomatoes
- Herbs like dill or chives
Serve with crackers and vegetable sticks.
This soy cheese works well in lasagna or in enchiladas, too.
Do you have any suggestions?