Smoked Sunflower Cheese
Man, I’m so happy to finally be back to sharing homemade goods with y’all! And I’m back with a dynamite recipe for Home-Smoked Sunflower Cheese. Have you done indoor smoking? How about made your own cheese? Had sunflower seed cheese? I’m going to tell you how to do it all, and why it’s worth it.
I started using sunflower seeds for cheese after reading But I Could Never Go Vegan by Kristy Turner. She has a recipe in her book for sunflower seed cheese that melts and grates and is honestly so delicious that you don’t miss the cashews at all. Raw cashews are so expensive compared to sunflower seeds, so I was stoked to have an alternative.
And on the subject of economic relief, let’s discuss the issue of vegan cheese. First and foremost, I absolutely think artisan foods are worth the price they set. Having worked in food manufacturing, I understand that companies like Miyoko’s strive to make great products that can be bought by as many people as possible. Prices are as low as they can go while still ensuring the product is made with integrity, and the business has enough profit to run. This boring business lesson is all to say that that stuff is expensive, and while I’m not mad about it, I can’t justify spending that much every time we want cheese. Which is always.
What else could I do but make our own? Our favorite cheese from Miyoko is her Smoked Farmhouse. It’s nutty, sharp, and smokey, and just about the most perfect vegan cheese there is IMO. Cost aside though, we haven’t been able to find it anywhere in months! Thankfully, I started testing this recipe almost a year ago when our cheese habit was starting to get out of control. But really, what’s better on a weekend afternoon than drinking a glass of wine and snacking on crisp salty crackers topped with rich vegan cheese?
This cheese is creamy and full, and truly smoked – not just smoke flavored. This distinction is important. Without actually smoking the cheese, what you’ll have is a basic smoked flavored snack that is just kinda ehn. Don’t get me wrong, the recipe is great. But the flavors are mild because they are meant to complement the main flavor of the smoke.
Don’t be intimidated by indoor smoking. Not only is this cheese worth the adventure, but the world of easily smoked foods is a gift. Once you see how easy it is, your mind will start reeling on what else you can do. Smoked vegan bacon? Sure. Smoked vegan ribs? Why not? All it takes is a pot, a steamer, some woodchips, foil, and a dream.
print recipe Smoked Sunflower Cheese | Vegan
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon agar powder (not flakes)
- 3/4 cup water
- 6 tablespoons original unsweetened non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup smoking chips
- 1 medium-sized pot with a tight-fitting lid
- 1 standard sized metal vegetable steamer
1. In a high powered blender, add the sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika. Pulse on a medium speed about 4-5 times just to break up the seeds.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat whisk together the agar powder, water, and milk. Whisk continuously until the mixture comes to a boil. The agar powder should be dissolved, and the liquid should have a shiny sheen to it. It should also be thicker.
3. Add the agar mixture, white miso paste, and dijon mustard to the sunflower seed mixture in the blender, and blend until the mixture is smooth. Give it a taste for salt.
4. Divide the cheese equally among two or three ramekins, and place them in the fridge to fully harden (around 2-3 hours). After the cheese has hardened, you can remove them from their ramekins by running a knife along the edge, and popping them out. They should come out really easily. Now you can start getting ready to smoke.
5. Combine the smoking chips and water in a bowl, and allow the chips to soak for ten minutes. Drain the water and save the chips.
6. Tear off 2 approximately 6 inch wide pieces of foil, and fold each piece of foil in half long ways. Place one piece of foil in the bottom of your pot. Transfer the drained wood chips to the pot over the first piece of foil. Top the wood chips with the second piece of folded foil.
7. Take your metal steamer, and slide it into the pot over the foil covered wood chips. Open it up. Your indoor smoker is now assembled!
8. Cover just the bottom of the steamer with a piece of parchment just big enough to hold the wheels of cheese. Place the cheese in the parchment-lined steamer with about an inch of room between each if you can manage it. Place the lid on top of the pot.
9. Put the smoker on the stove over high heat until it starts to smoke – this should take about five minutes. You’ll know when it’s smoking by the smell and sound (and if your seal wasn’t great, the escaping smoke). Turn the heat down to medium-low, and continue to smoke the cheese for 10 minutes.
10. Remove the smoker from the heat, and let the cheese sit, still covered, for 20 minutes.
11. When the cheese is done smoking, carefully remove each wheel from the steamer, and onto a plate. Place the cheese in the fridge to re-harden and cool down. Wrap each wheel tightly in plastic wrap and/or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.