My vegan cheesemongering adventures continue! To the left are two new cheeses I made today: on the far left is a new batch of cheddar and on the right, zchug jack.

Zchug is a Yemenite hot pepper paste used with pretty much everything. It’s delicious and makes for a neat substitute for jalapeños in this recipe, but you can do what Miyoko Schinner recommends in The Homemade Vegan Pantry and use fresh or canned jalapeños.

Step 1: Culturing

1 cup cashews
1 cup rejuvelac
1 tsp salt

Place in blender, blendblendblend until smooth. Place in container with jar (I use a plastic yogurt container.) Be sure to leave room at the top, because this thing expands like there’s no tomorrow when it cultures.

But happily, there *is* a tomorrow, and when you open the container the next morning, see whether the thing has changed. It will unmistakably morph: air bubbles, yeasty scent, expansion, gooey texture.

Step 2: Cookin’

1/2 cup water
1 tbsp agar
the cheese mix from before
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp tapioca

On low heat, simmer 1/2 cup water and 1 tbsp agar in a lidded saucepan. Don’t peak for 3-4 mins. Then open lid, and make sure that the agar is bubbling away. When it finishes the bubbling process, scoop in all the gooey cheese mix and whisk well.

At the same time, quickly dissolve 2 tbsp tapioca in 2 tbsp water. Add to mix and whisk.

Mix until the thing becomes stretchy and shiny.

Step 3: Settin’

2 tbsp zchug, jalapeño, or other hot pepper product of your choice

Add zchug to cheese mix and mix well. Then, pour into container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours for the cheese to set.

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