Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fresh Vegan Mozzarella Pizza

The first time I tried Daiya was at Pizza Pi in Seattle, Washington, about two years ago. I hadn't had cheese or anything cheese-like for the past four or five years, so biting into that first slice of amazing dairy-free Daiya-laden pizza was sort of shocking and weird, but in a very good way. Trying out this soft and slightly gooey fresh soy- and nut-free homemade vegan mozzarella brought back that same kind of omgwhatisthisamazingness feeling, although the taste of this cheese is very different from Daiya's flavor and texture. To give this mozzarella its uniquely soft and velvety texture, I tweaked the the original recipe by adding in some tapioca flour and slightly increasing the amount of coconut vinegar, which reduced the agar's ability to fully gel and set. This final texture is perfect for dolloping on to a pizza and, when removed from a piping hot oven, is beautifully melted and releases an amazing cheesy aroma.

INGREDIENTS
1 can good-quality coconut milk
1 tsp coconut vinegar
2/3 tsp salt
3/4 tsp agar powder
1 TB tapioca flour

METHOD
Place the coconut milk into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until well-emulsified. Add in the vinegar, salt and agar and whisk frequently for about 15 minutes, or until a small boil occurs. Reduce the heat immediately, then whisk in the tapioca flour and heat for 5-10 minutes more. Transfer to a flat-bottomed glass pyrex dish to slightly gel for about an hour.

Place small dollops of the cheese onto a homemade or prepared pizza crust with other desired toppings and bake on a pizza stone at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

35 comments:

  1. This looks amazing! I'll have to try out the mozzarella recipe, too.

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  2. This looks fantastic, but I'm not sold on coconut flavoured cheeze ... is it a strong coconut flavour?

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  3. OMG! That looks incredible! I usually don't miss cheese and don't care but your mozzarella pizza is making me wish I could eat it right now. :-)

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  4. IJustMadeThatUp: No, this doesnt have any coconut flavor at all -- that's what makes this cheese so amazing. The high fat content just gives it a rich, super-creamy (non-coconuty)flavor!

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  5. please tell me that regular vinegar can be substituted for coconut vinegar?

    i miss cheese and i miss pizza. badly.

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  6. Angry Asian: hmmm, I am not sure you can sub regular vinegar here -- the coconut vinegar has such a distinct flavor to it. I hope you can try it out -- the taste and texture is seriously amazing!

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  7. i love your techniques and ingredients. you are amazing and this cheese look delicious!

    dayv doesn't care for daiya, but i use it sparingly on a lot of his food because it's the closest cheese substitute out there. i will really have to try this out!

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  8. Thanks Caitlin! You can cut back the vinegar to a 1/2 tsp and up the tsps of agar to about 7-8, and you'll have the perfect Daiya alternative you can shred on a cheese grater! It does taste very different from Daiya -- I hope you and Dayv enjoy it!

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  9. i have to try this mozarella.. it looks so delicious! we havent had cheese in a long time now tooo.. i dislike daiya for the weird oily chewyness

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  10. Incredible! I can't wait to try this

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  11. Thank you for the inspiration!
    I tweaked it a little (and provided a link back to you) in a Grilled "cheese" + Basil Polenta Sandwich! http://sweetroots.blogspot.com/2012/05/vegan-grilled-cheese-and-basil-polenta.html

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  12. I'm so glad you liked the mozz, Mary! Your photos are gorgeous -- now I want to make your polenta sandwiches!

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  13. I just finished whipping up a batch of this, but after an hour of set time, I have a mostly liquid product with bits of agar suspended within. Was I supposed to grind the agar flakes to a finer consistency? They were quite coarse.

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  14. Talbot -- it may be your agar. Although this doesn't need to be super-firm (it will melt on the pizza anyway), the bits of agar left over means they didn't dissolve the way they should have. If you use the same agar batch again, I would increase the cook time, then add in the tapioca flour at the very end. You may even want to strain the final product to avoid seeing the bits in your mozzarella.

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  15. Talbot, I updated the directions to include this step. Agar can be pretty hard to work with, as the batches vary in quality. Hopefully this will avoid any future mishaps!

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  16. Erin, thank you so much for the quick reply. I made a new batch today, and it was a huge success! I endorse this recipe 100 percent. Everyone should be making this!

    Couple of notes:

    I ground my agar down to a finer consistency for better dissolution, and made your recommended adjustments for a slightly firmer cheese. Those who want the firmer version should probably use agar powder, rather than flakes.

    Also, I went ahead and strained that first, "failed" batch, and was shocked at the result: an awfully good vegan yogurt! So this was like two recipes in one. I could not be more thrilled. Tomorrow night will see some delicious tzatziki sauce in my house!

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  17. Anonymous -- thanks for the update! I am intrigued with this "mistake" and will have to now try this out myself! I love it when things like this happen. Enjoy your yummy vegan tzatziki!

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  18. Thank you so much for this recipe! Can't wait to try it but never heard of coconut vinegar before, plus used up my tapicoa flour last night. As soon as I can find the ingredients I will be trying this out....I miss cheese so much. (I have to be gluten-free, caisin free, soy free, and shellfish free)

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  19. Erin, did you end up trying to replicate Anonymous' 'mistake' that resulted in yoghurt? If so, I'd love the recipe! :-)

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    1. I have not ... yet! But this recipe is fun to experiment with -- just a slight modification with ratios can result in completely different results like Anonymous had.

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  20. Hi, this looks great. I am only 4 months into being vegan and miss cheese sooooo much. I am also trying to cut out wheat. Trouble is so much wheat free and vegan recipes have tapioca in them. I really don't like its smell or taste (makes me feel yucky). Is there anything else I can use instead of tapioca in this recipe. I would so like to try it. :-)

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    1. Hi jadmrs! I hope you find the coconut cheeses on my site helpful as you totally transition away from dairy-based cheeses. I think that you would be able to sub arrowroot powder here for the tapioca. Start with 1/2 TB of it, then slowly increase as needed to get a gooey consistency. Arrowroot is totally tasteless, should it should not interfere with or impart any other strange flavor here -- good luck!

      check out more homemade vegan cheeses here: http://www.olivesfordinner.com/search/label/homemade%20vegan%20cheese

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  21. Do you think this cheese recipe would be good for lasagna? OR would another cheese recipe you have be a better fit?

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  22. nalani, This cheese would be perfect on top of a lasagna, with tofu ricotta between the layers. I made a lasagna last year that is pretty tasty if you want to check it out:

    http://www.olivesfordinner.com/2011/01/field-roast-and-daiya-lasagna.html

    enjoy!

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  23. Tried this recipe today and substituted the coconut vinegar with apple cider vinegar. It was absolutely AMAZING. So delicious! Will make this again. Thank you!

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it -- thanks for your feedback!

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  24. Does it taste like coconut? I can't imagine it tasting like cheese, but I'd love to try it some time!
    Your blog is amazing, by the way. I hope you always leave it open for everyone to read:)

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  25. I made this yesterday and have just finished off the leftover pizza this evening and wanted to report back on how fabulous it was. The taste, texture and appearance were so much like I remember dairy mozzarella to be like it was bizarre. I used agar flakes and just tripled the amount and had no problems. Thank you for the recipe.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know, and so glad you enjoyed!

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  26. i just tried this with cornstarch in place of tapioca flour & white balsamic instead of the coconut vinegar. i added a tsp of applewood liquid smoke as well... yum!!! perfect for my detox pizza. :)

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  27. I'm super pumped about this.. I just experimented adding nutritional yeast and smoked paprika. It's setting up now. I used 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar and increased the agar to 1 tsp.

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    1. I'm so excited you are trying this out, Melody! I would love to hear how it turned out.

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  28. This recipe is so good! I made it for calzones and the result was perfect. So creamy and delicious! Not only was it wonderful in the calzones, but it was tasty by itself. I tend to be very picky about vegan cheese that is cracker worthy, but the texture of this one is so smooth i could just eat it straight out of the bowl.

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  29. Great Recipe i used Balsamic vinegar instead of coconut vinegar

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