I recently received The Uncheese Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak for my birthday, and I made one successful Herb & Tomato Cheese Spread last week. So I thought I'd try my hand at a solid, sliceable block cheese. The book has a recipe for almost any cheese you can imagine — Gouda, Colby, Mozzerella. But as a former fan of Muenster (I always loved the sprinkly reddish orange rim), I decided to shoot for that.
Though it appears fairly solid in this photo, it was definitely not. The cheese was actually more spreadable than the spread I made last week. Apparently, I'm lacking in agar skills.
I didn't have any agar flakes, which the recipe called for, but I did have agar powder. So I looked up the measurement substitutions on a PPK forum. According to one poster, a half-teaspoon of agar powder equals one tablespoon of agar flakes. So I dissolved 2 1/2 teaspoons in the water since the recipe calls for 5 tablespoons of flakes.
The agar and water came to a boil. And I lowered the heat and stirred constantly for about 10 minutes. But it never really thickened. Having only worked with agar once or twice before (without much luck), I assumed the stuff would "set" as it cooled.
So I poured it in the blender with the raw cashews, lemon juice, nooch, and other ingredients and blended until smooth. Per the instructions, I poured the mix into a mold lined with paprika and placed it in the fridge overnight. When I woke this morning, the consistancy hadn't changed a bit.
Fortunately, it still tastes great! I spread some on an Amy's Bistro burger for dinner and on sprouted grain toast for lunch (eaten with leftover linguini).
Does anyone have any agar tips? The Uncheese book doesn't provide much in the way of an agar troubleshooting guide.