Convenient new products make it possible to whip up delicious dairy-free brie, cheddar, mozzarella, pepper Jack, feta, chèvre, mac n cheese sauce, fondue, nacho dip and Alfredo sauce in minutes.
Urban Cheesecraft, Portland, Oregon’s cheesemaking kit retailer, is aiming to improve the world of dairy-free cheese. Founder Claudia Lucero put her traditional cheesemaking know-how and love for real cheese to use when she developed a new line of mixes for vegan and paleo cheeses and cheese sauces. The mixes function as starters which provide sure-fire ingredients that can be customized for taste preferences, as well as dietary sensitivities – all resulting in popular creamy sauces and firm cheeses without any dairy at all. Her challenge, “If you can make boxed macaroni and cheese, you can create an impressive cheese sauce or beautiful wheel with our mixes.” She adds that the process is just as easy, but the result will be infinitely more delicious and nutritious. Fondue made with steamed cauliflower and mozzarella made with macadamia nuts may sound strange but they work!” What’s the secret? Lucero says, “The fact that I know real cheese makes a big difference. I wanted to make dairy-free cheese that true cheese lovers would enjoy. That I would enjoy!” She continues, “The ability for the customer to have our mixes in the pantry, but be able to whip up custom cheese in minutes, is a bonus.”
To further encourage cheese lovers, Urban Cheesecraft provides short how-to videos to accompany the mixes. Like the company’s popular cheesemaking kits and books, the new dairy-free mixes take the guesswork and intimidation out of the process, while keeping the ingredient list free of soy, gluten, grains, carrageenan and as Lucero puts it, “weird tasting fillers.”
And why would a traditional cheesemaker take on dairy-free cheese at all? Lucero says, “I started teaching cheesemaking and creating cheese kits in 2009, and from the start, I consistently heard requests for dairy-free alternatives.” With a discerning palate, she tested exhaustively and finally responded with two Kickstarter-launched kits in 2015. The Kickstarter campaign was fully funded in 10 days. “I was amazed by the response from all types of people,” she says, which inspired her to develop more recipes. The results are these single-batch, pre-blended starters that make it easy for anyone to whip up a rich dairy-free cheese sauce in 15 minutes and a snack-worthy solid wheel in half an hour.
The mixes retail for $8 per sauce mix and $9 per solid cheese mix and there are 10 varieties total. They can be found at, www.urbancheesecraft.com,
Urban Cheesecraft was founded in 2009 by Claudia Lucero. It began with cheesemaking kits sold on Etsy and local cheesemaking classes. The kits quickly got the attention of Williams Sonoma, Uncommon Goods, New Seasons Market, Zupan’s Market, and Whole Foods Market. Lucero now leads workshops nationally and her book, One Hour Cheese was featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, Bust Magazine, Culture Magazine, Country Living and others. She has a dairy-free cheesemaking book due out in February 2019, available for pre-order now.
Videos, recipes and other products, visit www.urbancheesecraft.com Instagram @urbancheesecraft_dairyfree