How to make tofu misozuke | Vegan cheese

by Stephanie Weaver on June 6, 2012

Tofu misozuke with crackers and spreading knifeTurn a block of firm tofu into incredible, spreadable cheese! Low tech and easy… just takes patience and a refrigerator.

The thing you miss most about moving to a plant-based diet are creamy dairy products, so I’m always up for trying new vegan cheese recipes. I met the bloggers at Rau Om through my counter-top tofu cheese post. They told me about their experiments in making tofu misozuke, a Japanese delicacy that’s only made in one district in Japan. Rau Om has now begun crafting this as an artisan vegan cheese, so if you live in the San Francisco Bay area, you can buy it from them directly or from their online store here.

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For detailed instructions and how-to photos of my first delicious batch, read on.
Would you ever consider making this, or is this too weird? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Tofu misozuke
Makes 16 oz (450 g) vegan cheese after two months

16 oz. (450 g) super-firm or extra-firm tofu
1 C. (240 g) white or yellow miso
2 T. (30 ml) sake
2 T. (24 g) granulated sugar*
cheesecloth

1 rooibos or kukicha teabag, 1 sheet of nori seaweed, 1 T. red chili flakes, optional*

Press the tofu using weights or a TofuXpress for 1-2 hours. Dry with a towel and cut in half crosswise so you have two cubes.

[Note: I used two blocks of tofu and doubled the recipe for the marinade, as I wanted to have multiple flavors at the end of two months. *Do not omit or substitute anything from the marinade, or use other types of miso. Do not substitute mirin for the sake. They have spent two years perfecting this recipe. Trust them.]

Tofu block wrapped in cheesecloth

You want 2-3 layers of cheesecloth, with not too much fabric on the ends.

Wrap the pressed, dry tofu in two layers of the cheesecloth so it’s a neat package.

Marinade for tofu misozuke in bowl

Make up the marinade without the extra seasonings; divide if needed.

Mix the remaining ingredients together until smooth. If you are making several flavors, divide the marinade into separate bowls and add the seasoning, mix it in well.

Two tofu blocks slathered in marinade

The block on the right is nori-wrapped, with no cheesecloth.

If you are using a seaweed sheet, wrap the tofu block in seaweed before smearing it with marinade. If you are using tea or red pepper flakes, combine the dry tea or flakes with the marinade. Smear the marinade evenly on all sides, on top of the cheesecloth or nori.

Blocks of tofu in miso-marinade, before aging.

Here are all four blocks (2 pounds of tofu) ready to begin the aging process.

 

Top of the container of tofu misozuke, dated and labelled

I dated the container and labeled the flavors.

Line a lidded storage container with 2-3 layers of paper towels, place the tofu blocks on top of the towels, cover and refrigerate.

Tofu misozuke after one week, with new dry paper towels.

Tofu misozuke after one week, with new dry paper towels. The wet paper towel is visible in the upper right.

Check the paper towels every week. When they are wet, change them to dry towels. I loosened the lid, then flipped the entire container upside-down, allowing me to easily remove the paper towels. The marinade thickens over time and doesn’t stick to the paper towels. I wiped out the container as well. You want to remove the moisture so you don’t grow mold. According to Dang and Oanh from Rau Om, the paper towels will become really wet, yet the tofu will not be any dryer because enzymes in the miso are breaking down the soy proteins and generating water. Chemistry!

After two months, unwrap your “cheese” completely, composting the cheesecloth and/or nori and the miso paste. Store wrapped in waxed paper in the refrigerator in a clean lidded container. Change the waxed paper if it gets too wet. (Or, you can unwrap a corner of the cheese and keep it in the cheesecloth, just removing a portion at a time and re-wrapping it.)

Four flavors of tofu misozuke on a cheese board

Who says you can’t put out a cheese board at a vegan party?

Here are my tasting notes on the four flavors:

  • Plain miso: Pale and creamy, with a velvety texture. Mildly tangy, a spreadable cream cheese consistency. Very mild.
  • Kukicha tea: Distinct tea notes, a little toasty, delicate flavor. Same spreadable consistency. I made a grilled cheese sandwich with this. While it didn’t get very melty, it tasted great.
  • Red pepper: Creamiest, like pub cheese, mildly spicy. My favorite.
  • Nori: More crumbly, tangier, stronger umami flavor, most like blue cheese or Roquefort. This is what I used for the vegan blue cheese dressing recipe.

I would definitely make this again, and will enjoy trying it in additional recipes. Stay tuned.

Today’s post is part of our mission to help you build a healthy life through food and lifestyle choices. Look for posts on Mondays featuring gluten-free, sugar-free recipes made with healthy plant-based ingredients.
Here is a brand of white miso paste if you can’t find it locally:

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