Perhaps you are familiar with Claudia Lucero? She is the genius behind Urban Cheesecraft and their Dairy-Free Cheese Kits. Claudia is a cheese-making expert, who turned her craft toward dairy-free cheese several years ago. She’s since mastered the art of making dairy-free cheese, including dairy-free brie and camembert! This delicious recipe is also vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free, and it includes nut-free and yeast-free options.
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Dairy-Free Brie Cheese with Truffled, Black Garlic, and Camembert Options
This decadent dairy-free brie cheese alternative recipe is a sample recipe from Claudia’s cookbook, One-Hour Dairy-Free Cheese: Make Mozzarella, Cheddar, Feta, And Brie-Style Cheeses—Using Nuts, Seeds, and Vegetables. Her base recipe uses mushrooms and pepper, but she provides several options to suit a range of tastes.
Porcini Pepper Camembert Brie is a cheese that can be so mild and firm that even children like it despite the mushroom-like flavor and the white mold that gives it its velvety rind. If aged for long enough, it can also be very funky and downright runny—the mold works its magic all the way inside the wheel. With this dairy-free version, we find a balance by using aromatic black truffle salt and white truffle oil in order to enjoy that earthy flavor that aging and mold create. We never age this Brie, but we can make it taste and even look as tempting and inviting as the real thing. Truffles can be an acquired taste, so feel free to explore the variations if your palate prefers an alternative!
To make this vegan brie or camembert recipe even easier, Claudia has provided these step by step photos.
Photography by Jeff Norombaba
Dairy-Free Brie or Camembert Substitution Tips
Like the recipes in her kits, Claudia provides tons of options to customize her vegan cheese recipes for various dietary needs. Here are several cashew-free, nut-free, yeast-free, and tapioca-free options for this dairy-free brie or camembert recipe.
For the Cashews (choose one):
- 1/2 cup blanched almond flour, no skins (not almond meal)
- 3/4 cup blanched almond slivers (soaked for 8 to 12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes, drained)
- 3/4 cup raw or roasted macadamia nuts (soaked for 8 to 12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes, drained)
- 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (soaked for 8 to 12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes, drained)
Not as dense and rich, but still very tasty:
- 1 cup cooked, drained white beans (cannellini, navy, or Great Northern)
- 1 cup soft-cooked, well-drained cauliflower or zucchini, plus 1 additional tablespoon tapioca starch
For the Tapioca Starch:
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder, and 1 tablespoon for rind
For the Nutritional Yeast (choose one):
- 1 teaspoon tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon mild miso paste (preferably chickpea-based)
Photography by Matthew Benson
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Brie or Camembert
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. See the post above for nut-free and yeast-free options.
- ¾ cup raw or roasted cashews, soaked for 8 to 12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes and drained (see Substitutions in post above)
- 1 cup water or unsweetened dairy-free yogurt
- ¼ cup mashed cooked yellow potato, peeled before cooking
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons tapioca starch, plus 1 tablespoon for rind
- ¼ cup refined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon black truffle salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon tahini paste
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (see Substitutions in post above)
- ¼ teaspoon dairy-free lactic acid
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon white truffle oil (1/2 teaspoon if it’s in olive oil)
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper, for rind
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon agar powder (see Melty Cheese Option below)
- ½ cup water, for agar mixture (omit if using quick-set agar)
- Combine the cashews, 1 cup water, the mashed potato, 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons tapioca starch, the coconut oil, black truffle salt, tahini paste, yeast, lactic acid, mustard, and truffle oil in a strong blender or food processor to make Brie “milk.”
- Blend the ingredients on low and gradually increase to top speed until the mixture is completely smooth. Depending on your machine, this could take 1 minute to 6 minutes. (Stop every minute or so to scrape down the side of the container if needed.)
- If you are using quick-set agar powder, add it to the blender without extra water and blend until smooth, then skip to step 6. Otherwise, place the agar powder in a medium-size pot or pan. Use a fork to whisk the ½ cup water into the agar. Let the mixture sit for 1 minute. The agar may thicken a little.
- Vigorously stir the mixture over medium heat for 5 minutes. The powder will dissolve completely, and the mixture should bubble, boil, and froth a little. When it thickens to look like dense and slightly glossy applesauce, it’s ready.
- Quickly and very carefully scrape the agar mixture into the full blender before it solidifies. Use caution! Hot agar is painful and difficult to remove if it drips on your skin. Blend the mixture until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
- Pour the cheese mixture into a clean pot or pan. Stir it frequently over medium heat as the mixture simmers and starts to change from thin to lumpy.
- Stir the mixture continuously in order to eliminate the lumps and create a smooth texture. It will thicken dramatically as it heats. Stir, fold, and knead for 5 to 7 minutes to fully activate the agar powder and cook the tapioca.
- Lower the heat if you feel any sticking in the pan or if the blend “spits” too much. Turn off the heat when the Brie is shiny and coats the spoon thickly—you may even see stretchy strings.
- Pour the hot Brie into the form or container and allow it to cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator. It should firm up in about 30 minutes, depending on the brand and strength of the agar powder. (Note: You can speed up the cooling process with 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer—just don’t forget it there!)
- Once the cheese is firm, use a silicone scraper, if needed, to gently remove the Brie from the form.
- Spread the remaining 1 tablespoon tapioca and the white pepper on your work surface and blend evenly.
- Very gently roll the Brie wheel (it is tender), covering the top and sides. When covered, it will look powdery smooth, just like Brie.
- Pat off the excess powder. It’s ready to plate and serve!
- Store your Brie in a dry, covered container in the refrigerator. It will remain most firm in the first 2 days but is good for about 1 week.
Porcini Pepper Camembert Option: Omit the black truffle salt and white truffle oil. In step 1, add to the blender: ¼ teaspoon porcini mushroom powder and 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper on the bottom of the form
Melty Cheese Option: Leave the agar powder out completely.
This recipe is reprinted with permissions from One-Hour Dairy-Free Cheese: Make Mozzarella, Cheddar, Feta, And Brie-Style Cheeses—Using Nuts, Seeds, and Vegetables by Claudia Lucero (Workman Publishing).