Learn how to make a vegan, fermented “cheese” from tofu fermented with miso!
Also called “tofu misozuke”, this recipe is based on a Japanese fermentation technique. Miso is applied to the tofu and is left to ferment for several weeks in a cool place.
The enzymes and microorganisms in the miso make the tofu creamy, and its neutral taste becomes rich and complex, with umami and slightly cheesy notes. A real treat!
If you keep the fermentation time shorter, you get a firmer cheese that you can slice and eat on crackers. A longer fermentation time makes the tofu creamy and spreadable.
The enzymes in the miso are the secret of this fermentation. By transforming the soy proteins, they make the tofu much easier to digest. The microorganisms in the miso also get to work to create delicate, slightly cheesy flavours.
Does it really taste like cheese? No. Will it be a hit at your next picnic, on crackers and cucumbers? Absolutely!
Vegan Tofu Cheese Recipe (Tofu Misozuke)
- Clean towel or dishcloth
- Plates and weights, to press the tofu
- Paper towels
- Airtight container
- 1 lb firm or extra-firm tofu
- 1 cup miso
- Wrap the tofu in a clean towel and put it on a plate. Put a second plate on top. Place heavy objects on top to act as weights, such as cans (be careful with the stability of your construction).
- Press the tofu for 12 to 24 hours. Change the towel if it becomes too wet.
- Remove the tofu block from the press. Pat dry any remaining water. Wrap the block in 1 or 2 layers of cheesecloth.
- Using a small spatula or knife, brush the tofu with miso. All sides of the tofu should be covered with miso. No parts of the tofu or cheesecloth should be visible.
- Place one or two sheets of paper towels in the bottom of the airtight container. Place the tofu block on top. Close the container and place it in the fridge.
- Let it ferment in the fridge for 2 to 6 weeks.
- Every week open the container and change the paper towels if they are too wet. Moisture should not accumulate in the container. If some of the miso comes off, reapply it so that the tofu is well coated.
- When you want to eat your tofu, gently scrape off the miso layer and remove the cheesecloth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Tofu to Use?
Choose a firm or extra-firm tofu. Results may vary depending on the brand of tofu, but all give good results.
You can also experiment with seasoned tofu, such as seaweed tofu.
Which Miso to Choose?
Each miso gives different results. Feel free to experiment!
For a more delicate taste, choose white miso (young miso) or chickpea miso.
For a richer, stronger, and more complex taste, use red or barley miso. The older the miso, the stronger the “cheese” will taste.
Note: If you are using homemade miso or miso that still has bits of legumes in it, mash it smooth with an immersion blender or mixer to facilitate coating.
Can I Use Other Ingredients to Get Different Flavours?
Of course you can! This is a basic recipe that you can customize as you wish.
For a cheesier, more nuanced flavour, add 2 tbsp. of sake or mirin to the miso.
You can also add sugar, seaweed, hot pepper flakes, fresh or dried herbs to the mixture…
Can I Reuse Miso After Fermentation?
Yes, no problem. Store it in an airtight jar in the fridge for your next soup.
How Long Should I Ferment the Tofu Cheese?
Let it ferment for at least 2 weeks to see results. The tofu will still be firm and can be cut into small slices.
After a month and a half, the tofu will become creamier and richer. It can still be sliced and spread on crackers.
After 3 months, the tofu will be very smooth with a creamy cheese texture.
How to Eat my Tofu Misozuke?
Any way you like it! It’s best raw, but can also be cooked. Enjoy it:
- On crackers
- In cucumber sandwiches
- On pita bread with sprouts
- On toast in the morning
- On white pizza with nuts
- With Japanese beer or sake
How to Avoid Mould?
The salt and microorganisms in miso create an effective barrier against mould. This is why tofu can be left to ferment for so long in the fridge.
The key to successful fermentation is to limit the amount of moisture. Regularly replacing paper towels and draining water from the bottom of the container is usually enough to keep the tofu safe.