Miyoko Schinner is well known as a pioneer in the field of vegan cheese and butter. The company started small (in Sonoma, California) and is now one of the most respected vegan food companies, with products available across the US, Canada, and parts of Australia.
Discovering Miyoko’s vegan butter was an eye-opening experience as it made it clear to me that vegan alternatives were becoming as good as their animal-based counterparts. And that’s saying a lot as I love butter even more than cheese and I come from Ireland, home of Kerrygold butter.
Here’s a video of Miyoko accepting one of the many awards that Miyoko’s Creamery has won:
Review of Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar
I ended up trying both the block and sliced versions of Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar – they are exactly the same, nutritionally, so it’s really just a question of what format works for you. If you are mainly melting the cheese on top of burgers then the sliced version may make the best sense. However, I prefer the block as I like to cut the cheese thinner than these slices for putting on crackers, etc. I also prefer the texture of this Farmhouse Cheddar when it’s cut thin with a serrated knife and a little rough on the surface.
Texture is one of the key aspects that makes or breaks a vegan cheese. Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar has a much more complex texture than the So Delicious cheese that I reviewed recently, and at first I found it a little off-putting. However, in the right situation the texture (or mouthfeel – how I dislike that phrase!) actually becomes a benefit. On its own, the cheese was a bit grainy (almost gritty) for me, but on a multigrain cracker the textures of the cheese and cracker melded well and now I’m a fan!
Cheese (and tomatoes) on crackers is one of my all-time favorite snacks – I think I would be pretty happy on a desert island for a month with just that (and perhaps veggie fried rice) to sustain me. So, it’s really great to have found a vegan version of cheddar that’s just as delicious as the dairy version!
So, finding the right way to use these vegan cheeses is important – textures vary and some melt much better than others. Here’s a video review of Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar where kids try it in several formats (straight up, grilled cheese, mac and cheese) – the winner was the grilled cheese format (aka, cheese toastie).
One of the key factors that make Miyoko’s products good is that they are cultured (i.e., fermented by microbes) in a similar way to making sourdough bread, soy sauce, kombucha, yogurt and, in fact, most cheeses! Most of my favorite vegan dairy products involve some culturing – like Spero cream cheese, Violife feta, and Kite Hill butter. I’ll be reviewing Miyoko’s vegan cultured butter in a future post.
Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar – ingredients
Miyoko’s Cultured Vegan Milk (Oat Milk (Filtered Water, Organic Oats), Navy Beans, Organic Garbanzo Beans, Cultures), Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Oil, Fava Bean Protein, Potato Starch, Organic Tapioca Starch, Contains Less Than 2% Of Sea Salt, Calcium Sulfate, Natural Flavors, Organic Yeast Extract, Organic Annatto, Organic Cultured Dextrose, Konjac, Organic Locust Bean Gum
Lactose Free • Palm Oil Free • Gluten Free • Soy Free • Palm Oil Free • Cashew Free • Allergen-Friendly
Compared to the So Delicious vegan cheese (American and Cheddar slices) that I reviewed previously, there’s more nutritional appeal here. The main ingredient is cultured plant-based milk that’s made from a mix of oats, navy beans and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). There’s also protein from fava beans, bringing the protein content to 3 grams per 1 ounce (28 gram) serving. Based on the ingredients, I presume that there are also some minerals and vitamins, besides the calcium, that aren’t listed here.
Ethical rating for Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar
Here’s a summary of how I feel about the social and environmental impact of Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar, which I’m scoring 5 Green Stars:
- It’s a vegan product as are all Miyoko’s products.
- Most of the ingredients are organic, except for a couple, like the navy beans. As I’ve mentioned in this post on Ripple milk, some legumes can be grown just as sustainably when not organic (because of rules on fertilizer).
- Miyoko’s Creamery has been central in raising the bar on plant-based alternatives to dairy, encouraging customers to make the switch and reduce their impact.
- Miyoko’s website (FAQs) provides nice info on ingredient sourcing. For example:
- “Instead of fertilizers, farmers apply compost made from weeds, herbs, and wood chips resulting from tree pruning with no animal derivatives.” That’s interesting to know!
- Also from the FAQs: “We do an internal review of our packaging and ingredients to ensure that they are free of animal products.”
- I’ve also received comprehensive responses from Miyoko’s Creamery when I asked questions (about cashew sourcing). So, the company is good about transparency.
- The packaging footprint is a little smaller for the block (my preferred format) than the slices.
- Palm oil free.
- Miyoko runs a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.
- Woman-owned (& minority-owned) company.
- Certified B-Corporation.
Summary scores (out of 5) for Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar block:
- 4 gold stars for quality and value
- 5 green stars for social and environmental impact
If you have a different opinion, please share your rating! Until next time, stay safe : )