I bought one of Miyoko’s cheese wheels at the Grocery Outlet for $5.99, recently – the Smoked English Farmhouse. Funnily enough, I had just bought a different variety – Black Ash – at a much fancier store in Marin a week earlier for $12.99. You can also buy them directly from Miyoko’s Creamery, where prices range from $10-12. There’s eight varieties now – I’m going to look out for the Herbes de Provence, which looks tasty (why don’t vegan cheesemakers use more herbs??). I also want to try one of the Double Cream varieties to compare the texture to the two that I’ve tried so far which are both aged and firm.
[Insert joke about being aged and firm]
Miyoko’s cheese wheels – ingredients
Here are the ingredients for the two cheese wheels from Miyoko’s Creamery that I tried so far:
Miyoko’s Smoked English Farmhouse – ingredients:
Organic Cashew Milk (Organic Cashews, Filtered Water), Organic Chickpea Miso (Organic Rice Koji (Organic Rice, Koji spores) Organic Whole Chickpeas, Sea Salt, Water), Nutritional Yeast, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors (derived from Oregano, Plum, Flaxseed), Cultures
Miyoko’s Black Ash cheese wheel – ingredients:
Organic Cashew Milk (Organic Cashews, Filtered Water), Organic Chickpea Miso (Organic Rice Koji (Organic Rice, Koji Spores), Organic Whole Chickpeas, Sea Salt, Water), Sea Salt, Natural Flavors (derived from Oregano, Plum, Flaxseed), Vegetable Ash, Nutritional Yeast, Cultures
There’s not much difference in ingredients or nutritional content, even though the flavors are quite different. It’s nice to see that it’s more than 10% protein (4 g per serving) as most vegan cheeses contain zero protein.
Making a miso by fermenting chickpeas with koji (Aspergillus oryzae, the same fungus used to make miso and soy sauce) is an interesting approach to making cheese. The use of ingredients like plum and oregano suggests that a lot of work went into the development of these cheeses. So how did they taste?
Review of Miyoko’s cheese wheels
I already reviewed Miyoko’s Farmhouse cheddar, which I rated 4 regular stars for quality/value and 5 Green Stars for social and environmental impact. I think that the cheese wheels maintain the same ethical standards, so the Green Stars rating hasn’t changed – see the next section for details. The flavor of these cheese wheels is more interesting, as you’d expect from the higher price.
Not that Miyoko’s more basic cheeses aren’t good, but I do think that these cheese wheels (at least the types that I’ve tried so far) have raised the bar a little. And that’s really needed in the vegan cheese world. I know that there are some very small companies making high-end vegan cheese, but there aren’t many “craft cheeses” with a wide distribution.
I really like the texture of these cheeses (getting closer to dairy!) – they work well on crackers and in sandwiches or on top of toast. Both have a slightly sharp, citrusy flavor and then the smoked farmhouse has a bacon-like layer of smokiness on top. My friend who likes smoked cheeses more than I do really liked the Smoked English Farmhouse, while I preferred the Black Ash.
Ethical rating for Miyoko’s cheese wheels
Here’s a summary of how I feel about the social and environmental impact of Miyoko’s cheese wheels which, like Miyoko’s butter, I’m rating 5/5 Green Stars:
- They are vegan products, helping to mitigate climate change, deforestation, animal suffering and violence in society.
- Almost all of the ingredients are organic.
- Processing of organic cashews in Vietnam is performed safely, and workers receive decent pay and benefits (see previous post on Miyoko’s butter).
- Miyoko’s Creamery has been a leader in the field of responsible vegan dairy products.
- During lockdown, Miyoko’s Food Truck distributed 15,000 free grilled cheese sandwiches around the US to promote cruelty-free vegan cheese.
- All products are free of palm oil.
- Miyoko runs a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.
- Woman-owned (& minority-owned) company.
- Certified B-Corporation.
Summary scores (out of 5) for Miyoko’s cheese wheels:
- 4.5 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 : )