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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 people miss most about moving to a plant-based diet are creamy dairy products, so I was always up for trying new vegan cheese recipes. I met the (former) 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.

Want more great dairy-free recipes? Check out my Twelve Terrific Dairy Substitutes, now on sale on Amazon.

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.

Suitable for:
vegan, dairy-free gluten-free, reduced-sugar diets

Not for:
low-sodium or migraine diets

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.

If you have questions about the method, please read through the comments, as I have very likely answered them. Due to my dietary restrictions, I haven’t made this in several years, and it looks like Rau Om is out of business.

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.

Tofu misozuke with crackers and spreading knife

How to make tofu misozuke | Vegan cheese

Make your own creamy, complex vegan cheese, a rare Japanese delicacy.
4.37 from 11 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Total Time 32 mins
Course Lunch
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 16 ounces tofu organic, super-firm or extra-firm
  • 1 cup miso white or yellow (240 g)
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar (organic)
  • 1 rooibos tea bag (or kukicha) optional
  • 1 sheet nori optional
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 package cheesecloth

Instructions
 

  • 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.
  • 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. The people who shared this method with me spent two years perfecting this recipe. Trust them.
  • Wrap the pressed, dry tofu in two layers of the cheesecloth so it's a neat package. Two-three layer of cheesecloth, not too much on the ends.
    Tofu block wrapped in cheesecloth
  • 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.
    Marinade for tofu misozuke in bowl
  • 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.
    Two tofu blocks slathered in marinade
  • Line a lidded storage container with 2-3 layers of paper towels, place the tofu blocks on top of the towels, cover and refrigerate.
    Blocks of tofu in miso-marinade, before aging.
  • 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!
    Tofu misozuke after one week, with new dry paper towels.
  • 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.)
    Top of the container of tofu misozuke, dated and labelled

Notes

Per one-ounce serving:
  • 66 calories
  • 2 g fat
  • 0 g saturated fat
  • 1 g monounsaturated fat
  • 1 g polyunsaturated fat
  • 0 g trans fat
  • 0 g cholesterol
  • 644 mg sodium with miso, 3 mg sodium without miso), so likely low-sodium but I can't be certain
  • 75 mg potassium
  • 7 g carbohydrate
  • 2 g fiber
  • 3 g sugars
  • 5 g protein
  • 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus
Since you remove all the marinade at the end of two months, it's possible that this is low-sodium. I just can't be certain how much, if any, of the sodium might be transferred to the cheese.