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I am doing my first experiments with vegan cheese, prepared by myself. In 2 out of the 3 tests I'm trying to use bacteria from a real cheese.

It's a French cheese, but an industrial one, whose taste is really mild, and usually it can keep in the fridge for a long time without having too strange an appearance. I was really fond of it when I was not becoming vegan.

Its crust is a soft white velvet similar to what you can find on Coulomier or Brie, or Camembert when it is really young.

In two of my experiments, I have cut just tiny bits of the crust and added at the mixer stage. They are currently fermenting. I don't know if the fermentation will behave well.

But my main concern is about other bacteria. Is it safe to use bacteria that can be contaminated with others traditionally eating cow milk grease, and use them to inoculate seed oil/cream? And what if a bit of the cow milk grease was taken with the crust? I am almost sure there was a bit of that.

For the 3 tests I use a base of:

  • Cashew + sunflower + squash seeds (all soaked for one day)
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 tea spoon of malt year
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • a few centiliters of boiled agar-agar

And in 2 of them (more or less diluted with agar agar water) I have added tiny pieces of cheese crust.

If a white velvet crust develops as on the dairy cheese, I'll use left-over from this to inoculate other vegan cheese preparation. So I will use the milk based bacteria only the first time.

But my fear is about this first transfer:

Could there be salmonella or other pathogens from the milk-based cheese that could contaminate my vegan preparation?

Is it really risky? Should I search for another source of bacteria and which ones? Would that be safer?

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    I can't answer as to whether this is safe, but you can inoculate your mixture using non-dairy yogurt or rejuvelac. – Zanna Sep 29 at 15:47
  • Why not just use a store-bought culture instead? – nadavvadan Sep 29 at 20:17
  • @nadavvadan what are you refering to ? – Stephane Rolland Sep 29 at 20:47
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    You can buy the cultures themselves in specialty shops and online retailers. Just look up “Brie culture” (for example). As for your question - I have no idea, which is why I’m commenting rather than posting an answer :) – nadavvadan Sep 30 at 18:52

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