About this project
Make Scrumptious Dairy-Free Cheese with Urban Cheesecraft Kits
Yes! We hit our goal, but this campaign runs until June 9! I came up with exciting stretch goal rewards; how-to videos, refill supplies and fun tutorials for all backers if we hit higher goals. So let's keep fundraising y'all! See details HERE in update #10.
Thank you SO much!
Hi, I’m Claudia!
I’m the cheesemaker behind Urban Cheesecraft. I created do-it-yourself cheese kits that make it super easy for anyone to master simple cheesemaking at home. I also teach classes and I even wrote the book, One Hour Cheese. But I realized that lots of people living the dairy-free life were missing out on the delightful world of homemade cheese. I can’t have that!
So, I turned my focus to the awesome potential of dairy-free cheese and launched a small batch of a test kit: my Dairy-Free Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit. It works for a variety of needs—including allergen-free, paleo and vegan diets.
It was so well received that I was encouraged to develop recipes inspired by the creamiest goat cheeses, the gooiest bries and deliciously savory cheddars (plus others!) using wholesome nuts, seeds, veggies and even white beans. As a bonus, the processes are inspired by my cheesemaking practices to give you an artisanal, albeit modern, experience.
THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN
With your help I want to launch two new dairy-free cheesemaking kits so everyone can make impressive plant-based cheese at home with ease!
The first new kit would blend my mozzarella & ricotta kit with a popular variety of dairy-free cheddar cheeses—classic american cheddar, smoky cheddar and sharp white cheddar. This kit is great for everyday snacking and cooking.
The second kit would make dairy-free brie, goat cheese, feta and fondue, taking things to another level! These are beloved cheeses wonderful for special occasions but are a cinch to make with my kits.
I was able to put out a small batch of my test kit, but I need your help with final development and production of the new kits.
PRODUCTION EXPENSES INCLUDE:
Purchasing quality ingredients in bulk.
Ordering box and booklet printing in large quantities for the best prices.
Co-packing and fulfillment services for timely delivery.
Finalizing package and booklet designs with artist and illustrator, Amy Ruppel.
How cute are these first drafts?
So, how about it? Would you like to whip up homemade dairy-free cheddar and mozzarella in minutes using real food? What about giving someone else the gift of D.I.Y. dairy-free brie and feta?!
We can make it happen together!
FILLING A NEED
There are many reasons why people don't or can’t eat dairy, or even choose to limit it—whatever your own reason may be, these kits give you delicious dairy-free, major allergen-free alternatives so you can enjoy all of your favorite dishes again. You can choose the ingredients that work best for you.
MY CUSTOMERS SPARKED THIS IDEA
A mixed group of friends with varied diets led me to delve into making natural dairy-free cheese sauces and nut cheese spreads long ago (there’s something for everyone at my cheese parties!). However, the idea for dairy-free cheesemaking kits was initiated by a frequent customer question: Will swapping soy and nut milks for the dairy milk in the dairy-based kits work? While that simple substitution with my traditional kits will not result in delicious cheese, the question piqued my interest.
I suspected that I could apply my experience with making dairy cheeses to making tasty plant-based cheeses. I began truly experimenting and shooting for results beyond sauces and spreads...results that I would be proud of and, as a dairy cheese lover, enjoy. It took a lot of testing but it was so worth it. The cheeses possible with my kits will pleasantly surprise you, perhaps even delight you! I truly crave them and I love the excitement that comes with baffling cheese lovers—both those who prefer dairy-based cheeses and those who choose dairy-free cheeses.
It's very gratifying (and handy!) to be able to offer yummy and beautiful homemade cheeses that your omnivore, vegetarian, paleo, vegan, and lactose-intolerant friends will all enjoy. It's possible!
Here is a sample of the response so far.
I've also had the opportunity to hear first-hand from my class attendees. There was a sweet grandma who was excited to make grilled cheese sandwiches for her dairy-intolerant grandson once again, the vegan dad who thanked me for bringing pizza nights back into his family's life and the inn-keeper who wowed her varied guests with my dairy-free fondue. My favorite was a dairy-lover who meant to sign up for a regular mozzarella class, quietly stayed and to her surprise, loved the dairy-free version too. She confessed at the end of class! All of this makes me ridiculously happy, but it also turns something that is fun for me, into something more meaningful.
So how is it actually done you ask?
HERE I AM MAKING MOZZARELLA
YOU CAN DO IT TOO!
Even though it has become easier to buy dairy-free cheeses at local stores, they are not necessarily customized to our tastes and diets. The selection has definitely improved, but I'm still consistently disappointed. At the new $8-$15 price, it's a big gamble each time. When you make it yourself, you can use real food, make adjustments, try different flavor combinations, save money and enjoy the craft!
THE NEW KITS AND NEW CHEESES
Following the success of my test kit, I listened carefully to my customers and used my experience to determine which other cheeses were "must haves." The feedback guided my focus to specific cheeses again and again.
It became clear that cheddar is adored as a top cheese for snacking, as well as cooking. It's right up there with mozzarella and ricotta so I decided to combine the three into one kit—the new Cheddar, Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit.
I'm proud to say my dairy-free cheddar shreds and melts beautifully!
The second kit includes what I consider to be "fancy" or party cheeses for most of us. Brie and goat cheese are gorgeous on cheese platters as they lend themselves to fresh herbs, edible flowers and spices perfectly. While they can certainly be enjoyed regularly, they can really shine at special gatherings. My delicious feta and fondue use similar processes so I combined all four into the second new kit—the Brie, Goat Cheese, Feta and Fondue kit.
This creamy dairy-free brie drizzled with maple syrup is such a treat!
WHAT COMES IN THE KITS?
To ensure success, I include the key elements listed below in the test Mozzarella and Ricotta kit. The same fail-proof quality will go into the new kits along with additional spices to attain specific flavor profiles:
Instruction and Recipe Handbooks
I present each booklet like a mini class, making sure that you can easily follow the illustrated step-by-step instructions. I also share suggestions for creative flavors and shapes.
I include my email address in every kit and respond promptly in case you have a specific question or run into a surprise. Just like a private class, you won't go it alone. I call it Curd Support.
Supplies Included (enough for 10 batches)
- Gluten-free Tapioca Flour (cassava root)*
- Quick-Gelling Agar Powder (kelp)*
- Non-GMO Citric Acid*
- Fine Mesh Pure Flake Salt*
- 100% Cotton Cheesecloth
NO gluten, soy, grains, or carageenan.
NO dairy derivatives like casein or whey.
*Ingredient substitutions possible- see $10 PDF reward & FAQs
Playful, Helpful Instructions
I keep things light, but guide you thoroughly. There will be no stress in the kitchen on my watch!
With a kit in hand, you essentially have a mini cookbook with the ingredients included. When you eventually do run out of the generous supplies, you will be able to easily refill the key ingredients (on my site, online, or at a well-stocked natural grocer) so you can continue to use your kits again and again.
My goal is to make this easy, fast and delicious. The kits use common kitchen equipment and they make many batches. The great illustrations will guide you clearly as well as put a smile on your face. But more than anything, I made sure that the cheeses are versatile in a way that is tasty and familiar.
For example, the mozzarella is tender and can be sliced, shredded and melted for your pizzas, panini or even quesadillas. Shape it into balls, slice it into a Caprese salad, make tiny wheels to pack in your lunch, or slice it up for cheese and crackers. Just like the real deal.
Ricotta is a simple creamy cheese that is equally flexible—from lasagna to crepes, it serves as a satisfying filling or topping for an endless variety of dishes. Make it with nuts or seeds, again, up to you.
That is a lot of value in one adorable little box. Rest assured, the new cheeses and kits will all have the same attention, fun and flavor built into them!
WHAT YOU BRING TO THE TABLE
1) You add the base! With mozzarella for example, the base could be cashews, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, zucchini, eggplant or even white beans- or a combo for your own unique blend! I also give you the option of adding a healthy oil such as coconut, olive or avocado oil for great texture and a gooey melt.
2) You add the kick! Cracked black pepper or smoked salt? What about oregano and sun-dried tomatoes? Ooh, how about red chili flakes and fresh jalapeños for a pepper jack version?! I also give you tips for using fermented add-ins like miso, sauerkraut brine and other umami goodies for deep flavor. This it the opportunity to give your cheese a signature twist.
In that spirit, any variation of dairy-free mozzarella, cheddar, brie, feta, goat cheese, ricotta, and fondue will be yours to explore and enjoy. Just like with traditional cheesemaking, the texture and flavor of the finished product will vary depending on the ingredients and extras you choose. You become an artisan and maker, not just a consumer.
You no longer have to settle for the readymade plastic-like blocks or hummus-style spreads available at your market.
We can do much better than that.
THE NEW KITS—WHAT IT WILL TAKE
I am most of the way there with development but I am at the point where I need a helping hand with production. Putting products out that are driven by request and special need is risky for a small business. Print shops and supply vendors require large orders. I need your help so I can take the leap. I put out a simple kit but the new ones offer more and therefore take more time and investment. I hope you're as excited about the kits as I am and can support this project! I'm working hard to make the kits truly special for you.
FUN REWARDS FOR ALL BUDGETS
And of course, I will send all supporters regular updates so you can get as excited as I am about the progress. I recommend you follow me on Instagram to get up to the minute updates and fun test kitchen posts.
HOW SOON CAN YOU GET KITS?
I'm excited too! See my timeline below. I made sure to set the delivery dates before the holiday season so you can plan for great gifts.
We can accomplish great things in the next few months. I hope you'll take this ride with me and blow some minds with delicious homemade dairy-free cheese.
Thank you for your interest!
It's all or nothing - If I don't raise the entire goal amount, none of the money pledged can be used.
Spread the word - You can support me by sharing my project, and you may be surprised to learn who you will delight! We all know someone who can't eat cheese but wishes they could, or a curious cook who simply loves good food. So, please help me share this campaign by posting to your blog, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. or send email to your friends and family! Feel free to tag me.
I can actually get funded above my goal - I have a bunch of exciting stretch goals planned so let's unlock as many as possible!
Thank you SO much for considering my project, Claudia
A little press:
(all on dairy cheese but let's change that!)
NPR All Things Considered
Risks and challenges
That's the beauty of funding this project. Low risk for all of us. I have been making my dairy-based cheese kits since 2009. I've worked out my production and shipping kinks. I've also made one dairy-free kit already so I know what it entails. Of course there's always the chance of a printing delay or something like that but that is rare and my timelines include wiggle room for simple snafus. I've developed good relationships with my local print shops, ingredient suppliers etc. so they always do their best for me. We are in great shape for smooth sailing!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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