Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Herb Fermented Cashew Cheese

I know, when you first saw the picture you thought, "no way that is vegan cheese, and made out of nuts? Who does she think she's fooling?" But it's true my friends, this is a) vegan, b) fermented (so I can technically call it cheese according to my French friend), and c) amazing tasting. And you too can make such a delicious creamy vegan cheese!

No fancy equipment nor difficult ingredients, I promise! When PPK listed their top 100 of 2011 and noted the craze of fermented vegan cheese, I knew that I was soooooooooo far behind the vegan train that making this cheese was at the top of my list. Many of the recipes I found online called for using probiotic capsules, which surely works easily. But being a hardcore DIYer (and eyeing the price of a bottle of probiotics) my fermented cheese is made with rejuvelac.

Rejuva what?

Rejuvalac. In case you missed my last post, rejuvalac is a healthy tonic of yore, made from sprouted seeds. With a slightly sour taste and a bit of effervescence, it is essentially a liquid probiotic you can make at home for pennies. So of course that's what I did. Using rye berries instead of the more common wheat, I soaked and sprouted the berries and produced rejuvalac which then got blended with soaked cashews and were allowed to ferment for 48 hours on my kitchen counter. And voila! Creamy and slightly tangy fermented cashew cheese!

 Sure you can leave the cheese as is, but wanting a little more pizazz, I added lots of herbs and garlic powder to give it a Boursin like flavor. For those of you less inclined to the DIY side, you can buy bottled rejuvelac in natural food stores, but the bottle at my store was a whopping $10 and when I realized with a little time I could make it for about 50 cents at home, well there was no choice!

UPDATE: Veganosaurus let me know that if you keep a little bit of fermented nut cheese from your first batch, you can just added it to your next batch without adding additional rejuvelac and it will ferment it for you! Yeah! Love fermentation!

SECOND UPDATE: I wanted to state for the record that I was introduced to Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese after doing this post, and am trying to buy the book ASAP (Grrrr, does not have it in stock!) Not to toot my own horn, but I am not making a recipe from her book without giving her credit. Just wanted to be clear!

Herb Fermented Cashew Cheese
(makes 2 cups)

2 cups cashews, soaked in water for at least 8 hours
2 tablespoons rejuvelac (DIY Pantry)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon salt

Drain cashews and add to blender along with the rejuvelac. Puree until very smooth, scraping down the sides as needed to make it all combine. The puree should be thick but not so thick that it doesn't move in the blender. Add 1/2 teaspoon of rejuvelac at a time to increase flow of blending cashews. Pureed cashews can have a little texture. Remove from blender and place in cheesecloth and set in colander set inside of a bowl. Cover cheese with cheesecloth and allow to sit on kitchen counter for 24 to 48 hours, tasting for flavor after 24 hours and allowing it to ferment longer if you want a tangier cheese. Combine herbs and salt in bowl and add to cheese and blend thoroughly with a fork and refrigerate.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Spinach Crepes with Ricotta, Tomatoes and Basil at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice
Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller at BitterSweet
Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas with Roasted Zucchini Salsa at Closet Cooking


Cara said...

Oh I love fermented cheese and yours looks downright awesome.

Because I am too lazy to produce my own rejkju-thing...(you know what I mean...) and it is darn expensive to use store bought, I use sauerkraut juice most of the time (which is quite cheap).

Anonymous said...

That looks just perfect! I want some!

Sarah E. Hoffman said...

Fermented cheese is on my list but this makes me make it a priority!