Basic Vegan Cashew Cheese
This is the basic start to many different vegan cheeses. It is tasty in its own right, so feel free to stop here after making it. You can lengthen or shorten the curing time, which will affect the overall sharpness of the cheese. It will continue to culture in the refrigerator and eventually become rather sharp tasting.
Yield: about 500 grams (one pound)
300 grams (2 cups) raw cashew nuts
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
120 ml (1/2 cup) Rejuvelac
- Begin by soaking the cashew nuts in water for 4-8 hours. The longer you soak them, the finer your cheese will be, so I like to just soak them overnight.
- Put the cashews, salt and nutritional yeast in a high-speed blender. Turn on the blender and add just enough of the Rejuvelac through the cap opening to process the cashews. Continue to process until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape the sides often.
- Pour the mixture into a clean glass bowl or container, cover with plastic wrap and keep at room temperature for 8-36 hours, depending on how sharp a flavor you want (culturing will proceed quicker at warmer temperatures – so adjust your timing depending on time of year). The cheese will thicken and crack as it cultures.
- You can simply cover and store the cheese in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or put into a mold and smooth the top.
- You can store the cheese in the refrigerator for 4 weeks or in the freezer for 4 months.
Jack’s Fresh Tip
You can make this cheese with something other than a homemade Rejuvelac. Powdered probiotics work in combination with a liquid like water, but they tend to be expensive and unreliable (some even say they are not vegan). The best alternative would be an unflavored soy yogurt. Use an amount that will get the cashews processing in your mixer without adding too much and making the mixture too thin. Other alternatives would include the liquid from sauerkraut or pickles (if you are fermenting them yourself). Basically, you are looking for a liquid that has lactic acid and live bacteria.