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Cashew Cheese with Rind

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If you are looking for dairy-free alternatives for cheese, I encourage you try making raw nut cheese.  I think you might be pleasantly surprised how easy and tasty they can be.   There are  just a few key ingredients and elements that can turn a basic nut into a “cheese”!  Stay with me,  I know for many of you this may sound bizarre  but let your adventurous side shine through.

So let’s break down all the components involved and talk about their role in this recipe:

  1. Cashews (or desired nut) – nuts are a healthy fat and fats coat the tongue and carry flavors evenly over the taste buds.  They also play the role of being the bulk substance that gives body to the cheese.
  2. Probiotics – probiotics bring in healthy bacteria that are great for your digestive system and they are the magical ingredient that gives the cheese that fermented flavor.  I buy probiotics that come in capsule form so I can easily pull them apart and pour the powder into a teaspoon.  You leave the “cheese” to culture on your counter top for 24-48 hours.  The longer it cultures, the stronger the “cheese” flavor will come through.  Once you place the cheese in the fridge the culturing process slows down.
  3. Nutritional yeast – this is optional but it adds a great layer of depth to the cheese,  giving it that real cheese flavor.
  4. Herbs – I didn’t add any herbs to this recipe because I wanted a plain cheese.  But you can add your favorite herbs and spices to your cheese to fit any occasion or craving.
  5. Dehydrating – this is a step that can skipped if you don’t want a rind or are running low on time.  This process takes about 24 hours.  By placing the cheese in the dehydrator it creates a rind on the outside of the cheese.  It is hard to see it in this picture but it is there.  I think it was my lighting situation when I took the photo.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp probiotic powder
  • 3 tsp nutritional yeast, optional
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Preparation:

  1. In your blender, mix all of the ingredients (except yeast and salt) until the mixture is nice and creamy.  This should take 2-4 minutes.  Test it occasionally by rubbing the batter between your forefinger and thumb.  If it has any grainy feeling to it, continue blending.  Just keep a watchful eye that you don’t over-heat the mixture.   Having a creamy texture is the key to having an amazing mouth-feel in the end product.
  2. Place the mixture in a strainer that has been lined with cheesecloth.  Fold the edges of the cheesecloth over the top of the mixture.  Then place the strainer in a large bowl.   Now place a plate or bowl that is smaller in diameter in the strainer on top of the folded cheesecloth, followed by a weight.  I often use a mason jar filled with water, beans, flour or whatever.  You want the weight to be enough to help push the “whey” through the cheesecloth but not so heavy that it forces the mixture through the itty-bitty holes.  Cover with a towel and set the mixture aside on the counter top for 24-48 hours to culture.
  3. After it has cultured, now is the time to add in the salt and nutritional yeast.  Mix well.  You can also use this time to get creative and season this cheese to your liking.  You could even go as far as to separating the mixture into several bowls and season each one differently.
  4. Transfer the cheese to a ring mold or a shallow container that is lined with plastic.
  5. Place the mold in the freezer for several hours so it sets up nice and firm.
  6. Remove the cheese from the mold / container and place in the dehydrator on a mesh sheet for 24 hours at 105 degrees.  This will cause a rind to develop around the edges.  You can skip this step if desired.
  7. Once done, store in an airtight container in the fridge for approximately 7 days.

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Cashew-Cheese-with-a-Rind

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15 thoughts on “Cashew-Cheese-with-a-Rind

  1. Verda says:

    I just made this cheese and it is wonderful. I used it as a cream cheese spread on bagels and as a dip for pretzels and veggies. Yum! I have a question what is the strength of your probiotic? Mine are 30 million and I think I could have used half of that. Most people use the 15 to 18 million so I was wondering what you use. Plant to make some more this weekend.

  2. Astewart says:

    I am having trouble understanding the step where the cashew cheese is wrapped p and weighted. Is it what seeps through that becomes the cheese? Or is this simply waste? Is it in fact what remains in the bag that is the Cheese
    .

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Astewart,

      The “cheese” part is what remains in the cheesecloth. The weight presses down and causes the liquid to drip out, discard this. The fermentation process is what makes it “cheese”. Does that help? amie sue

  3. Lori Jean says:

    I’ve tried this recipe twice (I’m new to nut cheese!) and each time, while fermenting, my “cheese” develops these white, furry finger-like projections on the surface – is this mold? Is this normal? Each time I threw the cheese away, unsure if I’d done something wrong. Any thoughts?

    Thank you!
    Lori

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Lori,

      I can’t say that I have ever seen such things on my “cheeses”. I will do my best to narrow this down but it is hard when I can’t see your complete process.

      How long are you soaking the cashews for?
      What type of climate do you like in?
      The both times that you made the cheese was the weather more hot and humid?
      I assume that all your utensils and dish-ware were clean?
      How long did you let it ferment on the counter before you noticed this?
      Are these furry finger-like projections on the surface right after you remove it from the cheesecloth or does it develop later and if later, at what time frame?

      Let’s start there… I look forward to hearing back from you, amie sue

  4. Olga Kisselmann says:

    Hi Sue, I really enjoy your site and all the wonderful recipes
    :-D
    Lately I am trying to get more into the raw nut cheese thing and I wonder how many capsules of probiotics should I use ( it’s pretty hard to get loose probiotic powder in Germany) and also if there is something I should be aware of when choosing the particular type of probiotics ( unfortunately I can’t really get hold of the brand you recommend)

    Best regards from Germany
    Olga

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Olga,

      To get a tsp of probiotic powder, I usually empty 7 capsules. Capsules is the only way that I find it as well. Any brand or type of probiotic will work, just aim for the best quality that you can find where you live. Keep me posted Olga and good luck! amie sue

  5. Moni says:

    Hi Amie Sue!
    I have this in My dehydrator now, I split it in two and added some garlic and Rosemary to one half, I had to taste it and it was delicious even before dehydrating. One is just natural.
    I love this nutritional yeast, it really brings the cheeseflavour to this.
    I have learned so much since I found this blog of yours, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wonderful recipes.

    • amie-sue says:

      Your welcome Moni… you message made my day today. It warms my heart to know that I am proving you inspiration… we all need support and encouragement and that is what your comment does for me. :) Have a blessed day, amie sue

  6. Tessa says:

    I made this recipe and accidentally fermented it for more than 48 hours (approx 60). I was surprised to see pink spots on the surface of the cheese, not sure if it was from the probiotics or if it was mold. I scooped the spots out and finished the process. Should it be okay to eat? Please share your thoughts on fermenting over 48 hours. Thanks!

    • amie-sue says:

      Personally, I wouldn’t eat it… but I am funny about molds. Fermenting is one thing.. seeing fuzzy mold is another. amie sue

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