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“Brie” Cashew Cheese with Rind (raw, GF, vegan)

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Raw-'Brie'-Cashew-Cheese-with-Rind1If you are seeking dairy-free alternatives for cheese, I encourage you to try your hand at raw nut cheeses.  I think you might be pleasantly surprised as  to how easy and tasty they can be.  I promise, I am not telling you…


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.  I am right beside you in this crazy quest.

To help you better understand how we can make “cheese” from nuts, I will go over the key ingredients and talk about their role in this recipe:

Cashews –

Nuts are a healthy fat that coat the tongue which carry flavors evenly over the taste buds.  They also play the leading role as the base of this “cheese” giving it that creamy texture.

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 have captivated you already, haven’t I? Probiotics come in powder form or in capsule form.  I have only used the capsule version.  They easily pull apart and I just pour the powder into a teaspoon.  Once the recipe is mixed together, 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 a tremendous amount.

Nutritional yeast –

This is optional but it adds yet another great layer of depth to the “cheesy” flavor.

Herbs –

I didn’t mix any herbs into this recipe because I wanted a plain cheese.  But you can add your favorite herbs and spices to fit any occasion or craving.  Adding fresh, minced herbs as you plate, is my favorite way to approach it.

Dehydrating –

This is the crucial step in creating a rind.  The drying process takes about 24 hours.  By placing the “cheese” in the dehydrator it creates a rind on the outside of the cheese.  You can see the color difference between the outside and the inside. The rind is quite thick on mine.

I originally posted this recipe on 12/06/11, but added new photos along with better explanations for the preparation section. 04/02/15.  Not to worry, the recipe remains the same!  Can’t mess with perfection. hehe

Raw-'Brie'-Cashew-Cheese-with-Rind5Ingredients: 6″ cheese disc

  • 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


  1. Place the cashews in bowl, adding twice the amount of water.  During the soaking process, the cashews will absorb water and swell.
  2. After soaking the cashews, drain and discard the soak water. The process has a two-fold purpose.
    • First, to soften the cashews so they blend perfectly smooth.
    • Secondly, to reduce the phytic acid which is rough on digestion.
  3. In a high-powered blender, combine the cashews, water and probiotics. Blend until the mixture is velvety smooth.
    • This can take 2-4 minutes, depending on your machine.
    • Test it occasionally by rubbing the mixture between your forefinger and thumb.  If you feel any grit, continue blending.
    • Be careful that you don’t over-heat the mixture.  If the carafe is feeling warm to the touch, let the mixture rest to cool before proceeding.
    • If you have a low-powdered blender, I would suggest blending the water and the cashews first.  Once smooth, then add the probiotic.  We don’t want to kill the good bacteria by over-heating it.
  4. Prepare a stainless steel mesh strainer by placing it in a larger bowl.  Then line it with a double layer of cheesecloth.
  5. Pour the “cheese” mixture into the center of the cloth.
  6. Gather all the edges of the cloth together, twist tight and fold it over onto itself.
  7. Lay a small plate on top of the bundle, followed by a weight.
    • Use a mason jar filled with water, beans, flour or whatever.
    • You want the weight to be heavy enough to put pressure on the “cheese” but not too much that it forces too much to leak through the cheesecloth.
    • We have the bowl under the strainer to catch the “whey” that will slowly drip out.  It won’t be much, just enough to leave a mess if unattended.
  8.  Cover the bowl with a towel and set the mixture aside on the counter top for 24-48 hours to culture.
    • The temperature of the house will affect the culturing time.  The warmer the house, the quicker it will start to culture, so keep an eye on it.
    • It will develop a pretty strong cheese-like odor during this time.
  9. After it has cultured, scoop the mixture into a clean bowl.
  10. Add the salt and nutritional yeast.  Mix well.
  11. Transfer the “cheese” to a ring mold or the ring of a Springform pan,  lining the base with plastic.
  12. Place the mold in the freezer for several hours so it sets up nice and firm.
  13. Carefully remove the cheese from the mold and place on a non-stick sheet and slide into the dehydrator.
    • Dry for 1 hour at 145 degrees (F).  Click (here) to read why.
    • Reduce the heat to 115 degrees (F) and continue to dry for up to 24 hours.
    • Half way through the dry time, remove the teflex sheet and place the “cheese” on the mesh sheet for the remainder of the dry time.  This will speed up the process and allow air to flow around it. Y
    • This process will cause a rind to develop around the edges.
  14. Once done, enjoy!   There should be a nice rind on the outside and creamy “cheese” on the inside.
  15. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for approximately 7 days.  The “cheese” will continue to culture but once chilled it slows down considerably.



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27 thoughts on ““Brie” Cashew Cheese with Rind (raw, GF, vegan)

  1. Zoe says:

    I am wondering if the expiry date on the probiotic is crucial to follow. I bought some but it expired quite a while ago. I can’t bring myself to throw it out because it was expensive and I can’t find anything online that says not to eat it past that date.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Zoe,
      I did a little research myself and this is what I found from various sites:
      “Watch the expiration date. Because probiotics are living organisms, the amount placed in the container or capsule when it was manufactured may not be the same as when you consume the product. You must use these products before the expiration date to be sure the probiotic is still effective.”

      “One final note: Remember to store your probiotic according to package instructions and make sure the product has a sell-by or expiration date. Probiotics are living organisms. Even if they are dried and dormant, like in a powder or capsule, they must be stored properly or they will die. Some require refrigeration whereas others do not. They also have a shelf-life, so make sure you use them before the expiration date on the package.”

      From a few others that I have scanned through, it is best to use the probiotic before it expires. That is my personal recommendation.

      • F C Kerr says:

        Probiotics should be LIVE. I prefer RAW (five day fix is LOOSE powder, no capsules) It’s found in the refrigerator of health food stores, or can be purchased online. It’s made by Garden of Life. Probiotics that are dried and unrefrigerated are DEAD and won’t do the job properly.

  2. Zoe says:

    Thank you for your prompt reply! Is it that the organisms are not effective anymore? or is it that it may cause “discomfort” if ingested? I’m wondering if it may still work flavour-wise but not make anyone sick…

    • amie-sue says:

      These are great questions but I am totally sure. My feeling is that the organisms wouldn’t be effective, which may effect the culturing process. I don’t think it would cause any “discomfort”, it is more about the fact that you may lose the potency of the probiotic over time. I have read that you can take vitamins beyond the expiration date as long as they have been stored properly, etc. But as is, with the probiotic, we are already dealing with a supplement that is volatile to many factors. Unfortunately, most Probiotics are delicate, and are sensitive to various conditions. The following things can kill your expensive probiotics:

      Heat: the best probiotics are prepared using a low heat process to avoid damaging the organisms
      Moisture: probiotics must be kept dry until they enter your system; a rainy or humid day can be all that is needed to kill a probiotic preparation
      Oxygen: all probiotics naturally live in an anaerobic environment – without oxygen; oxygen will kill probiotics
      Stomach acid: our stomach acid is designed specifically to kill bacteria that we ingest; stomach acid will rapidly kill most probiotic strains

      That being said, I wouldn’t trust a probiotic that is past it’s expiration date. Not only may it not work in giving that cultured flavor it won’t have any health benefits in it.

      I hope this helps Zoe. I know it’s a drag to have such expensive items expire before they get used, but I tend to error on the cautious side of things. You have to decide if it is best to toss the bottle and get a free one (losing the cost of the unused portion) OR taking the risk / gamble of having to toss all the ingredients used in the cheese recipe AND the expired bottle of probiotics. Even if the expired probiotics works in giving the cultured flavor, you most likely won’t be getting the help benefit from it and isn’t that why we are eating raw foods in the first place?.

      Let me know what you think Zoe. amie sue

  3. Jennifer says:

    OMG, I have one of those circular, unpredictable dehydrators that I attached a variable light switch to so I could control the temp ;) My Jerry-rigged lovely piece shot up to 140 degrees while I went out for an hour and when I returned the cheese was very warm and a rind had already ssemd to take hold.

    I was gone for about an hour and a half…do you think my probiotics are now ineffective and that the cheese is now cooked?

    Thank you!


    • amie-sue says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      So the cheese was only at 140 degrees for 1 hour? Due to the moisture content level it might still be raw but I really can’t speak for the probiotics. I have a write up on dehydrating at 145 degrees for one hour, if you haven’t read it before, please do so. http://nouveauraw.com/?p=10398. I wish I knew about the probiotics to better help you. (sends you a cheezy smile :)

  4. Dee says:

    I am making this now..it has been “fermenting” on my table for 36 hours..I can’t wait to get that “cream cheese” taste that I have been craving..I made a raw cheesecake with cashews, lemons etc..but it was still missing that “cheesy” taste and this may help..thanks for all your cool and TASTY recipes..I am about to make your cinnamon rasin bread but use coconut flour instead of almond flour due to allergies..I’ll let you know how it comes out..

    • amie-sue says:

      Wonderful Dee! Her is a recipe where I did that very thing of adding in “cheese” into the cheesecake mix. LOVED it! Do keep me posted on the bread, new things to learn! Have a blessed day, amie sue

  5. Anastasia says:

    Hi Amie-Sue,

    I want to make this so that I can then make the maple cheesecake! I just need some clarification on the probiotic powder. If I have Acidophilus & Bifidus capsules, is that what I’d use? Just pop ’em open and measure out the powder inside?

    • amie-sue says:

      Anastasia, that is what you use. Pop them open and pour into a measuring spoon! Let me know how it turns out. Have a great day, amie sue

  6. Janie says:

    I just finished letting it sit for 1.5 days and pulled this recipe up to get the next stage going. It smelled so wonderfully cream cheesy that me and my 4 year old had some as soon as we added the nutritional yeast and salt. We decided it was perfect for spreading on my last batch of raw bread and decided to skip the dehydrating step.

    This stuff is amazing, thanks for the recipe. I ended up scooping half into a glass jar for the fridge, and putting the other half in the freezer.

    • amie-sue says:

      Awesome Janie… thank you for sharing. :) I love it when kids love these raw recipes. That is a testimony within itself. Happy Holidays!

  7. Igloo says:


    Can a nut milk bag be used instead of a cheese cloth? I have both but I was wondering if the result would be the same.


  8. Irina says:

    Thank you so much for the recipe! Cheese was finally ready to eat today and tasted really good! I loved the rind as well! Thank you! :-)

    • amie-sue says:

      Your welcome Irina, so happy that you are enjoying it! I have been spreading this on Bob’s wraps throughout the week, yum! Have a great day, amie sue

  9. melissa says:

    HI Amy Sue, I just made this cheese for the first time and it was absolutely amazing. I am so excited to incorporate this into my favorites for parties and then to continue to explore more nut cheese recipes! My only question is about the 24 hour dehydration process. Can we dehydrate it for a shorter time frame? 24 hours is going to make a huge spike in our electric bill…my boyfriend definitely complains about how long this huge machine runs–as he’s stuffing his face with cashew brie cheese and your world famous chocolate chip cookies (best I’ve ever made, by the way) Thank you so much for being a magical gift to the planet!!!! I admire you beyond words.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Melissa,

      Thrilled to hear that you are enjoying the “cheese” … as well as your boyfriend :)

      You can always shorten the dry time but you won’t get the same effect. One way that you can make the best of the dry time, is to make other foods that requiring dehydrating as well. Such as drying fruit or making crackers. That way you are getting more bang for your electric buck. Does that make sense?

      Thank you for your kind words. They blessed my day! amie sue

  10. Juliet says:

    Hi!! I love your recipes!!
    Can you clarify how many capsules of the PB8 would be equivalent to the 1 tsp for this recipe?

  11. Sophie says:

    Hi Amie Sue,

    I just opened my cheese that was fermenting on the counter for 2 days and it looks discolored with some dark flecks that look like it could be mold. I just read the post above that says to use 7 PB8 capsules… I used 3. Is this normal and should I continue with the next steps?
    Thanks :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Black specs are not normal and I wouldn’t proceed. It sounds like mold to me and I for one wouldn’t risk it. Perhaps one of the ingredients or utensils that you used had some of the wrong bacteria on it and created mold spores. Sorry Sophie. amie sue

  12. Monique Hall says:

    Hi Ami-Sue
    Can i use macadamia nuts instead of cashew in your cheese recipe
    Thank in advance
    love your work

  13. Malice says:


    Thank you so much for this recipe. It is not one I have tried yet, but am hoping to buy a dehydrator in the new year. I’m lactose intolerant (and have a very pro-vegan diet) and have missed some of my favourite cheeses for a long time now, so am very excited to see that there are dairy free alternatives!

    I just wanted to ask; if I wanted to make less cheese, would I need to reduce the dehydration times? Also, is it possible to freeze this at all? Just I only live with my boyfriend and fear that we would not finish a whole 6″ brie in a week!

    Many thanks,


    • amie-sue says:

      You are welcome Malice. I hope in time you fall in love with the dairy-free alternatives. (sorry to hear you are intolerant regardless)

      If you wanted to make less cheese it is possible that it won’t need the full dehydrator time, you will just want to check in on it and pull it out when it reaches the right texture. There isn’t an exact science to it, so don’t let that make you nervous.

      You can freeze the cheeses but it does change the texture some. Still taste good though.

      I hope this helps, many blessings, amie sue

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