If you’re new to a plant based diet, cheese is one food you might really miss! There are lots of great products in the market, but it’s pretty easy to make vegan cheese at home. There are all kinds of vegan cheeses you can whip up:
- soft cheeses, like ricotta
- melty cheeses, like monterey jack
- harder aged cheeses, like cheddar
Today, we’ll be talking about aging nut based cheeses. Aging nut cheeses ferments them naturally, so they have a sharp flavor of actual cheese. The process of curing them helps them to achieve a drier texture as well!
This recipe does take some time to prepare, as it’s fermented for over a week in your refrigerator.
You can use almost any nut with this, but macadamias are delicious. I would also recommend sunflower seeds for a nut free version.
Note: The salt on the outside of the cheese wheels helps draw out the moisture as they cure to create a drier texture.
Aged Cashew Cheddar
- 2 cups cashews soaked 2 hours to overnight, then strained and rinsed
- ¼ cup red bell pepper optional
- ¼ cup water
- 1 probiotic capsule
- 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
Blend bell pepper and water and strain.
Add the cashews and probiotic liquid to this liquid and blend until smooth. You can also complete this step in a food processor, if you don’t have a high speed blender. A blender makes the mixture smoother but also requires more liquid and is harder to work with.
Transfer to a strainer lined in cheesecloth, drain and tie up into a bundle. Weigh with something a little heavy to press out the excess liquid. Allow to ferment for 24 hours.
Once fermentation is complete, use the food processor to add the nutritional yeast, salt, lemon juice, and turmeric. You can also fold these ingredients in by hand in a mixing bowl.
Press the cheese into a ring mold and freeze for 6 hours. Line the bottom and sides of the ring mold with parchment paper for easy removal.
Remove from the mold and sprinkle the outside of the wheels with fine sea salt. Place on a plate lined with paper towels and place in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks to cure, or a minimum of 1 week. Change the paper towels daily to keep the wheels dry.