Ok. Culture it – I totally get it now. WOW! I make nut and seed cheeses from scratch, but due to a usual time constraint, I bang them off it 15 minutes or less as I make these cheeses for clients, as well as for myself.
On a day where I had an unusual amount of free time, I chose to research dairy-free cream cheese. You can skip the culturing all together and get a relatively thick and creamy mixture, but when you DO have the time and the patience to wait the 48 hours, the results will AMAZE you. It tastes JUST like cream cheese. That tang, the consistency, the way it tastes with cucumbers on a bagel. Letting the cheese culture by adding probiotics into the mix, magically transforms your regular cashew cheese into a masterpiece!
2 cups raw or roasted cashews, soaked in water for 6-8 hours and drained
1/2 cup water or rejuvelac (recipe & post here)
2 tablespoons plain, unsweetened & cultured nondairy yogurt (soy, coconut, cashew etc.)
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper
splash of lemon juice
Transfer thick mixture to glass jar , bowl or container. If you’re using a blender, use your hands to get out every last drop. This stuff is too tasty to let go to waste!
Cover with cheese cloth or loosely fitted lid, and let sit for 48 hours. After it has cultured, store in fridge. It will thicken and harden further once chilled. You may also press it after culturing to remove even more moisture, but after being in the fridge, it should firm up beautifully
This recipe makes about 2 cups of cashew cream cheese. It will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks .. but I’m pretty sure you’ll use it up within a week. It is THAT good
Once you’ve mastered this simple recipe (sounds like an oxymoron!) experiment with flavouring your cream cheese! After it’s cultured, put back into your processor, or simply stir in herbs, fruit purée – whatever you wish or the occasion calls for.
Notes: I have used Nancy’s Plain Soy Yogurt, Yoso’s & So Delicious Plain Coconut Yogurt. The probiotics in the Soy yogurt seem to be the liveliest. If you prefer coconut yogurt (Yoso’s is the only plant-based yogurt I can find that is 100% unsweetened), then use rejuvelac instead of water, to give the probiotic count a boost.
Also, you do not have to use cashews. Feel free to experiment with other nuts and seeds and explore the various wonders of the plant-based cream cheese!
This recipe was adapted from the book Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner