The most important ingredients for realistic and flavourful plant-based cheeses are: TIME and PATIENCE. Aging and dehydrating your cheese mixtures will change the flavour and texture – and in my option, all for the better.
I don’t usually share my cheese recipes online, but in this case, I am willing to give you a small taste into the world of Artisan Plant-Based Cheeses. Please note: to complete this recipe, you need to give yourself about a week! Longer if you wish to age your cheese further.
2 cups of macadamia nuts (you may use cashews, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds etc. raw/roasted/salted, whatever your preference)
1 cup of home-made rejuvelac (see post and recipe here) OR 1 cup of water and 1 tsp of probiotic powder
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
high-speed blender or food processor
milk bag or cheese cloth
Soak nuts over night
Drain and add to blender, along with rejuvelac
Blend until smooth, add more rejuvelac if needed, one tablespoon at a time, to aid blending. Scrape down edges of blender to make sure all contents are blended well
Once the mixture is silky smooth (no grit), pour through a milk bag / cheese cloth, over a sieve-lined bowl). Use your hands if necessary, to get every last drop!
Gather the ends of the milk bag / cheese cloth together and twist them tight. This “milks” the bag. Squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can. Save this thick cream to use in your coffee or smoothie as it’s delicious! (store in fridge)
Once you’ve squeezed out as much liquid as you possible could, place something heavy (a soup can, or mason jar full of water) on top of the milk bag, to gently help drain any excess liquid you weren’t able to extract through the sieve, and into the bowl. When you check on your cheese, collect the drippings
Place somewhere warm (not too warm!) and dark for 24-36 to allow cheese to “culture”
Once this process is done, the mixture will be almost crumbly, and definitely smell “different”. (You will notice a change of smell after only 12 hours. It’s definitely a “cheesy” type smell)
Transfer to a bowl and add in salt, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. If you want to add other spices and herbs, do so at this point
Pack into a small spring mold, and leave in the fridge for 24-36 hours longer to firm if needed
Once the mixture is firm enough to remove ring, do so, and then dehydrate cheese for 12-24 hours at 105 degrees
At this point, you can eat it (well at any point you could eat, really!), however, you can also wrap in parchment paper, and keep in fridge for 1 week – 2 months to age further. The longer you leave it, the stronger the flavour, the harder the cheese and the dryer the consistency. I only aged about 2 days after the dehydration process, and the inside was still soft and spreadable. And delicious.