Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Easy to Make Herbed Raw Cashew Nut Cheese

More and more people decide to remove the cheese from their diet. The motivation behind the decision varies from person to person. Some people chose to be vegan, others cannot digest milk. Recently even Harvard scientists warned about the hazards of conventional milk consumption. 

While raw milk and cheese made of raw milk are full of health benefits, but conventional, homogenized, milk is detrimental to health and should be avoided at all costs.

But what if you like cheese? For many years now the vegans are making delicious nut cheeses that can really compete with artisanal raw milk cheeses. Some recipes are quite sophisticated and take a while for a cheese to ripen.

Below you will one a basic, ricotta type, cashew nut cheese recipe. You can also use macadamia or Brazil nuts if you prefer.

  • 2 cups cashew nuts
  • 1 cup purified water
  • 1 tsp probiotic powder
  • 1 tsp raw, unprocessed natural salt or special cheese salt
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp mixed freshly grind dry herbs - rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram

Processed cashews in a cheesecloth

  • blender or a food processor
  • large glass or china bowl
  • cheesecloth 
  • wooden spoon or stick
  • deep dish or pot
  • cheese mold 

Ready to start the culturing process

  • Soak the cashews over night in a bowl of purified water. When you are ready to make the cheese, drain and rinse them.
  • Process cashews and water on a high speed until you receive a smooth and creamy mass. Add probiotic powder and blend again for a few seconds. 
  • Line out the bowl with cheesecloth. Depending on the quality you may need three to four layers.
  • Transfer the nut cream into the center of the bowl and gather the sides of the cheesecloth and tie them together, but not too tight, so that the whole thing resembles a giant fig.
  • Attach the cheesecloth to a wooden spoon and suspend it over a deep dish to drain out the moisture.
  • Place the dish in a warm place and leave the cheese culture suspended for at least 24 hours to ripen.
  • Once the culturing process is completed, add salt, nutritional yeast, and herbs. Gently mix everything together.
  • Fill a cheese form with your nut cheese and refrigerate for at least 24 hours allowing cheese to harden.
  • When your cheese is hard enough, remove it from the mold and enjoy in good company. 

A word about salt - Make sure that you are not using iodized salt. Iodine will kill the probiotic organisms that are necessary for the cheese to age well.

Why add nutritional yeast? - Nutritional yeast has a pleasant nutty-cheesy flavor. It will enhance the taste of your nut cheese. Moreover, nutritional yeast is a good source of vitamin B12 which most vegans are deficient in.

Ricotta type raw herbed cashew nut cheese

If you want to make a rind, you will have to dehydrate the cheese in a dehydrator for another 24 hours or so.  Remove cheese from the mold, set the temperature to F°105 and leave it to dry. The raw chef Russell James suggests freezing the cheese before dehydrating. I haven't tried that yet, but this might be my next cheese project.

In radiant health - passionately raw - Dominique


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