Monday, May 2, 2011

The Homemade Cashew Cheese Trials.

Culturing your own cashew cheese is a process. It takes patience, rather than actual work.

The end result is absolutely worth it, and I love to be super involved and hands-on with my food.

Cheese and crackers used to be one of my favorite party foods/appetizers. I find that a nice smear of hummus will usually do the trick, but sometimes I reach for "cashew cheese". Dr. Cow's Tree Nut Cheese is an amazing product. In New York City, you can even find a nut cheese plate at a few restaurants. Here in Philadelphia, I have yet to find something similar.

It has been a goal to make my own, all I needed was inspiration. That inspiration happened to be a Raw Cuisine Class at Organic Avenue with Russell James. A few days later, I had my Acidophilus Powder, 2 cups of cashews, cheese cloth (or nut milk bag) and was ready for some culture.

Blend the 2 cups of cashews with 1 teaspoon of acidophilus (I used DDS, available from Amazon). Local grocery Essene Market has quite a selection of probiotics to choose from.

Then wrap tightly in cheesecloth over strainer, applying a weight to press out the water. I left it like this for 24 hours. At this point, a little bit of water came out. I filled the cheese into molds and refrigerated it for another 24 hours. I removed the mold. Then I wrapped it in parchment and plastic wrap to culture for a week.

The end result? Very good, but not ready yet - I couldn't wait longer than 7 days! (Above is day 7).  I moved the cheese rounds to a less humid location in my fridge and will hope that it continues to dry out as it ages. The drier, firmer cheese will be even better and I have tons of cheese in my fridge waiting to be eaten, as it should be fine for the next 6 weeks.

I plan to use it in salads, on sandwiches, and of course, with crackers and fruit and a bold glass of red...

Acidophilus is great for you...This beneficial bacteria can aid in digestion and clear up skin disorders. I gave up dairy ultimately because I want to abstain from animal products, but my skin cleared up within days of doing so. You can find live active cultures in non-dairy yogurt as well.

Up next? Macadamia cheese and flavored cheeses - there are so many ideas to play with.


JL goes Vegan said...

Now that I see yours, it's about the cheesecloth, I'm sure of it. I used the nut milk bag and I simply did not lose any moisture. One week in the fridge and it's moist, soft, and doesn't look fabulous like yours! I'm going to let it sit for another week and see what happens. And I ordered a cheesecloth ;)

kellywhitephillips said...

And I was worried that I should have used the nut milk bag! Mine is not as good as Russell's - I wonder how old the cheese we had at Organic Avenue was. It was perfect.

vko said...

I love Dr.Cow's- especially the blue algae, that stuff is divine. Can't wait to see all your other "cheesy" experiments!