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.