I don’t make fermented nut cheese every week but trust me it so worth it! Unlike with Christmas when I spend weeks planning our menu on the 31st of December we usually are snacking all day! Finger foods, a comforting soup and all kinds of sweet and hearty snacks make up the days menu.
We usually love a buffet of goodies like cheeses, chips, crackers, veggies, dips and of course “oliebollen”, a traditional dutch treat which is only eaten during the last days of December. Traditionally, it is a yeast risen sweet dough, with or without raisins, scooped in hot oil and baked until golden.
I thought it would be interesting to dedicate this post to making CHEESE, plant based, fermented nut cheese with added health benefits! It is easy to make, just blend, wait …. and enjoy.
You can use all kinds of probiotics to start the fermenting process. One option, the one I prefer are probiotic capsules filled with a powder. Rejuvelac, coconut kefir, kimchi or chutney juice would also work. They all have a different taste and give different results. I usually work with probiotic powder, easy dosage, same effect and I have it in my cupboard.
For 2 cups of soaked nuts I use 1/2 tsp. of probiotic powder. Lactobacillius Acidophilus bacteria needs to be included in the probiotic blend. Also the strength is important, there need to be at least 10 billion of these good guys in one capsule.
Making fermented cheese sounds like a difficult process, but it is quite easy and vegan cheese can be such a wonderful addition to a plant based diet.
Let’s make fermented nut cheese …
For my cheeses above I used a blend of cashews and hazelnuts and fermented this with a probiotic powder. I flavored it with honey, orange zest, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast and black pepper.
Cashews are sweeter and hazelnuts give a special flavor and texture to the cheese which combines lovely with the orange and honey.
Ingredients for the fermented nut cheese,
- 1 cup of cashews soaked for 4 hours
- 1 cup of hazelnuts, soaked for 4 hours
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, use as little as possible but it has to be very smooth
- 1/2 tsp. probiotic powder
Add the soaked and rinsed nuts and water to a ( high speed ) blender and blend until smooth. When the right consistency is achieved, add the probiotics and blend it through, briefly, do not heat the probiotics to keep them alive.
The cheese goes in a bowl, covered with a cloth to ferment between 24 to max. 48 hours on room temperature. A longer fermentation makes a stronger flavored cheese. Just keep tasting, it gets more sour with time. If your cheese is too wet, you can put it in a cheesecloth layered in a sieve above a bowl. Some weight on top will remove the extra water and make it more dense.
After the fermentation period I flavor the cheese. If you prefer it even more older and stronger flavored, cheesier, you can keep the unflavored cheese in the fridge lined form for about an additional week or two. Just keep checking to keep mold away. When tasting, no double dipping and always use a clean fork or knife. My cheeses usually turn out fine, after a few times you get into the rhythm.
There are many kinds of flavors to make … from sweeter to very spicy.
Fermented Nut Cheese flavorings,
- Ginger, turmeric, garlic, garam masala
- Spring onion, onion powder, black pepper
- Cinnamon, orange, honey, thyme
- Oregano, basil, olive oil, sun dried tomatoes
- Miso, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, tamari, nori or dulse
- Olives, garlic, garlic powder, chili, black pepper
Hazelnut Orange Pepper Cheese
You need one portion of the fermented nut cheese from above, then add in the following ingredients,
- 1 Tbsp. orange zest from an organic orange
- 1/2 tsp. pink salt to taste
- 1 tsp. lemon juice .
- 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 Tbsp. honey or other liquid sweetener of choice
- Fresh cracked black pepper corns for the sides of the cheese
Add all the ingredients to the fermented cheese, stir well. Place the cheese in a with plastic foil lined form and press it down. Refrigerate for an hour and remove it carefully and roll the sides in the cracked black pepper. Place back in the form and let it sit in the fridge between one day to two weeks. The yellow cheese is flavored with turmeric, garlic powder, garam masala, honey, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and pink salt. This one is more spicy.
Creamy Herbed “Goat cheese” from macadamia nuts
This lovely softer cheese is made in the same way as the first two. Different nuts deliver different textures and flavors.
- 1 cup macadamia nuts soaked for 4 hours
- 1 cup cashew nuts soaked for 4 hours
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, use just enough to blend but it needs to be totally creamy
- 1/2 tsp. probiotic powder
Blend all the ingredients until soft, add the probiotics at the end. Scoop the cheese in a cheesecloth, place it in a sieve above a bowl and put some weight on it to get rid of the excess water. Ferment between 24 to max 48 hours.
Then add flavour,
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. pink salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
Flavor the cheese and form a roll. I chopped up some fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme, lime zest, cracked pepper and rolled the cheese log in it. Place it in the fridge rolled in parchment paper or foil. This cheese can be cut in slices, wonderful with a salad or on crackers.
Fermented Nut Cheese Platter
On my nut cheese platter above I added all kinds of goodies that I feel go well with my cheeses. You can play around with this as long as you keep balance in mind. I like to add something from every category, something sweet like dried or fresh fruit or a sweet sauce, something sour like, pickled or like a chutney, something crispy like these raw Almond Herb Crackers. These are made in a dehydrator but can also be baked in the oven. May be also some thin slices of a very dark or sourdough bread would go well too.
I hope I have been able to inspire you to try making some fermented nut cheese! Great for a party but also wonderful to have some in the fridge for a fancy sandwich or wrap.
Best wishes for the new year and thank you for reading!