I’m a long-time fan of cultured nut cheeses, and only recently discovered how easy it is to make both nut and seeds cheese at home. This recipe is adapted from Mary’s Test Kitchen, who has wonderful how-to videos on each step of this process. I highly recommend watching all of them for a full understanding of exactly what goes into this process and how simple it is.
Why would you want to make cultured nut cheese, you ask? Great question! Cultured foods are rich in probiotics. Probiotics benefit the digestive system by replenishing certain strains of good bacteria that help fight of toxic invaders and also break down and digest your food. Fermented foods also offer a huge range of pungent flavors. This fermented cashew cheese has a bit of a sourness to it that makes it perfect as a sour cream alternative, a spread for bagels or even a base for a creamy pasta sauce.
Before we start, here’s a quick explanation of the process.
Step One: Making Your Rejuvelac
You will be fermenting your nut or seed base with rejuvelac. Rejuvelac is basically a fermented grain juice made by soaking (and rinsing) grains until they sprout, then filling the container with water and letting sit for several days to ferment. You can use any grain you’d like for your rejuvelac (some sprout quicker than others). I used groats and they took about 6 days. I sprout and ferment my grains in a 64oz mason jar with a mesh sprouting lid, but you can use any glass jar that you cover with cheese cloth. To ferment your grains, you will simply fill your jar of sprouted grains with water and let it sit on the counter for an additional 2-3 days. Once your rejevelac is done fermenting (you will see bubbles rise from the grains when you move the jar), you will strain out the grains, cover it with a normal lid and store it in the fridge.
Step 2: Preparing Your Nuts or Seeds
Soak your nuts and seeds the night before (or for 6ish hours). Soaking your nuts and seeds helps eliminate toxins and nutritional inhibitors and also makes them easier to blend. The soaking process also makes it easier for you to remove any skins present on your nuts (like almonds).
Step 3: Combining Your Nuts/Seeds and Rejuvelac
You will add your soaked and rinsed nuts or seeds to a blender with as much of the rejuvelac necessary for it to blend smoothly.
Step 4: Fermenting Your Nut or Seed Cheese Base
You can pour your cheese base mixture in a glass or plastic Tupperware container with a lid. This will sit on the counter to ferment for about a day or two, and then can be stored in the fridge!
Step 5: Making it Your Own
Besides the sourness from the ferment, your cheese base will be pretty bland. Spice it up by adding salt, black pepper, chives, nutritional yeast, – the possibilities are endless!
Cultured Cashew Cheese Spread
This fermented cashew cheese has a bit of a sourness to it that makes it perfect as a sour cream alternative, a spread for bagels or even a base for a creamy pasta sauce. It's also great paired with your favorite fruits or as a spread on sandwiches!
- 1/2 cup of dried uncooked grains of your choice
- 2 cups of cashews
- Filtered water
- Salt and spices for flavoring your cheese when it’s done
Add 1/2 a cup of dried, uncooked grains to a quart-size ounce mason jar. Cover with a mesh sprouting lid or simply with cheesecloth and a rubber band.
Fill mason jar with water, swirl around to rinse the grains, and then pour the water out. Repeat this step twice daily until your grains have sprouted. You can store your jar on your kitchen countertop.
Once your grains have sprouted, fill the jar with filtered water and let it sit on the counter for an additional 2-3 days. When you move the jar and bubbles release from the sprouted grains, you’ll know it’s done.
Strain out the grains and store your rejuvelac in a covered jar in the fridge. (You can use your grains to make another batch of rejuvelac if you’d like!)
Soak your cashews in a bowl of water overnight or for about 6 hours.
Strain and rinse your cashews.
Add your cashews and a half cup of rejuvelac to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. You may need to add more rejuvelac and that’s okay – add as much as you need to be able to blend it smoothly.
Pour mixture into glass or plastic container with a lid and let it sit on the counter for about a day or two. You can start trying your cashew cheese after a day (make sure not to double dip!). A longer ferment will create a more sour cheese!
When your cheese is to your liking, add salt and other spices to enhance the flavor! Store your finished cheese spread in the fridge.
If at any point you see mold – start over!
Make sure when tasting your fermenting cheese that you don’t double dip – you don’t want your mouth bacteria messing with your delicious cheese (ew!).