In the Vegan Fusion class earlier this summer, one of the components in the raw and live phase was culturing. We learned about, made and drank Rejuvelac. We made cultured plant cheeses, as well as raw elixirs, sauerkraut and kimchi. Everything was outstanding, and it was very exciting for me.
I have always been nervous about attempting any culturing or fermenting at home. After some hands on learning and creating, a cultured cheese was one of the first things I knew I’d try at home – one with tangy flavors of goat cheese.
When cultured, a plant cheese will have a tangy flavor, as well as all the benefits of a live food – nutritionally rich and containing beneficial bacteria.
I based my culturing process on the method we learned in class:
1) Soak nuts in water for several hours.
2) Blend nuts with liquid (in class we blended with water – for this recipe I used apple cider vinegar).
3) Transfer to a sanitized glass jar, covering and leaving in a dark warm cupboard overnight.
In class the next day, we added some fresh herbs to the cultured cheese – at this point you can add whatever flavors you want.
For my ‘goat’ cheese, I kept the flavor additions simple – some lemon juice for tart acidity, and a bit of salt.
vegan ‘goat’ cheese
basic culturing technique adapted from Vegan Fusion Immersion
dairy, soy, and gluten free, vegan, cultured, live
makes one cup
1 cup raw cashews, soaked two hours
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts, soaked two hours
1/4 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
pinch sea salt
In food processor or high speed blender, combine cashews, macadamias, vinegar, lemon juice and water, blend until smooth. Transfer to a sterilized glass jar, cover with plastic wrap and secure with rubber band. Cover/wrap jar in a kitchen towel and leave in a warm place overnight.
Variations – the second time I made this I added one tablespoon miso to the blended nuts prior to culturing, and I added a very small amount of soaked Irish moss after culturing, to make it more of a slice-able cheese. Read more about Irish moss here – vegan brie. You can add all kinds of fresh herbs, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, jam or fruit.
This tastes surprisingly similar to traditional goat cheese, and the consistency is both creamy and crumbly. It is perfect on a beet salad, in a cherry tart, or simply spread on a crisp cracker. The pairings and the flavor possibilities are endless!