I approached vegan cheese with the idea that I was not going to expect it to be dairy cheese. After 3 years of experimenting with cashews, almonds, seasonings, thickeners, cultures, probiotics and techniques….I have a couple of things to say about vegan nut cheese.
First, it will never be dairy cheese, let’s just get that one out of the way! This does not mean that nut cheese is worthless, it is to emphasize that it is its own beautiful thing. Before I went vegan, I learned to make fresh dairy cheese in my own kitchen with rennet. The process was very cool and every time I made a batch of fresh mozzarella or queso fresco, I felt like an artesian cheese maker…I was far from that.
Second the method used to make nut cheese is very similar to making dairy cheese. The results are different, but amazingly delicious and satisfying. Cashews definitely result in a creamier cheese compared to almonds, yet I prefer the flavor of almond cheese. Miyoko Schinner is a perfect example of someone who played around with the process enough and came up with amazing creations that have a following which includes non-vegans, it’s that good. Artesian Nut Cheese is a real thing.
I kept going back to this recipe, because it was good. Nothing fancy or complicated, just a really tasty cheese that is addictive. As you can see from the pictures I have included, I use it in a lot of my recipes, it is flavorful and in my opinion…perfect!
- 1 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Step 1 – Soak 1 cup of almonds in clean water overnight; next day rinse the almonds, bring some water to a boil and pour it over the almonds this makes them easier to peel, let it cool enough to handle; peel the almonds and place them in a food processor with the remaining ingredients; process until you have a smooth mixture, transfer to a strainer lined with cheese cloth, wrap up your cheese and place it over a bowl to drain in your refrigerator overnight.
Step 2 – the next day your cheese should have a firmer, pasty consistency; heat your oven to 300 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly brush with olive oil; turn your cheese onto the parchment paper, rub your hands with olive oil and shape into a round disk, drizzle a bit of olive oil over the top and bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool completely before eating. This last image is the pre baking stage. The final result will have a golden rind all around. I will add that pic next time, as my family has consumed it and was unable to snap a pic. Oh, well…I hope you enjoy!