How to Make a Basic Nut Cheese

I dream of cheese, really. It’s one my favorite foods and I had a hard time giving it up.
I fell off the heart-healthy diet wagon many a time over an extra sharp cheddar. I just couldn’t find a good replacement for the flavor or the texture of cheese. What could replace the tang of cheese in in pizza, on crackers, on pasta, on veggies and sandwiches? Soy Cheese? Ha! It might be orange, but It tastes like an pencil eraser and it doesn’t melt.

Luckily, I learned how to make “cheese” from nuts. The first kinds I learned to make were spreadable, quick, nut “cheeses” sort of like cream cheese. Then I learned how to ferment the nut cheeses. (Now, were getting somewhere!) Recently I got some recipes for nut cheeses with a rind and one that melts. I’m still experimenting with those. I’ll keep you posted.

Nut cheese is incredibly fun and easy to make. And it’s a pretty good replacement for dairy cheese. Let’s face it, for a cheese lover, nut cheese may never really replace a salty blue or a creamy brie but a long term love affair with dairy can really break your heart, so give nuts a chance.

Nuts, although high in fat, are actually very good for your heart. They contain monounsaturated fats. These are the “good” fats like you get in olive oil. They have long been associated with heart health. But wait, there’s more!

Many studies have shown eating nuts is linked to a lowered risk of heart disease. One study found that when people replaced the saturated fats in their diets (the kind found in dairy and meat) with the fat from nuts, their risk of heart disease was reduced by 45%. That’s major!

You can read more about the studies here.

Give it a try. Here’s a very basic recipe to get you started.

 

Almond Cheese & flax crackers
Basic Almond Cheese
Yield 2 cups

Ingredients
2 cups 0r 270 gms of soaked almonds
1 Cup Rejuvelac

To make the cheese:

1 – Soak the almonds
Put the almonds in a bowl or a jar, cover with water and soak them overnight.

2- Put the soaked nuts and rejuvelac in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
You are looking for a smooth creamy mixture. Add water if needed.

3. Dampin a large piece of cheese cloth.

4. Line a colander or the basket from your salad spinner with the cheese cloth. Make sure there is enough extra cloth on each side to fold back over the top of the basket.

5. Pour the nut & Rejuvelac mixture into the lined bowl. Cover the mixture with the extra cloth.

6. Place the basket into the salad spinner bowl.The salad spinner bowl & basket work perfectly for this as the bowl has enough room beneath it for the cheese to drain. If you use a colander, place it in a bowl making sure there is some space between it’s bottom and the bowl. You don’t want your cheese to sit in the liquid that drains from the nut mixture.

7. Put the bowl in a warm spot so it can ferment.

8. After a couple of hours, place a plate on top of the cheese. Place a small bag of dry beans, rice or the like on the plate. The weight will help to press the liquid out of the cheese.

9.Empty the liquid from bowl every 2 – 3 hours.

10. Let the cheese ferment for at least 8 hours. You can let it go longer according to your taste.

Once your cheese has fermented, you can spice it up with all kinds of things, basil, garlic, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley or cilantro. Have some fun with it.

Store it in a jar in the refrigerator. It will keep for 4-5 days.


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