Raw Vegan Almond Ricotta Cheese

CHEESE! is one of those items that veg*n peeps say is the hardest food to give up. Well now you can have it and it doesn’t have all those weird anti-caking ingredients that vegan store bought cheeses have. Natural. Love that.

This cheese is also a delicious reminder to me, to make it more than I do. It takes less than 24 hours from soak time to ferment time to eating time. A good project to start on a Friday night and have cheese by dinner on Saturday.

I used this cheese to fill celery sticks.

To top a half home-made vegan pizza (2 different times last week) that was baked for 6 minutes. To live for!!!

To top on broiled Dave’s Killer Bread: Good Seed ‘toast’ with sauerkraut and kalamata olives. YUM!!!

Our container was gone after a week, probably perfect timing. Hungry for some yet???

So, the longest parts of this recipe are the soaking overnight and the fermenting for 7 hours the next day. The rest of the tasks like peeling, blending, mixing; all take less than a minute.

If you are nervous about fermenting or eating something you’ve fermented, don’t be. Start at the 7 hour mark. Out of the 3 batches of almond cheese, that I’ve made, only one was bad and I think it was because I fermented over 24 hours in a too warm environment. I’m still not sure what I was thinking, but that’s how we learn.

I have the recipe and instructions below, but I would also like to share my pictures with brief hints here and there. So, forgive me if any of the information seems repetitive.

I soaked my almonds over night and then drained and rinsed them upon waking up in the morning. Almonds seem to almost double, so if you start with 1 1/2 cups of almonds you should have about 2 cups after they are soaked. Just a nice rule to go by, as many recipes are worded differently.

After I drained and rinsed them, I brought my electric tea kettle to a boil and poured that hot water over the almonds and let them sit for about a minute, then drained them in a colander. I then set up my ‘peeling station’. I had people ask why I was peeling them because it does seem like a less than desirable task. If you peel the almonds the cheese will look like cheese and have the perfect texture. You want your food to be aesthetically pleasing, right?

  

Here’s what they look like when they are done, peels on the left and almonds on the right.

   

Place the almonds, acidophilus, and water into a blender and process until smooth. After the last photo above, I added a little bit more water and blended again. I wanted it just a bit more creamy looking.

  

I then emptied that almond mixture into my nut milk bag, placed it in a colander over a container, weighted with a jar of covered water, and finally covered with a tea towel. As you can see it’s on top of my running dehydrator. I thought that provided a nice warm environment but not too warm.

This is the first view of what it looked like after 7 hours. As you can see there is a slight yellow to the cheese, much like a rind would be even though it wasn’t very hard.

In my opinion and experience this is what a good straining of the cheese will look like. I’m pretty sure this is called the ‘whey’. The one questionable batch of almond cheese I’ve made had a pink/red/orange tint to the whey and it really creeped me out; to the point I couldn’t take more than a few bites of that batch. Nothing happened to me but the color was so weird and I couldn’t find any sites that talked about it. If you’ve made almond cheese before and found that to be normal – please let us know in the comments below. Or trust me and the belief that it is off just a bit. I still think my ‘off’ batch was because I let it ferment too long in a too warm environment.

Turn the nut milk bag inside out over a glass bowl to empty out the cheese. It will look all cute, like a big ball of fresh mozzarella. I hope it looks white in the photo, we have such piss poor lighting in the kitchen, which is why I usually take photos near the window, but it must have been dark out already.

Add in your ‘almond ricotta cheese’ ingredients and mix well. You could add a bit of lemon juice and salt here if you wanted, but if you’re using miso and nutritional yeast, that lends enough salt to the recipe.

I really hope you take the dive into making your own almond, cashew, or macadamia cheese. It’s a fun and empowering process, contains healthy probiotics, and doesn’t cause sinus inflammation like animal cheese does. You could add different fresh herbs or seasonings, be adventurous!

Raw Vegan Almond Ricotta Cheese

Yield: about 2 cups

This is a delicious and savory 'ricotta' textured cheese. Feel free to add a drop of lemon juice also. Cashews and macadamia nuts would also be good to use, they all have their different price points.

Ingredients

    The Basic Almond Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups raw almonds, soaked 6-8 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon acidophilus powder (I used Bluebonnet Nutrition, Milk-Free Acidophilus Plus FOS Powder
  • start with 1 cup filtered water
  • Almond Ricotta Cheese
  • The basic almond cheese from above
  • 2 tablespoons organic white miso
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • dash nutmeg

Instructions

    Basic Almond Cheese
  1. Place the almonds in a metal/glass/food grade container. Bring an electric kettle or pot of water to a boil, enough water to cover the almonds. Pour boiling water over almonds and let sit for a minute before draining. This will allow you to peel the almond skin off quite easily. I've resisted this step in the past, but it really cuts down on time.
  2. Pinch the almond between your thumb and pointer finger and the almond will pop out. Be prepared for it to fly across your counter. I like to do this over a bowl. Repeat until all of the almonds are peeled.
  3. Place peeled almonds, acidophilus, and 1 cup water into your blender and blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Set up a colander over a bowl and place your nut milk bag inside; pour the blended almond mixture into the nut milk bag and cinch shut. Fill a ball jar with water and cover with a lid, then place it on the nut milk bag to weight down the almond cheese. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm area to drain and ferment for 7-10 hours. (I had my dehydrator running, so I just set this up on top of the dehydrator).
  5. At the end of 7-10 hours, remove basic almond cheese into a glass bowl that is good for mixing in a few more ingredients and then storing.
  6. Almond Ricotta Cheese
  7. Add to the basic almond cheese: miso, red onion, garlic, nutritional yeast, and nutmeg. Mix well. Enjoy!
http://feedyourskull.com/2012/03/12/raw-vegan-almond-ricotta-cheese/

xoxo

  • Tamzin_sparkles

    Sounds lovely!!

    • michellelfelt

      Thank you :)

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  • Bee Burg

    I really have to try this! I was not sure what probiotics to use and how much. I SO miss cheese!… :-( If I understand correctly this even withstand cooking? (as in on top of pizza).
    I made mock almond cheese a few times with the leftover pulp after making almond milk, adding lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and it was delicious! :-) Can’t wait to try the fermented version! Most of the pics don’t appear for me, some of them do, don’t know why… What do you do with the “rind”, just mix it with the rest or you remove it?