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!