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Fermented Nut Cheese

 

Now, if this were back in the day and my blog was still called Making Love In The Kitchen, and I still got a kick out of referring to my nut milk bag as a My Nut SackI might be inclined to crack a few 12-year-old-boy-jokes about nut cheese. But we’ve all grown up, right? Nothing funny about nut cheese! Only awesomeness worth celebrating.

Like many of you, I gave up dairy long ago. It definitely isn’t the power food group government agencies like us to think it is, but moreover, for many of us, it contributes to digestive upset, inflammation, skin problems and all around phlegmyness. A cute combo for sure.

When I gave up dairy, I wasn’t interested in hopping on the fake cheese (aka Teese) bandwagon. I didn’t want to eat cheese made out of a cocktail of starches. I definitely didn’t want cheese made out of soy. And so I opted to go without, and splurge only once in a while on a raw, lactose-free, organic cheese when it could be found.

Until now. Now I have the best option ever. I DIY-ed it up and make my own creamy and delicious fermented nut cheese. This is, by far, the best alternative I’ve ever enjoyed.

Fermented Nut Cheese Gluten Free toast

What’s really awesome about this dairy-free, grain-free, starch-free, protein-rich cheese option is that as we’re soaking and then fermenting it, it’s incredibly easy on the digestive system in terms of breaking it down. As an extra bonus, the fermentation process further fuels the health of the gut. It’s winning all around.

Making this cheese does take some planning as it takes about one week from start to finish.

You begin by soaking your nuts for 6-8 hours and then give them a good rinse. You then blend the nuts up with a probiotic and some water, or a fermented culture (details in the recipe). This mix is then transferred to a nut milk bag or cheese cloth and put in your dehydrator on low for 24hrs, or you can let it sit on your counter for 36 hours. This is the initial fermentation period.

Once it’s ready (and you know it’s ready as it’s dry to the feel on the outside and when you pull it in half, the middle has a yeasty smell like freshly baked bread). That’s the fermentation magic in action. This is your cheese base and you can then decide how you want to flavour it.

Awesome Nut Cheese Flavour Combinations

  • Lemon and dill
  • Turmeric and nutritional yeast
  • Cranberry
  • Fresh basil and balsamic vinegar
  • Thyme rolled in pistachio
  • Cinnamon and organic dried cherries (that’s what I used for this one)

Fermented Nut Cheese

I added the cherries and cinnamon and mixed them into the cheese.

Nut Cheese Preparation

I then scooped the mixture onto a sheet of unbleached parchment.Nut cheese mixed

This gets rolled up to form a log shape.Aged Fermented Nut Cheese Recipe

Once your cheese is rolled, it’s time to age it. Take the parchment wrapped cheese and stick it in an airtight container (or wrap it in plastic wrap) and store it in the fridge for 4-6 days. This will dry it out slightly, make it firmer and also concentrate the flavour. Once you’ve aged your cheese, swap out the parchment for a fresh, dry piece and this should keep in your fridge for 4-5 days.

Dairy Free Nut Cheese

To get this texture, I used 1 cup of cashews. If you want a cheese with a firmer texture, I’d recommend equal parts cashews and almonds. Macadamia nuts also make a great cheese!

Fermented Nut Cheese Dairy Free

I enjoyed this cheese on a slice of gluten-free bread. I drizzled honey on top and sprinkled with hemp seeds.

You should know that when you are taking on fermentation projects there is no guarantee of success. The littlest thing can change everything and fermentation is always a little bit of an experiment. In most cases, you’ll want to watch out for mould fur, and it is a fine line.

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Dairy Free Nut Cheese

Fermented Nut Cheese


  • Author: Meghan Telpner
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x

Description

A simple dairy-free, vegan fermented nut cheese recipe.


Ingredients

Scale

Fermenting

  • 1 cup of nuts, soaked (almonds, cashews, and/or macadamia recommended)
  • 1 acidopholous probiotic capsule + 3 Tbsp water

or

  • 3 Tbsp pickle brine, kombucha or rejuvelac

Flavouring

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • herbs/flavours of choice

Instructions

Fermentation

  1. Soak your nuts for 6-8 hours and then rinse.
  2. In your high speed blender or food processor, combine nuts with probiotic and water, or brine. Mix until smooth.
  3. Transfer to your nut milk bag or cheesecloth and dehydrate on low for 24 hours or set on your counter for 36 hours.
  4. Once fermented, transfer to a bowl and mix in your flavourings of choice. Taste and adjust seasoning, but keep in mind that the flavour will become stronger as the cheese ages.
  5. Transfer to a sheet of parchment and roll into a log shape. Store in your fridge to age for 4-6 days wrapped in plastic wrap or sealed in an airtight container.
  6. Once it’s ready, transfer to a fresh sheet of parchment and enjoy within 4-5 days.
  • Category: Condiment

I hope you try this one. Please let me know how it goes for you and what flavours you craft up!

48 Responses to “Fermented Nut Cheese”

  1. Georgina said…
    What a lovely and easy recipe! I have some questions: 1. What is your preferred probiotic capsule of choice? There are so many and they seem to be expensive. 2. Where can I buy a nut milk bag in Canada? Do you have a preference? 3. Does it matter if I don't have a dehydrator? Will the cheese go bad on the counter? Could I ferment it in the fridge?
  2. Amanda said…
    I tried my hand at making a cheese after I did Meghan's fermentation class last year and the results were... disastrous! It was the most disgusting thing I have ever smelled in my life, something went super wrong. But this might be the motivation I need to try again!
  3. Yvette Chilcott said…
    I am going to try this recipe. I think I need to get off of dairy, and I have a sister who avoids dairy completely. I'll make my own bag from muslin that I've washed a few times.
  4. Clifford Cohen said…
    I made my first batch of fermented nut cheese and it turned out really well. I did a couple of things slightly different from the recipe. I soaked the cashews per the recipe, then highly blended the cashews in the food processor with the requisite amount of starter (I used the juice from a recent batch of fermented cauliflower I had made). I then transferred the mixture to cheese cloth and placed the mixture in a sealed sauerkraut crock (the kind with the lip of water around the edge--just the mixture inside the cheese cloth and nothing else), and I let it sit for about 48 hours (a little longer than the recommended 36 hours--I live in a basement apartment in a cool climate, so the temperature was around 60 degrees most of the time). I removed the mixture and transferred it to a mixing bowl, mixed in a dill spice blend (the spice blend is called "Deliciously Dill" for those who can get it (no, I do not work for the company that makes it!), and I transferred the mixture to parchment paper and wrapped it in plastic wrap as the recipe called for. I then placed the nut milk cheese in the refrigerator. After 6 days I took the cheese out of the wrapper and tasted it. It was truly delicious--just the right color (a light grey, which is the same color as the natural nut cheese in the store). While the nut cheese was fermenting in the refrigerator the previously slightly goopy mixture hardened and attained the perfect consistency--not hard, but very much like cream cheese. Thanks, Meghan, for a great recipe! Next time I do this, I am going to use a nut milk bag, and use a stronger sauerkraut juice starter. I might also let it ferment a bit more, so that the taste is a little more sour.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Thank you for sharing and love that you're ready to keep experimenting!
  5. Vardaan Bhat said…
    Is this cheese meltable? Also, does pickle brine work well, or does it interfere with the taste? Lastly, are there any good substitutes for a cheesecloth? Thanks!
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Pickle brine would definitely give it a different taste but if you like it- go with it!. You can use a nut milk bag in place of cheesecloth. You need air to be able to circulate.
  6. Keri said…
    Hi! I was so happy to stumble upon this recipe! After taking an expensive class which mostly insisted on using expensive macadamia nuts to make cheese, and sanitizing methods using hydrogen peroxide, I was so happy to find this down to earth recipe utilizing almonds and the like. I used a recipe for rejuvalac, that I learned in the class, and used a combo of 1/2 almonds and 1/2 cashews. The result is definitely gritty, because of the almonds, but that doesn't bother me, as this recipe has to be workable with my life, and macs are not in my budget for everyday cheese. I left the cheese in a glass pie plate with wax paper covering it from 10 am to the next day ( about 20 hours) and I could smell that it was sour but creamy (pleasant!) even without the flavorings. I microplaned a clove of garlic, 1/2t of dried dill and about 1/2 t of salt. It tastes awesome already even without sitting in the fridge, which means it will even taste better in a day or two. I think this recipe requires the cashews to give it more of a creamy texture and flavor, versus all almonds, but that may be just my preference. I was a little apprehensive of fermenting but the results are delicious and safe. Thanks for this recipe! Enjoy!
  7. Kari said…
    Hi! I made a cheese with almonds and probiotic, but it's quite sour tasting after only 16 hours. Did I add too much probiotic? Is there anything I can do to lower the sour/acidic taste of the cheese? Thanks!
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      A fermented nut cheese will be sour- you're using the probiotics to ferment the sugars. However, if you want it sweeter tasting with what you've made, you could mix some honey in or enjoy it with some jam on top. In future, you could play with the probiotic ratio and how long you let it sit until you find the ratio that tastes the best for you!
  8. troy said…
    I've made this cheese a half a dozen times . I've used juice from my own sauerkraut ,kombucha ,Probiotic capsules ( Garden of Life) always great results. After fermenting on the counter for 36 hours I put it into a cotton dishcloth for me into a log and put that into a mason jar in the fridge the towel with the moisture away and makes it just like a thick cream cheese or goat cheese. We have also tried many different flavors my favorite being garlic Dill with a tablespoon of nutritional yeast and strawberry honey as a cream cheese replacement
  9. Katie said…
    Wondering if anyone ever used a couple spoons of kite hill unsweetened yogurt as a starter? Container says it has live active cultures....
  10. Joël Canadien-Français said…
    After reading about fermenting cashews on a few websites, I put blended cashew in a glass container on top of my toaster-oven for two days. I let the small oven turned on at minimal heat and didn't close the lid on the glass container. I put a spoonful of cashew cheese from the store, but I can't say for sure that it worked as a starter, since the salt is added is it to stop the fermentation. Anyhow, the mix fermented well and after a day I taste it to see how much more fermenting I need. I enjoyed more the final taste ounce I added salt. Also I already had a batch that failed due to invisible mold in the container in spite of having it cleaned. I suppose that the more sterile is the best, a bit like when they boil the mason jars before using them.
  11. J said…
    When the pulverized nut mix is in the nut mylk bag, do I have to squeeze out the water first before airdrying? Or leave the water in and air dry?
  12. Emily said…
    Tastes amazing! How long will this keep for?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Emily, once it has dried it will keep in your fridge for 4-5 days. Enjoy!
  13. Han said…
    I was wondering if it's possible to use a probiotic capsule that has more than just acidophilus? Like a multi-probiotic?
  14. Rebecca said…
    Any ideas for a gal without a nutsac? Can't wait to try once I figure it out
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Rebecca, you can use cheesecloth, or you can buy a nut sack online or at your local health food store!
  15. Mary-Anne said…
    Just a question about leaving it on the counter after the excess water is squeezed out, do i leave the mixture covered or uncovered?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Mary-Anne, thanks for your message! You can leave the mixture in the cheesecloth uncovered.You'll know when it's ready when the mixture is dry to the feel on the outside and when you pull it in half, the middle has a yeasty smell like freshly baked bread
  16. Annette Helmuth said…
    If I leave my almond fermenting on the counter without probiotics will it naturally ferment? Also I left hulls on😧
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I have never attempted this but my concern would be that it would get mouldy before it ferments.
  17. Barb said…
    Would it work with walnuts rather than the three you mentioned?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      You can make this with a variety of nuts and seeds. Cashews, almonds and macadamias have a neutral flavour, which is why I like them. Walnuts will work for sure - it will just have a strong walnut flavour. So ensure you are a walnut lover or are serving this to walnut lovers. :)
  18. Nicole said…
    Hi! Interesting recipe. Are you concerned about pathogenic bacteria when left at room temperature for 36 hours? You have water activity, protein, a neutral pH. Thanks!
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Fermentation has a long history and fermented foods are generally safe to eat if cultured in the right conditions. I've found that with all fermented foods, I can usually tell either visually or through smell if something has gone off. And when in doubt, throw it out. But in my experience with this recipe, 36 hours is fine.
  19. Deb said…
    I would like to use the almond pulp left over from making my almond milk. Will that work as well?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I've never tried this, but I don't know if that will work. A big part of the consistency of the cheese comes from using the whole nuts - and with almond pulp everything has been squeezed out except for the fibre. There are lots of other ways to use almond pulp though - more inspiration is here: https://www.culinarynutrition.com/uses-for-almond-pulp/
  20. Louisa said…
    Hi I was wondering what I can use instead of the rejuvelac or Kombucha. Apparently the rejuvelac is made with grains and I don't have Kombucha, unless I use store bought Kombucha. I use to make Kombucha, but stopped because I cannot eat sugar or the because of the caffeine.
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Louisa. You can use the probiotics as directed in the recipe - it's either probiotics OR rejuvelac, pickle brine or kombucha, not all of them.
  21. iris said…
    Anyone experience making the cheese with pickle brine? And I was thinking to add salt before fermenting to prevent molding and enhance flavor, thoughts anyone?
    • Jeremy said…
      I have made the cheese with pickle brine. It was extremely tasty but not very fermented.
  22. Katherine said…
    Hi Meghan, This is an awesome recipe, I love this vegan cheese. :) I've also featured this in our website Green Thickies' latest post, 10 Delicious Raw Vegan Cheese Recipes. Not the actual recipe, but only one image from here, a small quote and I have credited to you and linked back to this page. I hope that is okay with you. Thanks a lot :)
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Glad that you enjoyed this recipe, and the way you have shared it with your audience is perfect. Thank you!
  23. Sarah said…
    Hi, I’d love to try this recipe. I don’t have a food dehydrator; do you think using a proofing box instead would work? What temperature would I set it at for that step? Thank you!
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      Hi Sarah. I don't have a proofing box, so I don't know if that will work. If it has a low temperature on it, anything under 100 degrees, you could try that and see how it works. Alternatively, if you live in a warm place you can try leaving it out on the counter to ferment, or turn on the oven light only - NOT the oven itself - and let the cheese sit in there overnight.
  24. Rae said…
    Could you make it in a yogurt maker? What temp does the fermentation need?
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I'm not sure! I don't own a yogurt maker. About 100 degrees or lower is the ideal temperature, so feel free to experiment and see if it works in your machine.
  25. Ann said…
    When you say pickle brine, do you mean lacto-fermented pickle brine or a vinegar-based brine?
  26. Mark said… November 2, 2020
    I stumbled on this article as I was looking at ways others have broadened their use of turmeric. I enjoyed the article and your ideas, even your humor, because I was once a twelve year old boy. Although, it seems my advanced age has only partially mellowed my sense of humor. The article struck a chord with me as I used to be a macrobiotic chef at a jazz club in Venice CA, in another lifetime in the 80's. I always found our sunflower seed cheese to be really unique and not something I would have come up with on my own, and if I had I wouldn't have used the word cheese in it's name. It was similar to what you're doing with nuts, with a couple significant twists. We would germinate raw sunflower seeds with purified water, enough to start the conversion process but not long enough to create sprouts, then we would process with sufficient water to make a slurry and almost a paste, and then store at room temp in an open container on a top shelf in the pantry to allow the naturally occurring airborne yeast to make a home in our container of seed mash. After one to two weeks, when the seeds no longer looked edible because of the action of the yeast on the surface, we would scrape off the unsightly part, and then season the fermented seeds to our preferred taste. I do recall no matter what else we seasoned with we always included nutritional yeast for it's unique flavor profile which so easily pretends to be several other foods when coaxed by other ingredients like turmeric, garlic, etc.
  27. Busygreenmum said… April 16, 2021
    Do you use the nut milk bag to strain out extra liquid before fermenting?
    • No, you don't need to strain. You're only adding a little bit of water so the nuts can blend, and the mixture shouldn't be too wet/soggy.

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