Basic cheese

cashew cheese wheel about 5" in diameter
It took a week to achieve this stage
(click the image to enlarge)
Basic cheese

It won't take a lot of your time or effort to make this delicious fermented vegan cheese. For the wheel on the photo it took a week to achieve this stage.
If you get organized from the very beginning you can make it very easily.
On the very first day of each preparation you will spend about 10-15 minutes and then, after the cheese  ripens, - about 2-3 minutes a day changing the cheese cloth.

To make this cheese you will need just a few
And just a few
  • blender (better high speed blender like Vita Mix, but any other will do too)
  • cheese mold (which can be just a simple plastic basket for berries from farmers market)
  • cheese cloth (about 7 square sheets, around 10"x10")
  • a dish/bowl for fermenting blended cashew cream


Basic scheme looks like this:

In details:

1). Soak cashew nuts for 6-10 hours
adding salt after cheese
cream achieved desired acidity
(click to enlarge)
2). Drain soaking water, discard it or use for blending.  I use new water.

3). Place soaked cashews into the blender and add water up to the half of the soaked nuts volume.
Turn on blender slowly increasing the speed. When it feels like you need more water to keep blender breaking the nuts - add some and then more in small portions if needed. Eventually it has to turn into sour cream like smooth paste.

4). Transfer the paste into a separate dish and add a table spoon or two of soy yogurt, which works as a culture.

5). Cover with a clean towel and place in a warm place.  It takes about 7 hours on a sunny spot in summer or from day and a half to two days in the house during the winter to have the paste fermented.

The longer it stays - the stronger the acidity.  You can smell nice fermented yogurt like aroma from it.  If to dig into it with a spoon you will see that it became porous and airy. Don't leave the paste for ripening longer than 2 days not refrigerated.

6).  When you think the cheese is ripened enough add into it salt and mix well. Photo above. You need to add salt in small portions in order to make it right for YOUR taste.

transferred into mold after adding
salt (click to enlarge)
7).  Transfer it into the mold lined with cheese cloth, which can be double layered. It doesn't look that porous after you stirred it, it looks smooth, but the bacteria is still there and working. Photo to the right. Place it in refrigerator.
There the process of fermentation will continue, but slower.  You can put on top of the cheese covered with cheese cloth a saucer with a weight on it to help it loose cashew whey faster.  

8).  Every day change cheese cloth flipping the cheese into the dry cloth. Be very gentle the first two times when peeling the cloth off, trying to have as least as possible of cheese stuck to the old cloth. When the cloth is changed place the cheese back in the mold and put in refrigerator.  Keep it in the mold till it will hold its shape without it.  Every next time the cloth will come off easier and easier.

9).  When the cheese surface becomes firmer it will be helpful to rub some salt all over it to prevent undesirable bacteria from entering in. Carefully hold it in cheese cloth in one hand with the cheese cloth opened and with the other hand spread some salt by hand or with salt shaker.

If you want to have your cheese to hold shape faster - place it (still in the mold lined with cheese cloth) in the freezer.  Freezing won't kill the beneficial cultures.  They will go into dormant stage, but after defrosting they become active again.  At the same time the cheese will start holding the shape a little bit faster. After having it a day in a freezer you can move it to refrigerator and continue changing cheese cloth to get it more firm.

The cheese wheel on the 1st photo was shaped in the mold with a weight on it in refrigerator. The surface of the wheel was rubbed with salt. At the end the cheese could hold its shape and could be sliced, but it was still rather soft cheese.