Vegan nut cheese masterclass
I recently attended an excellent masterclass in nut cheese making at 'Made in Hackney', London.
Made in Hackney is an eco-community cookery school, based in east London offering lots of different masterclasses, community classes and cookery courses. I sometimes teach there myself.
The teacher for this class was Bruna Oliveira, a raw chef, nutritional therapist and expert in nut cheese. The class promised to take you on a culinary journey of cheese 're-imagined'. It certainly didn’t disappoint because we discovered amazing textures, flavours and health benefits of raw, fermented nut cheese and how to make it at home.
We learnt the benefits of fermenting nuts and seeds to promote healthy gut bacteria. We discovered how to make Rejuvelec (a raw food made by sprouting a grain, soaking the sprouted grain in water for about 2 days at room temperature, and then reserving the liquid) and used it to ferment the nuts. We also learnt how to use a probiotic in the same way.
We sampled aged hard cheeses, and after making a vegan buffalo mozzarella (recipe below), we each contributed to creating a beautiful cheese board of cashew chevre with peppercorns, macadamia olive cheese, and a cashew chive cream cheese. This culminated in a big feast at the end where we sampled the cheeses with fresh sourdough and salad.
Great in salads and pizzas
- 1 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked overnight
- 1 cup unsweetened vegan yogurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 7 tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 cup water
- 1¼ tablespoon agar powder
- In a high-speed blender, combine the soaked cashew nuts, yogurt, salt, nutritional yeast, and blend until smooth.
- Pour into a large bowl and cover with a lid or cling film. Let it ferment for 12–24 hours.
- After the fermentation period, add the tapioca and mix well.
- Prepare a large bowl with water and ice. Set aside.
- Add water and agar powder to a pan, bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Transfer the fermented cashew nuts to the pan and continue simmering until it’s thick and very stretchy. This takes about 7–10 minutes.
- With an ice cream scoop, make balls out of the cheese paste and drop them inside the icy water. Let them rest inside there for 30 minutes.
- After that, you can transfer to an airtight container, or into a salty brine solution. Keeps well in the fridge for 7 days.
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