I finally decided to avoid the few days needed to make the rejuvelac base (see the recipe online at Go Dairy Free) after I noticed a few recipes using sauerkraut in cheese. Apparently it has some of the same probiotic qualities. And I happened to buy some sauerkraut brine and kimchi brine from Pat's Veg at the Coburg Farmers Market.
More worrying was that it was grainy and never reached the smooth and glossy texture. I wondered if it was due to my blender not being powerful enough to blend the cashews.
This was disappointing because I had added oil because it was suggested this would help it melting (though to be fair Miyoko also suggested that other cheeses in the book were better if you are really after melting cheese). The oil seemed to make the outside of the cheese really greasy. I wondered if this was shy it was so soft around the edge. Next time I would not add any oil.
Let me digress a moment to illustrate mainstream attitudes to vegan sandwiches. A while back I was listening to high profile Australian chef, Curtis Stone, talking about going on Oprah's show to make a sandwich for a fan. He had lots of plans for making a meat and seafood sandwich. He arrived and found the fan he was cooking for was a vegan. He was flabbergasted. He made a falafel sandwich. What shocked me was when he said, what else could I have done! Huh? There are so many fascinating vegan sandwiches out there.
I gave E a taste and he made a comment about it being tasteless. Hurumph! I used it in a warm spinach dip anyway. It definitely adding lots of flavour to the dip. You can see below that it also went well with the spinach dip and an oatcake.
Top row (L to R): 1. I blended my ingredients in two batches because my blender is so little. 2. Then I mixed the two batches together. 3. I left them at room temperature for 2 days and the mixture became spongy with air pockets.
Middle row (L to R): 4. I mixed the 'cheese' over the mixture in a saucepan until it pulled away from the edges. 5. I tipped it into the ramekin to let it set in the fridge. 6. Once cool I tipped it out and wrapped it in cling wrap and kept it in a zip lock bag in the fridge.
Bottom row (L to R): 7. I tried slicing it at just under 2 months. 8. At just over 4 months it seemed mouldy on the outside. 9. When I trimmed off the edges it still was quite good inside but needed to be used.
I am sending this cheese to Ricki Heller's Wellness Weekends. I am also sending it to Healthy Vegan Fridays, hosted by Suzanne at Hello Veggy, Anna at Herbivore Triathlete, and Kimmy at Rock My Vegan Socks.
Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Great avocado salad dressing, ho-hum "meatloaf", and CERES baking competition.
Two years ago: BC Spiced carrot pancakes and our weekend
Three years ago: NCR Adzuki bean soup and firsts
Four years ago: Bread pudding and smoothies for vegie kids
Six years ago: Mulligatawny and dubious traditions
Sharp vegan cheddar cheese
Adapted from Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner (online at Go Dairy Free)
Makes about 250ml of cheese.
1 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 3 to 8 hours and drained
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup sauerkraut/kimchi brine
1/4 cup canola oil (optional*)
1/2 tablespoon white miso
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tablespoons agar powder
1⁄4 teaspoon xanthan gum
Blend all ingredients except the xanthum gum and agar until smooth and creamy. (I forgot to leave out the agar and xanthum gum so everything went in for me.) Transfer to a glass bowl and set aside at room temperature for 24 to 72 hours, depending on how sharp you want the cheese (the longer the sharper - I left mine 2 days).
Transfer to a saucepan and cook until glossy and pulling away from the sides. Miyoko suggests about 5 minutes but I did it for 8 minutes and it was still a bit grainy in texture. Transfer to a container and store in the fridge.
Once it was cool and firm I tipped it out of the ramekin, wrapped it in clingwrap and stored in the fridge in a ziplock bag. The recipe suggests leaving in the fridge for up to 4 months and that it will firm up especially after 3 months.
*NOTE: I found that the cheese was quite greasy and I would not add the oil next time.
On the stereo:
Flirting with Mermaids: Manitoba Hal Broland