How to make Almond “Cheese” (Fermented & Peppered)
Inspiration: It’s raw and fermented and I was inspired by a recipe for “Herbed Almond Cheese” in the new book Becoming Raw which I’m reviewing for alive magazine. I then read several blogs about making raw nut ‘cheese’ and also credit this one about cashew cheeze for more inspiration. Fermented ‘cheezes’ are sure to please raw foodists, vegans, and those who are lactose intolerant. And, while providing the same satisfying protein hit as dairy cheese, they won’t replace the creamed dairy flavor and fatty mouth feel of the real deal. Don’t expect it to taste the same — fermented Almond Cheeze is refreshingly light, and rivals goat cheese or chèvre for its… um… “tangy-ness”. It is a gratifying alternative for those of us who take joy in preparing and eating healthier foods. Experiment with seasonings to find your best fit.
- 290 g. raw almonds (organic is best of course) soaked for 8-10 hours, drained, rinsed and skinned (see tips below about removing skins)
- 250 ml water
- 1 tsp. light miso
- ½ tsp. probiotic powder (I use Udo’s Choice, see tips below)
- ⅛ tsp. nutmeg powder
- ½ tsp. dried garlic powder (see tips below)
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast flakes (see tips below about gluten-free)
- 10 g. organic cold-pressed flax oil
- black or other peppercorns and/or cracked pepper
- coarse salt
- Put soaked, skinned almonds in Thermomix bowl with water, miso, and probiotic powder. Blend for one minute on speed 8.
- Line a colander or strainer with cheesecloth and set over a bowl to collect liquid as it drains. Put blended (almond meal) mixture into cheesecloth and overlap with extra cheesecloth. Place a small plate and weight on top. Allow this almond meal to ferment in a warm (not hot) place for 12-24 hours. (Less time is needed in warmer weather.) I put mine in the oven with just the light bulb turned on for 24 hours. (See tips below for more about fermenting.)
- Once fermented, do the following: put garlic powder, nutritional yeast, ½ tsp. salt and nutmeg into dry Thermomix and whiz 5 seconds on speed 8.
- Add the flax oil and the fermented almond ‘cheese’ and mix gently for 5 seconds on REVERSE speed 1.
- Press into molds (use a bowl, container, or mini cake pan) and refrigerate. After about four hours (or more), gently remove from molds and coat the rounds with a mixture of peppercorns and ground salt. (Depending on what type of pepper you are using, you may want to loosely grind peppercorns with coarse salt in Thermomix before doing this.) Keep wrapped in parchment paper or butchers paper in fridge for up to 5-6 days.
- Serve as you would cream cheese or goat cheese. Consider blending with more healthy flax oil and minced fresh garlic or herbs to make a healthy dairy-free veggie dip as shown in photos. (Corn chips anyone?)
about probiotic powder: this is needed for the fermentation process. You’ll find pro-biotic powder in natural food stores and in some countries, in the vitamin section of regular grocery stores. I keep a supply of Udo’s Choice probiotic capsules in my fridge for health purposes and for adding to the Thermomix yogurt recipe. For making almond cheeze, I simply open three capsules for using in the recipe. (This probiotic is gluten-free.)
about garlic powder: as a rule, I always use fresh garlic, but for this recipe, the fresh garlic is too strong. I tried it with fresh, and have to say, garlic powder is better here.
about fermenting the ‘cheese’: according to the original recipe, the best indication that your ‘cheese’ has properly fermented is to give it the olfactory test and watch for a change in aroma. “Unfermented cheese does not have much aroma at all; properly fermented nut cheese will have a distinct, cheeselike smell.” Also watch for slight bubbling or rising on the surface.
about gluten-free: check to make sure your nutritional yeast and probiotic powders are gluten free — most of them are, so it should not be a problem. You can omit the yeast flakes if necessary, but not the probiotic. want even more tips? click the small photos below for additional notes.