Miso Cheese is Delightful with Mandarin Orange Slices. Photo credit: Michelle Schoffro Cook, CulturedCook.com.
Forget the rubbery, disgusting, store-bought, plant-based cheeses. This creamy, vegan, aged cheese has a rich flavor all its own. The longer it cultures, the deeper the flavor. There are many types of starter cultures that can be used in plant-based cheese-making but miso is one of my favorites. It has a mild, naturally-aged and rich, slightly nutty flavor that beautifully lends itself to plant-based cheeses. I started a recent holiday tradition where I begin making this cheese a few weeks before Christmas. Once the initial culturing process is done, I form the cheese into a block and rub it with sea salt to help preserve it and form a slight rind. Then, I let it sit on a wire mesh rack in a cool space to allow it to ferment for the remaining days until Christmas Eve. Then my husband, Curtis, and I enjoy a beautiful holiday cheese platter with this cheese as the star. With three weeks of aging time, it develops a firm texture and a sharp taste that is delightful with pomegranate arils and mandarin oranges, walnut halves and figs, making it the perfect Christmas cheese and a wonderful, unique holiday tradition in our home.
2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
1 cup water
1 tablespoon dark miso
1 teaspoons sea salt (+2 teaspoons for the rind)
½ cup coconut oil
Place the cashews, water, and miso together in a glass bowl with a lid. Stir until combined. Cover and let sit for 24 hours.
Pour the cultured cashews into a blender. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and the coconut oil and blend until smooth. This may take a few stops to push ingredients down until it is blended together.
Pour the cheese mixture into a cheesecloth-lined bowl that is the shape you’d like the finished cheese to be. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours or until firm. Remove from the bowl and remove the cheesecloth.
Using the remaining 2 teaspoons of sea salt, gently rub the salt over the full surface of the cheese (bottom included). Gently place it on a wire rack and place in a cool, dark, and undisturbed place to allow the cheese to air-dry for two to three weeks.
DR. MICHELLE SCHOFFRO COOK, PhD, DNM is a registered nutritionist and international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: THE CULTURED COOK: Delicious Fermented Foods with Probiotics to Knock Out Inflammation, Boost Gut Health, Lose Weight, and Extend Your Life, 60 Seconds to Slim, The Probiotic Promise, and Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds. Her work has been featured in Woman’s World, First for Women, Reader’s Digest Best Health, Health, Huffington Post, Reviews.com, WebMD, and Care2.com. Learn more about her work at DrMichelleCook.com.
Originally published at www.culturedcook.com