Adventures in Plant-based Cheesemaking, Part 1
Julie Piatt’s Cashew Brie
I will admit that cheese holds a soft spot in my heart. The creamy, tangy, melty, rich textures and tastes that are as diverse as they are satisfying – I have missed this. Enter: adventures in vegan cheesemaking!
I never would have imagined vegan cheese could be so easy to make and so delicious!
For our first batch, we decided to try out a Cashew Brie from Julie Piatt’s ‘This Cheese is Nuts!’
I was excited by its simplicity: cashews, coconut oil, aquafaba (what's this?) and salt. It seemed easy enough, except for the fact that we did not have a dehydrator. We do, however, have an Instant Pot! In a rare moment of focused thinking, I realised I could use the Yogurt setting on my Instant Pot to keep the cheese at 90 degrees for 24 hours. This would prove to be 24 hours filled with anxiety and anticipation.
Here’s what we used:
2 cups raw cashews
¼ cup unrefined coconut oil
¾ cup aquafaba
½ tsp salt
Here’s what we did:
- Soak your cashews overnight in the fridge.
- Drain the cashews. Eat one to make sure they are good.
- Place drained cashews, aquafaba, salt, coconut oil into your Vitamix/high-powered blender (is there really another that compares? BEST WEDDING GIFT EVER.)
- Blend everything, slowly turning the power up to high. You will most likely need your plunger. (This was actually exactly the motivation my husband needed to get the plunger from behind the stove after he had dropped it there 1 week earlier.) Blend until it is smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a 4-inch pan (we use these) oiled with coconut oil. Smooth it out with the top of a spatula and cover with a round of parchment paper. (Although we forgot the parchment paper step and it turned out great.)
- If you have a dehydrator: dehydrate at 90 degrees for 24 hours.
- If you have an Instant Pot: place your steamer basket in your IP, then place the cheese pan on top of this. Cover and set to Yogurt for 24 hours. Try not to open it and check on it in excitement too many times over these 24 hours.
- Transfer to the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Your cheese is ready to devour! Run a sharp knife around the edges of the mold and release onto a cutting board. Enjoy!