Thursday, November 4

Choosing cheezes: the Conscious Cook cashew cheeze

A tasty vegan cheeze is the holy grail. There are so many promises, and none of them fully deliver. You can have one that melts but doesn't slice, one that tastes good but doesn't shred, one that almost melts and tastes okay... Not to mention the price of some of these products. Is the main ingredient gold?

Cashew cheez

I decided to try one cheeze recipe a week for Vegan Mofo, and I picked the hardest one first. This is the cashew cheeze recipe from The Conscious Cook. It takes about three days to make. The first part is soaking the cashews overnight. The second is blending the cashews with Probiotic All Flora.

Getting those capsules is one annoying part. The other is that the recipe only calls for 2 tablespoons of water. Even with a fancy blender, that's not enough liquid to get a smooth texture. The first time I made this cheeze, I added lots more water and the end product was a loose hummus consistency. This time I added an extra 2 tablespoons of water and the final product was only a little bit thicker-- definitely not sliceable.

I would recommend adding as much water as you need to get a smooth consistency, because the third step-- squeezing in cheesecloth overnight-- will get rid of any excess water. After a 14 hour stint (under the weight of two cans and a liter of rice milk) my cheeze still hadn't given up any liquid. Scraping it out from the cheesecloth was a mess, and after mixing in the seasonings I skipped the part where you roll it tightly in parchment paper. I tried that with my first batch and it was a messy, wasteful pain in the butt. I just packed the cheeze in a glass container and left it overnight for the flavors to develop.

Final verdict: the taste is difficult to describe. It's sweet from the cashews, but really complex from the probiotics breaking down the ingredients, much like enzymes (rennet from baby cow's stomachs) do in dairy cheese. I really like the flavor, but next time I'll add a little bit more water while blending and I'll probably skip the cheesecloth step altogether-- I'll just leave it out overnight in a warm place for the probiotics to do their work.


  1. So, do you think it actually loses water overnight even without the pressing? Sounds intriguing!

  2. I have and love this cookbook, and I have been eyeing the cheese. I know Tal Ronnen uses a VitaMix or BlendTec, so maybe this is why he only needs a little water? At any rate, I thought that raw cashews wouldn't yield a sweet taste, that it's just the fatty mouthful that you get from them. Anyway, I'm psyched that you like the taste and will report back on how mine turns out!

  3. TheVeganAsana: Yes. I think the warmth would help the extra liquid evaporate, although I'd still try to add in as little as possible.

    celyn: That's what surprised me-- I have a VitaMix! The sweetness is very mild, and is reminiscent of some creamier dairy cheeses. Havarti comes to mind. I think if it was saltier you might not notice the sweet. Can't wait to hear how yours turns out!


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