Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Vegan goat cheese (chevré), round 2

It's been a while, so I decided to make the goat cheese recipe from VegNews (a modified version of the one in Miyoko Schinner's book) but without the herbs de provence. It turns out making it in summer is pretty different; it ages a lot faster but thickens more slowly! I decided I wanted a different flavor profile so changed up the herbs.

Here's the last of the final product (it is so tasty I usually eat a lot of it before I remember to take a picture):
Vegan goat cheese

You need to plan about a week in advance of when you want to eat the cheese.

First, make some rejuvelac:
To make 2 cups of rejuvelac (enough for many cheeses): soak 1/2 cup whole grains (i used quinoa, which makes for a less disgusting flavor than rye or barley or wheat) in 2 cups of water for 8-12 hours. Drain it and fill with more water, changing it 3 times per day, until the grains begin sprouting, then drain again. put the grains and 2 cups of fresh water in a jar and cover with a towel or cheesecloth. Let it sit for 2 days or so, until the liquid turns white, then strain out the grains to have your rejuvelac. It should look like this before you strain it, and you can keep it in the fridge for several weeks:
Making rejuvelac

Then soak the cashews (2 cups, raw) for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight.
Cashews soaking to make cheese

Then blend until very smooth (I use a food processor, a blender or vitamix works but requires a lot more scraping and pushing and more liquid):
2 cups raw cashews, soaked
1/4-3/8 cup rejuvelac (I use 3/8 to make blending easier, but if you want it thicker use 1/4)
1/2 tsp salt
1 small clove garlic

When smooth, either add these whole and blend for a bit, or chop them up and mix it in. If you blend them all together you will have green cheese which will skeeve people out, otherwise you have nice green flecks as shown above:
~1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp lemon juice
whatever other herbs / spices sound good (e.g. in winter I use dried herbs de provence rather than fresh basil and rosemary)

Put it in a bowl, and let it sit out for ~ 24 hours; if it's cool weather you might need 2 days. You want it to start tasting a bit sharp and funky, but not too much. When it looks like this, your bacteria are going nuts (producing those little gas pockets) and you need to move on to the next step:
Vegan goat cheese culturing

Now you're supposed to shape this into a log using some parchment paper, but especially if it's hot and humid, you will find that it got funky fast, but didn't thicken up much. But generally it's loose enough I have to just spoon it into a rough log shape on parchment paper and smooth it out. Sprinkle on about 1/4 tsp of salt (ideally powdered in a spice grinder first) evenly over the log. Alternatively, if it's runny enough that it won't hold its shape, put it in the fridge for a day to get thick before making the log. Here's a pic of the pre-aged log, but note the color is weird b/c in this pic I used some walnuts too:
Cashew cheese log
Finally, let it sit out for about 2-3 days until it has thickened a bit and is super tasty. There will be sort of a rind that's thicker and more dry but it's all good.