Updated: Oct 2, 2020
What the heck is it??
A bloody excellent fermented cheese is what it is. Well, we should really say 'cheese' as it's 100% plant based, but man does it have a cheesy taste! What could be nicer than creamy cashews, blended with smoky spices and nutty, cheesy nutritional yeast, but then fermented for extra zing?! Not much in our experience... And even better it's vegan so is good for all the family (unless you're allergic to cashews - we feel for you!).
It's pretty uncomplicated to make too, just needs a little patience. And compared to some of our ferments this is SO quick, as you only have to wait 1-3 days for it to be fully fermented and flavourful!
There's the option to add what's called a starter culture (an already established culture of microbes that kickstart fermentation), but it's not necessary as the naturally occurring microbes in the air, on your skin should be enough to kickstart fermentation. If you do decide to use a starter add a small amount of kraut or kimchi juice or even whey while blending (but not whey powder!). NB: if you use whey this won't be vegan anymore!
We've eaten this ferment as a dip for crisps, pitta and crusty bread, but it's also incredible as a replacement for spreads like cream cheese or houmous. It's especially excellent paired with kimchi but to be honest we've found ourselves eating it with... well, not much else.
Cashews x 200g
Nutritional yeast x 3tbsp
Smoked paprika x 1.5tsp Garlic powder x 1tsp
Black pepper x 1/2tsp
Salt x 1/2tsp
Glass jar (2 x 250g salsa jars work well!)
1. Place the cashews in a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water, leaving to soak for at least an hour. Longer works better as the cashews get nice and creamy.
2. Strain off the soaking water but keep it to one side and place cashews in blender.
3. Blend on high speed, you might need to add some of the soaking water to get a thick but smooth consistency.
4. Add all the other ingredients and blend again until combined. Again you might need some soaking water. Taste so you know what it's like before to compare once fermentation has finished.
5. Using a spatula to scrape down the blender and with a spoon press the spread into the clean jars making sure to remove as many air bubbles as possible. There should be at least an inch of empty space at the top of each jar.
6. Cap the jar and leave on your kitchen counter out of direct sunlight.
7. After a day you should have noticed the spread expanding as gasses are produced during fermentation. Sometimes this might mean your jar 'pops' when you open it, don't be alarmed though it's normal!
8. Once you can see the ferment is active and has 'grown' (NOTE: this has taken as little as 1 day and as long as 3 days for us, the warmer your kitchen the faster fermentation will happen) you can taste it!
9. It should taste slightly acidic and have serious depth of flavour - at this point pop it in the fridge!
10. The fridge slows down fermentation but this spread won't last forever so we suggest eating it up within a week.