I’ve been meaning to post this for a long, long time! This cream cheese is totally superior the dairy version (and I challenge any omnivore that is hesitant to believe that to eat a buttery, whole raw cashew and then try a sip of milk. Which one do you think would lend itself better to being a tasty spread?). Being homemade, this is not only much more affordable than the current store bought vegan cream cheese options, but it also is entirely customized to your liking and can be less or more tangy depending on how long you culture it for (I do 24 hours in my 78 degree fermentation cabinet). For people that take probiotics, culturing your food with them instead gives you way more bang for your buck, increasing both the sheer amount of the bacteria and the bioavailability, where one probiotic capsule can quickly turn into a week’s worth of better digested servings. The end result of fermenting this cashew cream cheese is a very subtly sweet yet tart, super smooth and wonderfully complex spread.
For culturing this, you have some options. The quickest and most reliable is using probiotic capsules (I use lactobacillus acidophilus since it’s so versatile and affordable). The cheapest (technically free) option is homemade/not pasteurized sauerkraut juice (find my recipe for sauerkraut here) and the final option, my favorite, is making your own lactic acid rich water from sprouted wheat berries. The end result, called rejuvelac, is effervescent and slightly lemony flavored. Around here we go through gallons of it every year, using it to water the garden, dose the pond with beneficial bacteria, culture cheeses and we also just drink it straight or throw it in smoothies. I included the recipe on how to make it below. I’ve done all three options countless times always with great results.
I’ve used this in cheesecake, frosting for cinnamon rolls, sushi and so much more. It works perfectly anywhere you’d use cream cheese.
*If you’re able, please source fair trade cashews
Cultured Cashew Cream Cheese
(makes ~2 cups)
2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
3-4 tbsp refined coconut oil (must be refined for no coconut flavor!)
Either 7 tbsp rejuvelac, sauerkraut juice or plain water
If using plain water in the above step, add 1 or emptied acidophilus probiotic capsules to the mix once cooled
kosher salt to taste
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Pour boiling water over the soaked cashews, blender (or ideally blender cup) and the jar you’re going to culture the cream cheese in to sanitize. Strain the cashews well, then add to the sanitized blender along with the rest of the ingredients (make sure the cashews and blender aren’t overly hot still which would kill the bacteria). Blend until very smooth. You’ll likely have to stop and stir a few times, the more you make at once the easier it is. Cover lightly and let sit somewhere warm and dark for 24-48 hours, the longer it sits the tangier it’ll get. Place in the fridge for a few hours to firm up before use to be most like standard cream cheese we’re familiar with.
(makes 1 quart)
In a quart jar, cover 1/2 cup wheat berries in water and soak overnight. Drain, then rinse them twice a day until they sprout tails (it usually takes just 1 day). Fill the entire jar with water, add a lid and let sit until bubbly and tastes slightly like lemons (usually 1 day).