Saturday, May 14, 2016

Make Your Own Delicious Dairy-Free Soft Cheese

By Michelle Schoffro Cook
This is my favorite probiotic-rich, dairy-free cheese. It is super-creamy and sliceable and even melts well, although heating it will destroy the beneficial cultures it contains. The cheese can be enjoyed on its own or with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, fresh fruit, crackers, or fresh bread and a few snips of fresh chives. Makes 1 medium-sized block of cheese Ingredients: • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews • 1 cup water, preferably filtered or unchlorinated • 1 probiotic capsule or ½ teaspoon probiotic powder • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted but not hot • 1 tablespoon dark miso • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste) • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried chives (optional) How to Make: 1. Soak the cashews in water for 8 hours or overnight. 2. Strain the cashews, reserving the soak water. Blend the cashew and ½ cup of the soaking water together in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. 3. Pour the mixture into a glass or ceramic bowl. Empty the contents of the probiotic capsule or add the probiotic powder to the mixture; stir until well-blended. Cover with a cloth, and allow the cheese to ferment for 8 to 12 hours, according to taste. Shorter fermentation times create a milder cheese; longer times develop a stronger cheese flavor. 4. Blend together the cashew mixture, coconut oil, miso and salt. Once they are blended, gently stir in the chives if using. 5. Pour the cheese into a small glass bowl lined with cheesecloth, stirring to remove any air pockets. Allow it to chill in the refrigerator until firm, at least two hours. 6. Remove the cheese from the bowl, and serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge. 7. The cheese will typically keep for one month when refrigerated. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 19-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking (New World Library, 2016).

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