Photo by Michelle Schoffro Cook
Sauerkraut brine is another starter culture that can be used in plant-based cheese making. When made from homemade sauerkraut, the brine is full of health-building probiotic cultures that naturally age the cheese. It also contains nutrients from the cabbage as it ferments, such as sulforaphane. If you don’t make your own, make sure to choose brine from sauerkraut that hasn’t been pasteurized from the refrigerator section of your health food or grocery store. It should say “unpasteurized” or “live cultures.” The result of using sauerkraut brine as a starter is a delicious, naturally aged, sharp, and rich-flavored vegan cheese.
Yield: 1 block.
- 2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
- 2⁄3 cup water
- 1⁄3 cup sauerkraut brine
- 3 teaspoons sea salt, divided
- 1⁄2 cup coconut oil
- Place cashews, water, and sauerkraut brine in a glass bowl with a lid, and stir until combined. Cover and let sit for 24 hours.
- Pour entire cashew mixture into a blender. Add 1 teaspoon sea salt and the coconut oil; blend until smooth, stopping to scrape ingredients down as needed.
- Pour mixture into a cheesecloth-lined bowl that’s the shape you’d like the finished cheese to be. Refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or until firm. Remove cheese from bowl; remove cheesecloth.
- Gently rub remaining sea salt over surface of cheese, including the bottom. Set cheese on a wire rack in a cool, dark, undisturbed place and allow it to cure for 1 to 2 weeks.