Plant-Based Chevre Cheese Recipe

by: EJ on 12/08/2017

Breaking News!  Karen McAthy's book, The Art of Plant-based Cheesemaking: How to Craft Real, Cultured, Non-dairy Cheese,  has won the selection to represent Canada in the Vegan book category  in the Gourmand World Cookbook Award.  Congratulations Karen.

Chevre, a style of cheese made traditionally with goat’s milk, is noted for its particular tangy, sour nature, soft mouth feel, and creaminess. It is not a hard or even semi-soft cheese, but is a shaped cheese, usually seen in long rolls. 

The longer a mixture cultures, the more of the sugars are consumed, the tangier or sharper it tastes, and the more moisture is removed from it as a by-product. The yield in longer-aged cheeses is lower than with fresher cheeses, but the trade off is more intense flavor and firmer texture.

This recipe for chevre, made with cashews and macadamia nuts, was developed by chef Karen McAthy and is taken from her book, The Art of Plant-based Cheesemaking: How to Craft Real, Cultured, Non-dairy Cheese.

 
Equipment
High-speed blender Spatula
Food-grade plastic bowl or container
Container to store cheese Doubled-up cheesecloth or butter muslin

CheeseAndFigs

Ingredients
3 cups cashews, macadamia nuts, or combination of the two, soaked from 1 hour to overnight.
1–2 tsp salt
1½ cups filtered water plus more for blending (do not add all at one time)
⅛ cup coconut kefir or
⅛ cup rejuvelac or
1 probiotic capsule
½ cup full-fat coconut milk (optional)
Note: if you choose to use the full-fat coconut milk, you will need to reduce the amount of water.

Method
1. Add the cashew/macadamia and salt to the blender, add a little water at a time (not all at once). If you choose to use the full-fat coconut milk, also add small amounts at a time.

2. Start on low speed and gradually work up to higher speed, stopping to periodically scrape the mixture down the sides of the blender. If it’s too thick and binding around the blender blades, add small amounts of filtered water and blend at low to moderate speed until the mixture is very smooth. It is really important to start the blending process on low speed. It will save your blender blades, and it will yield a smoother paste.

3. Scrape the mixture into a clean and sanitized container. Add the coconut kefir, rejuvelac culture, or probiotic capsule. Cover and allow to culture in a warm environment. If your kitchen is warm, (over 68 °F [20°C]) you can do this by setting your culturing mixture near the warmest area of your kitchen, such as near your oven. You can also pre-heat your oven to 100° F (38 °C), turn the heat off and — leaving the oven light on — place the covered culturing mixture inside the oven to culture temperature up to 36 hours. Check after 12 hours.
 
4. It is important to taste the mixture when you check it, because this is how, in part, you will know if the culture is working. The mixture should taste tangy, almost sour, a little like yogurt or sour cream. You should also check the mixture visually. You should see some bubbles — this is an indication that the cultures are working.

5. After it has cultured to the strength that you like, put the mixture into a cheesecloth bag or nut milk bag, and allow to drain from  4 hours to overnight, depending on how firm you want the cheese to be. If you allow to drain overnight, be sure to do so in the refrigerator.

6. After draining, you can keep the cheese as is and store in a clean, sanitized, covered container in the refrigerator. Because you are using live cultures, periodically remove the cover and allow gasses, the by-product of culturing, to escape. This can keep for up to 14 days, but may become a little stronger in flavor over the course of time. This will be a soft, fresh cheese.

7. The flavor should be lightly salty, and tangy. It should have a creamy mouth feel, and hold together when picked up with your fingers. Below are some modifications that you can use to create different flavors.

CheeseandApple

Modifications
Truffle and Black Pepper
You can use either white or black truffle oil (2 tsp will be sufficient), or, if you have deep pockets, you can shave fresh truffle.
Add 1–2 tsp coarse black or pink peppercorn (preferably cracked with mortar and pestle or pepper grinder — this will yield a clean and fresh pepper flavor).
Add both the truffle element and the peppercorn after the culturing process has been completed. Fold it into the mixture, then form the cheeses.

Fig and Cassis
Add ⅛ cup very finely diced dried fig at the time of blending and culture it along with the rest of the mixture. This will add a mildly wine-type flavour.  After culturing add another 1/8 cup of chopped fig.  This will add a sweeter fig flavour and finally, add 1 tbsp cassis. This will give the cheese a decadent feel.

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus