Vegan cream cheese (nut free)

Vegan cream cheese (nut free)

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The internet is saturated with vegan cream cheese recipes and most of the recipes I come across are either very high fat/ contain nuts or soya. I’ve also tried an array of supermarket vegan cream cheese products but, I’m always disappointed. They are over priced, highly processed, often high in saturated fat, or bulked out with starches and always have an unpleasant, lingering aftertaste that leaves me nauseas.

So, I’ve conjured this fail-safe recipe, made without soy/nuts, and uses simple ingredients. I guarantee it will become a staple in your household. I use a mix of hemp seeds for a dose of healthy, unsaturated fats, combined with oats which stop the cheese being overwhelmingly rich as, I often find this the case when you blitz solely nuts or seeds for butters or vegan cheeses.

This “cream cheese” is light and non-negotiably creamy with a gentle tanginess as a result of the fermentation process. It’s a simple recipe, with no additional flavours but remember, sometimes less can be so much more! This recipe is your base to experiment from, pimp it up by swirling through some pesto, adding herbs likes chives, tarragon or basil etc, or perhaps a kick of cayenne. This cheese also works great as a simple frosting for cakes and other sweet treats when mixed with your favourite sugar/syrup/sweetener.

The recipe takes time to complete but not because its complicated! Soaking the seeds ensures a creamy texture and the fermentation stage is essential to allow the bacteria to culture up that classic cream cheese zip!

(This recipe makes roughly 150-175g of cream cheese)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 40g hulled hemp seeds (aka hemp hearts)
  • 40g oats
  • tsp probiotic powder/ vegan yogurt cultures
  • pinch of good quality of salt (e.g. sea salt) try and avoid table salt

METHOD:

  1. Place the hemp seeds in a small bowl and cover with boiling water, leave to soak for 90 minutes, there’s no harm done if it ends up being longer. Add the oats to the bowl and make sure they are covered by water, add cold water if it needs topping up. Leave to soak for 30 more minutes.
  2. Drain the oats and seeds using a sieve, use a spoon to press as much liquid from the mushy grains as possible.
  3. Add the mulch to a food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes until smooth and a spreadable consistency. If it seems too thick add a tablespoon at a time of cold water. You may need to scrape down the sides every so often.
  4. Transfer the paste back into a small bowl. Stir through the probiotic powder or yogurt cultures using a non metal spoon, cover with a plate or muslin cloth and leave at room temperature to ferment for 12-18 hours. The cheese should have a gentle tang, so try it after 12 hours to see if its sour enough for you. If not, I find a further 6 hours at room temperature suffices. (The variation in fermentation time will depend on the quality of your bacteria cultures). You can leave the cheese to ferment for up to 48 hours if you wish but, I wouldn’t keep it out of the fridge for any longer than this. When you’re happy with the level of zing, stir through a good pinch of salt and store in an airtight container in the fridge, where it will last for up to a week.

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