The day before
- Soak the cashews in filtered water for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Forming the cheese
- Drain the cashews, rinse them under cold water and place in the bowl of the blender.
- Add 8 tablespoons of filtered water to the bowl of the blender.
- Open the probiotic capsules and add the powder to the bowl.
- Add the penicillium candidum, just 4 drops is enough (about 1/8 tsp). If your penicillium candidum is in powdered form, please check the notes.
- Blend on high speed, scraping down the sides from time to time, this step might take about 10 minutes depending on your blender. You can also use a food processor if you don’t have a powerful blender.
- The cashew cream should be smooth but thick. If needed, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time until smooth. Do not add too much water, you want to use as least as possible.
- Transfer the mixture into a cheesecloth and pull it tight. Add a weight above it and let drain at room temperature for at least 10 hours. I placed the cheesecloth in a colander on top of a bowl. Note: you can skip this step if you cashew cream is very thick.
- Transfer the cashew cream to a clean bowl, cover with plastic film and let sit at room temperature for one day, this step is important to let the cheese ferment.
- The following day, place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 4 hours to make the cashew cream easier to work with.
- After that, line a clean baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut strips of parchment paper and lay them in 3 small springform pans (I used 4-inches pans). You want to cover the sides and bottom of the springform pans, you can also use plastic film if you prefer. The goal is to prevent the cheese to touch the metal. Fill each pan with the mixture and press it down using plastic film so it doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Place each cheese on the baking sheet.
- Cover the cheeses with a large plastic box to keep some humidity. Let sit in a room at a temperature of about 52-56 degrees Fahrenheit (11-13°C). You can also age them in a refrigerator, it might just take a little longer for the mold to grow. You will age the cheeses at this temperature for the next two weeks. Do not store them at a temperature higher than 56°F (13°C).
- Every day for the next 3 days, carefully flip the cheeses using a small plate. The cheeses will still be very soft, like cream cheese. Don’t worry they will be easier to work with after four days.
- On day 4, carefully remove the springform pans and sprinkle the salt over the top of the cheeses, turn them over and sprinkle the bottom and sides with more salt.
- Continue to flip the cheeses everyday, always use clean hands or work with a plastic film to be sure you are not touching the cheese.
- After 7 days, they should be a little bit harder and you should be able to place them on a bamboo mat.
- Flip them everyday for the next week. The mold will appear after 5-7 days and continue to grow until they are fully covered with a white rind.
- After 2 weeks, wrap the cheeses in parchment paper or cheese paper and place them in the refrigerator for at least 2 days. The longer you let them age in the refrigerator, the stronger the taste.
- Enjoy with french bread, fresh figs or walnuts!
- The cheese will keep for at least 1 month in the refrigerator.
If you used a small amount of water and the mixture is already really thick, the draining step is not essential.
Penicillium Candidum can be found in the powdered and liquid form. Both work the same, I usually use 1/8 tsp when liquid, or 1/16 tsp when in powder.
If your cheeses are still really soft after 6 days, you can move them to a place with proper air circulation for one to two days to help them dry a little bit.
If you don’t have a room at a temperature of 52-56 degrees Fahrenheit, feel free to place the cheese in your refrigerator, be aware it will take longer to firm up. The mold may take longer to appear too.