If nature gives you ashes, you can make cheese! Dairy-free cheese!. Fermented acorn, black walnuts, pinyon pine and cashews cheese preserved in coast live oak ashes from our local forest fire. The ash will help preserve the cheese and prevent mold.
I'm starting to develop my own technique on making those fermented cheeses. Usually people use rejuvelac (google it), probiotic capsules (Acidophilus) or other commercial yeast and mold to ferment them. I tended to use some of my sauerkraut juice but these day, I'm thinking about flavors at the conception stages. Thus, why not create a flavorful ferment specifically created for your cheese from the start?
You can make a sort of spicy hot sauce ferment to create a plant-based cheese that could have cheddar qualities. You can even include local spices and aromatic plants for true local flavors. Now we're talking terroir exploration.
In this case I made a fermented a concoction made of cabbage, watercress, dandelion, wild mustards, touch of jalalenos. So it's a bit spicy but with some nice green flavors.
1 1/2 cup of that ferment was pureed in my blender with 2 cups of mixed nuts (walnuts, pine, etc..), the puree was then placed into a cheese cloth with weight on it (stone) to extract any excess liquid and fermented for 36 hrs.
The cheese was then removed and this is where the second set of flavors was introduced in the form of dried spices which will also make the cheese bit more solid. This is where you creativity can shine. For this one, I added acorn flour, black pepper, garlic powder, wild kimchi powder, onion powder, tad of liquid smoke, California bay powder, a bit of nutritional yeast, homemade salt from seawater and so on... It should be salty but not too much. The cheese will continue fermenting and reduce the salinity a bit.
Mix everything and the resulting paste is formed into a round shape using your hand or a mold. Remove from the mold and add the ashes all over it.
The cheese is then placed into the dehydrator (below 70F) for 48 hours then wrapped in cheese cloth and aged in the fridge for a week or more. I also spray salt water on day 4 and 5 twice a day.
#cheese #ashes #californiafires