Focaccia and Fermented Cashew Cheese (GF/Vegan)

IMG_8557When I posted the pic of this focaccia and cashew cheese on Instagram, I initially wrote: “Two culinary triumphs in one photograph.” And I totally maintain that sentiment.

These are two recipes that I had been thinking about attempting for a while being that 1. I love cheese and 2. I love bread and 1. I am dairy free and 2. I am gluten free…. so I knew that if I succeeded in this attempt, I would be one happy bunny.

I therefore spent about 2 hours on the focaccia and 2 days on the cheese. They were both amazing….so so yummy and totally worth the time and effort. I’ve already made the bread again twice (it’s not that difficult) and the cheese lasted me almost two weeks.

Now, I’ve always been one for giving credit where credit is due and admittedly, neither of these recipes are originals. They have, however, come from two incredibly talented and inspiring individuals.

The focaccia was inspired by Richa Hingle from her site, Vegan Richa and her original recipe for gluten-free zucchini basil focaccia. (Here is the original recipe: Gluten-free Zucchini Basil Focaccia (Vegan Richa)

Gluten Free Vegan Focaccia

IMG_8527

Ingredients:

  • 7 tbsp gluten free oat flour (gf oats ground into a flour)
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • 5 tbsp potato starch
  • 5 tbsp tapioca starch
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp organic soy yogurt (plain with no added sugars or flavors)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 tsp raw coconut sugar
  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl add the warm water, dry active yeast and coconut sugar. Mix well and let sit for about 10 minutes
  • In another large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients
  • Add the dry ingredients, yogurt and oil to the yeast mixture and mix well until a uniform and slightly stiff dough is formed
  • Cover the bowl with a dishcloth and let sit (in a warm environment) for about 1.5-2 hours
  • Place the dough onto a parchment lined baking tray and pat it down to the desired shape and thickness.
  • Cover and let rise for another 40 minutes
  • Make a few dimples (press very lightly!) on the dough and drizzle a bit more olive oil. (I also added a sea salt and dried flower mixture from Ibiza but you can decorate with anything from sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, olives or veggies)
  • Spray a bit of water on top and cover with aluminum foil with a couple of holes to let the steam out
  • Bake at 200 C (390F) for 20 minutes
  • Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown
  • Let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes

The fermented turmeric cashew cheese is a recipe for “golden cashew cheese” that I found on chef Heike Muller’s Instagram feed @tastyasheck: Tasty as Heck Instagram. Heike is an incredible chef, recipe creater, food stylist and photographer. So it is only fair that when I came across this vegan “cheese,” I simply had to make it!

IMG_8542

Fermented Vegan Turmeric Cashew Cheese

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cups broken cashews
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • 2-3 tbsp filtered water
  • 1 packet (about ½ tbsp) organic probiotic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • cracked black pepper to taste

Tools:

  • baking paper
  • elastic rubber bands (I used hair bands!)
  • sterilized jar with 1 cup capacity (I used my baby bottle sterilizer to sterilize it!!)
  • dehydrator

Instructions

  • Soak the cashews in the 1.5 cups of water for 4-8 hours
  • Place the cashews in a high speed blender (I used my vitamix) along with the 3 tbsp of filtered water and blend until creamy
  • Add the probiotic powder to the blender and mix together (but not for too long because you don’t want to heat the mixture and kill the probiotic bacteria)
  • Pour the mixture into the sterilized jar, cover with baking paper and fasted with the rubber bands (hair ties)…
  • Place in the dehydrator (if you don’t have a dehydrator than let sit in a warm place) at 25 C( 77F) for 15-24 hours

*Important: if the mixture smells/tastes sweet, it needs to sit longer. Also, if it changes color, it has been contaminated…you need to throw it away!

  • Once you have taken it out of the dehydrator, add the olive oil, lemon juice, turmeric, salt, thyme and pepper along with the cheese to the blender and blend until well combined.
  • Pour into a sterilized jar, close with lid and let sit in the fridge for 24 hours

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