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Baked “Nutcotta” – A Dairy Free cheese!

July 6, 2013

Baked "nutcotta" cheese

Baked “nutcotta” cheese

This is a savoury version of the “cheese” that I made for my dairy free New York Cheesecake recently. It works very well as a savoury snack and is perfectly receptive to any additional flavours such as herbs or chilli or the like.

Despite this recipe being extremely forgiving and adaptable, there are two steps that you shouldn’t skip. They are the resting overnight and the baking. You will find plenty of recipes on the Web for raw “nut cheese” but I find them grainy and texturally not as dense. The denseness and richness make this “cheese” more like cheese! I have a recipe for an unbaked cheese here.

Now I am using inverted comma’s prolifically here because this is really not a “cheese” at all but am using the term loosely.

I have previously enjoyed making dairy cheese and the transformation of rich creamy milk into fresh ricotta or soft camembert or aged cheddar is nothing short of miraculous! The addition of a tiny amount of bacteria alters the milk like magic. If you have made yoghurt before you will understand the process.

This “cheese” is far from real cheese making with the only similarities with this recipe are that you make a “milk” (nut milk), add a “culture” (probiotics) and drain the “solids”(evaporate the liquid). The probiotics do not transform the nut milk in any way but merely add a little flavour  – the baking process kills their goodness anyway. Omit them if you like, they just make me feel better!! – Yes, I know it’s in my head!!

The flavour comes from the addition of savoury yeast flakes which I talk about here, and lemon and garlic. It is also improved by the resting over night. As mentioned earlier, feel free to experiment and add flavours such as dried chilli, fresh turmeric or fresh herbs. The possibilities are endless.

The baking makes this recipe creamier as does the draining overnight – you won’t get much liquid come out of it but the resting does make a difference to the texture also. The “cheese” pictured here is a little brown – I had my oven on too hot. If you don’t want it to brown too much, cover the “cheese” with foil, midway through.

150g blanched almonds
80g water
50g lemon juice
 60g oil
1 small garlic clove
1 teas salt
1 heaped tab nutritional yeast
1 probiotic capsule
1/2 teas onion powder (optional)
a few herbs (optional)

Grind the almonds on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the rest of the ingredients, discarding the capsule shell, and blitz on SP 8 for 30 seconds, scrape down and repeat. You will have a smooth goopy thick puree. Make sure it is lovely & smooth.

Put into a nut bag and hang over a dish at room temperature overnight. You will get only a little liquid out of it, but this step is important.

With wet hands, form into a patty or pack into a greased tin or ramekin. I used a cute little spring-form pan from the supermarket and bake for 1 hour on 150ºC. Cover with foil if browning too much. Let cool and wrap up to store in the fridge for at least 24 hours to mellow. It will keep well for about 2 weeks and does improve a bit with age.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2013 5:30 pm

    The recipe makes about a cup capacity of cheese. Did you weigh blanched almonds or raw?

  2. July 6, 2013 1:43 pm

    G’day! Being American born and bred (NY), I LOVE cheescake, TRUE!
    Your version sounds so YUM and might have to put it on my list to do!
    Cheers! Joanne

  3. A Table in the Sun permalink
    July 6, 2013 9:25 am

    I’ve just recently tried my hand at making “goat cheese” from cashews. It was so yummy, that I’m ready for another try at using nuts for my dairy substitute. Thanks for this recipe and the extensive instructions.

    • July 6, 2013 9:32 am

      You are welcome! Most “cheese” recipes use cashews which I have to avoid, so its good to know that almonds work too! Just make sure that they are blanched – the skins affect the flavour AND texture.

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