This recipe produces a velvety smooth cream cheese that rivals its commercial non-dairy counterparts; and since no culturing is involved, it’s much quicker to make than cultured non-dairy cream cheese (however, for a truly authentic and complex lactic flavor, I do recommend the cultured cashew-based Cream Cheese in my Non-Dairy Evolution Cookbook). The cheese mixture is very thick, therefore a high-powered blender is recommended for efficient processing.
Vegan lactic acid powder can be obtained from ModernistPantry.com. Please do not replace the soymilk with other non-dairy milks since the curdling reaction of the lactic acid with the soymilk is essential to the final texture. This recipe yields about 2 cups.
• ¾ cup (3.75 oz. by weight) whole raw cashews
• ½ cup organic plain unsweetened soymilk
• ½ block (about 7 oz. before pressing) firm or extra-firm tofu (not silken tofu)
• ¼ cup refined coconut oil
• 2 tsp lactic acid powder
• ½ tsp raw apple cider vinegar
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
Rinse the cashews to remove any dust or debris and drain thoroughly. In a covered container, soak the cashews in the soymilk for a minimum of 8 hours in the refrigerator.
Press the tofu to remove as much moisture as possible.
Remove the lid from the coconut oil and place the jar or bottle into a microwave. Heat until melted (about 30 seconds to 1 minute depending upon the solidity of the coconut oil); avoid overheating the oil. Alternately, place the jar or bottle into a container filled with near boiling water and let stand until the oil melts. Measure ¼ cup.
Tip: Let the cashews, soymilk and tofu come to room temperature before blending as this will make processing easier.
Add the cashews, soymilk and coconut oil to a high-powered blender and process the contents on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar and push the mixture down into the blades as necessary (the mixture will be very thick, so use a tamper tool if you have one).
Crumble the tofu into the blender and add the lactic acid, vinegar and salt. Continue to process on high speed until completely smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the blender jar and push the mixture down into the blades as necessary (the mixture will be extremely thick at this point, so use a tamper tool if you have one). Transfer the cheese mixture to a container with a lid and refrigerate until chilled.
Variations: For cream cheese with onion and chives, stir in 1 tablespoon dried minced onion and 1 tablespoon freeze-dried minced chives before chilling. For fruit flavored cream cheese, mix ¼ cup all-fruit jam into the cream cheese after it has chilled and firmed.