Anyone who listens to our (German) podcast knows that I’ve spent a few weeks with my DIY project to prepare homemade vegan camembert – with all its stages of ripening. The whole project started with thorough research because preparing vegan camembert can be quite a challenge. As it has to ferment, it needs bacterial cultures to get the process started – but which kind of starter cultures do you need, which of them are vegan, and where can you even buy them in quantities suitable for everyday use? Plus, the ingredients were just the beginning – I also needed to find out which utensils I’d need. From molds and cheesecloths to ripening wrap and camembert paper. And in the end, the goal was still to come up with a manageable recipe for all of you.
Let’s be honest – I was overwhelmed quite quickly. So I was looking for help – and found some. I had already tried a vegan camembert called “Cashewbert” and now discovered that the company also offers individual ingredients and complete starter kits for homemade vegan camembert. So I ordered one of the starter kits and watched my own “cashewbert “ripen for a few weeks until the big moment arrived that I had waited for eagerly. I cut into it and realized: this is it! Hooray! It’s vegan camembert!
Because we also don’t want you to get lost on your search for vegan bacterial cultures and utensils, we asked “Cashewbert” to team up. So today, we’ll show you their DIY recipe for vegan camembert, so all you have to do for preparation is to get one of their starter kits which are available in their online store – use the code “ZUCKER&JAGDWURST” to get a 15% discount on the purchase. If you have general questions about the recipe, we can probably already help you a bit with our own experiences. But if you have detailed questions about their starter cultures or the recipe itself, rather contact the team of Cashewbert as they are the experts.
- 300 g (10.5 oz) cashews
- 320 g (11.25 oz) water
- 1/16 tsp mesophilic starter cultures (powder)
- 1/16 tsp penicillium candium (liquid or powder)
- 0.5 tsp Vzyme
- 2 tsp salt
Blend cashews and water until creamy.
The room temperature should be between 20-25°C/68-77°F. Sprinkle mesophilic starter cultures and liquid penicillium candium onto the mixture and let sit for approx. 5 minutes. Then add the Vzyme and blend the mixture once more.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with a wet kitchen towel, and leave to ferment at room temperature for approx. 4 hours.
Boil the cheesecloths from the starter kit, wring them out, then line camembert forms with them. Divide the fermented cashew mixture into the two forms and smooth it out. Cover well with the overhanging cheesecloths and apply some pressure on the top to get a smooth surface. Add the cheese forms to your fridge and let the cashew mixture rest for approx 24 hours.
After 24 hours, unwrap the cashew cheese from the cheesecloths and carefully place them on a cheese mat. Sprinkle each side with 0.5 tsp of salt and let the cashew cheeses dry at room temperature for approx. 1 hour.
Afterwards, refrigerate both cashew cheeses (uncovered) for another 12 hours or so until they are dry enough to touch. Halfway through this time, turn the plant-based cheeses over.
Once that's done, wrap both cashew cheeses in individual sheets of ripening wrap (or transfer them to a plastic container). They will now develop mold over the next 2 weeks. For this, your fridge temperature should be about 7°-12°C/44-54°F. Every other day (or daily), unwrap the cashew cheeses from the wrap and check to see if they're damp. Pat dry any damp spots with paper towels, and remember to also pat dry the ripening wrap. Once that's done, wrap cashew cheeses once more, then add them back to the fridge (you can re-use the same wrap for one cashew cheese). If you're cashewbert is ripening in a container, wipe out the container as well, if necessary.
After about 2 weeks, the cashew cheese should be completely covered with mold. Dry it once more with paper towels, then wrap it in special camembert paper. Continue to ripen in the fridge for up to 1 week to intensify the flavor.