And the sumac all through the valleys has turned bright red:
Which means I want to get into the kitchen and stock up for Winter! I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of new-to-me things this month because of Vegan MoFo and one of them is Vegan Cheese!
Miyoko’s done a fantastic job of explaining the vegan cheesemaking process, working from the techniques raw foodists have been using for years to make raw cashew cheeses, and developing them with traditional cheesemaking techniques like culturing to make tasty cheeses.
In order to make some of the vegan cheeses in the book, you need a culturing agent — and rejuvelac is a great one. It’s a fermented drink made from sprouted grains, and is quite easy to make on your own. All you need is a little time.
Miyoko’s recipe calls for any whole grain that you can sprout — I chose one of the gluten-free grains she suggested: brown rice. I was thinking of using quinoa, but it’s a little more expensive (and you discard the grains at the end of the process), so I went into my rice stash.
Essentially you soak grains in water until they sprout… so there’s a lot of looking at wet rice in this process. I found it really hard to tell if my rice had sprouted until I found some photos online of sprouted rice. It doesn’t get long tails like you get when you sprout mung beans or fenugreek seeds. Instead the tips get these little itsy bitsy sprouts on them, like this:
Then you pop the sprouted rice into jars, top with water, and let them ferment for a couple of days:
I thought I’d make up for all the wet rice pictures with the gorgeous fall scenery — but hey, this is about wet rice:
As your rejuvelac is fermenting, you want to keep it covered with cheesecloth, and in a warm spot that’s not right in the sun. Once you’re done fermenting your rejuvelac, you can pop it into covered jars in the fridge for up to 4 weeks. It will totally freak out the omnivore fiances and house guests in your house… and telling them that you’re using it to make vegan cheese doesn’t seem to help. Trust me, it’s totally worth it — at the end of it all, you’re going to have awesome vegan cheese!
- 1 c. brown rice
- 6 c. filtered water
Begin by soaking the grains: Place your grains into a mason jar, and cover with water. Cover with cheesecloth and a rubber band, and soak for 8-12 hours.
Now sprout the grains: Drain the rice, and place the jar in a warm & dark place. Rinse the grains twice a day, making sure you rinse well so they don’t go moldy. It will take a few days for your rice to get the teeny tails — keep rinsing until they do.
Now ferment your rejuvelac: Divide the grains between 3 mason jars (500 ml each), and top with filtered water. Cover each jar with cheesecloth and a rubber band, and put in a warm spot out of the direct sun for 1-3 days. You’re looking for the mixture to turn a bit cloudy, and the liquid will have a tart lemony taste. The taste will be “cleaner” than the smell (a bit “fermented”). Strain the liquid into clean jars, and cover and store in the fridge for up to 4 weeks. Discard the grains.