Crafting Cashew Cheese from Scratch + more with Chef Jayson


Join Chef Jayson in Lynette’s Kitchen where Science Meets Taste! In this video you will learn about the balance between salinity and bacterial growth, revealing the scientific intricacies behind creating the world’s most delicious food; hint it’s cheese!


0:00 Cashew Cheese
1:00 Unwrapping the Cheese
2:27 Cutting the Cheese
4:50 Lessons Learned
5:32 Work in Progress


Chef Jayson (00:04):

All right, welcome back to the kitchen. I wanted to give you guys some updates on some of the projects that we’re working on. First and foremost our cashew cheese. I started this at the end of June, the last week in June. So I think it was like the 20th or so, no, maybe even earlier than that the 18th. We blended the cashews. We put them in a spring form pan. We let them sit for about four days until they were it was solid enough to handle. And then for four weeks straight, every day we turned it on the rack to help it dry out. Now, we did add acidophilus culture to this. So what I’m hoping is when we cut into the middle of this, there’s gonna be little tiny hole like Swiss cheese. Not all the way through, but hopefully you’ll see a little bit.

Chef Jayson (01:00):

So let’s do the unwrapping. Now, after I did all that, because I’m just not a content person, I had to put it in the smoker. Now the one thing that I would recommend when you do cashew cheese is watch your temperature. I did heat smoke this at about 180 degrees. I probably should have gone maybe 140 to 150. I did it for about two hours ’cause I wanted to get that really nice crust on the outside of it, but it got a little dark to my liking and a little dry to my liking.

Chef Jayson (01:35):

However, this is what it looks like. You can see those rack marks from where we are drying it. Yeah, this is, you can see the rind looks pretty good. It’s smooth. It’s very, has very little moisture. I think this moisture is just from sitting in the refrigerator. It did get stuck to the rack a little bit right there as I was pulling it off. So I think my solution would be to put it on a piece of small wax paper and then flip it halfway through your smoking process. That way you just don’t, or if you cold smoke it, you probably don’t have that issue. What happened is it heated up just slightly, and then the weight of it itself just kind of pressed it into the rack. So it took me about five minutes to kind of surgically extract this thing.

Chef Jayson (02:27):

But let’s cut it and see what it looks like on the inside. All right, here we go. Oh, I like it so far. It feels like I’m cutting through a piece of cheese, that’s for sure. So all those little tiny blemishes that you see there, that’s the acidophilus working. I think in regular cheese it crystallizes if, if you’ve ever had some cheese that as you’re finishing it feels like there’s little crystals on your tongue. It smells amazing. I like the look of the rind on the outside, but I think it is a little bit dried out, but the taste will tell. So let’s cut a little piece of this.

Chef Jayson (03:36):

Wow, that’s really good. You stick it to the roof of my mouth because it is like cashew butter, just like peanut butter, which is notorious for sticking to the roof of your mouth. But it’s really soft. It’s salty, not overpowering. It would still taste the cashew. It’s a tiny bit sweet on the back end of it. I would make this again. I’m gonna try it again for sure. I’ve got a butt load of cashews, which by the way, a butt load is an actual unit of measurement. I don’t know if you guys knew that. Look it up.

Chef Jayson (04:23):

So anyway, this is like, this is amazing. I think it was really worth the wait. It really was. And I think next time I’m gonna do an even better job with it and not get it to dry out so much. I’d like the color inside to be a little bit lighter, but I think I give it a B+ for sure. I think next time you see it the next one I do, we’re gonna get it to a plus for sure. Maybe even some extra credit.

Producer (04:50):

So what are you gonna do differently with it next time?


Chef Jayson (04:53):

Smoke it at a lower temperature.


Producer (04:55):

You think it’ll…


Chef Jayson (04:57):

It’s too crumbly. It just heat it up too much. It should be more homogenous, like the feel the middle part. If you like cut off all the crust, that should be like the texture of pretty much the whole thing. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>


Producer (05:14):

Now. So it shouldn’t be as crumbly?


Chef Jayson (05:18):

Correct. That’s why I was mentioning the heat part of it. So do it at a lower heat. And it, I think it’s gonna work out. So and thanks for, you know, joining me. I, I’m glad we got to unveil that.

Chef Jayson (05:32):

Just a quick pan across here. There’s just some different things I’ve been drying out mostly peppers. We’ve got red jalapenos, thai chilies, green jalapenos. I got some lemon peel, lemon peel. Don’t waste your lemons if you’re gonna juice ’em, peel ’em first and then juice ’em. You get so much flavor outta those skins. Dried mint. This is a mix of spearmint and chocolate mint. We’ve got some garlic fermenting. You see how thin that is? That’s because the water content in the garlic is actually coming out and fermenting itself. It’s given, it’s just enough water to allow that, you know, honey is naturally antimicrobials, so it seems kind of counterproductive to be able to ferment something in there or grow bacteria, but it’s a pretty cool technique. So we’re gonna let that go for about six months. So you’ll probably see this again in December.


Chef Jayson (06:26):

And then I’ve got dried chilies. These are cayenne peppers. These are purple cayennes, which when they dry, they don’t stay purple, they just turn white, which is kind of interesting. Some red chilies and some more. A little bit more mint. And then we’ve got some ferments going on over here. This is our Fresno. Look how watery that is. It looks great. There’s no, it’s nice and bright. There’s no discoloration on the top here. There’s no mold growing in it. So we know it’s like in a good environment. We just started this one last Friday and we started with a flat bag and now you can see there’s some air in there. And that’s the CO2 from the ferment working. So we’re looking forward to getting that going.


Chef Jayson (07:14):

And then the last thing, these are our green plums every month. We gotta change these out. The idea is to cure these like olives. Oh, I don’t know if that looks too good actually, I know that looks bad. So we’re gonna have to change the water on this. What is it? So this looks like a little bit of mold. So what we’re gonna do is change the water on this. What happened, what probably happened is the salt content in the water wasn’t high enough. The salinity needs to be at a certain percentage in order to inhibit the bacterial growth. So we’re definitely gonna change this out to date. It’s not ruined. It’s okay. Remember we can wash them all off and salt kills everything. So as long as we make sure we’ve got our salt dialed in, which again, I’m not sure why it didn’t get dialed in but we’ll figure that out and we’ll see you guys next time for an update on these. All right. So we will cashew next time.

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