This vegan white cheddar made with leftover wheat starch water gets its creaminess from cashews and cheddar flavor from a combination of nutritional yeast and the brine from a jar of olives. It's a hard cheese perfect for your next charcuterie board, but can also be sliced thin for sandwiches or grated onto just about anything for flavor. This recipe incldes some tapioca flour to help this become a meltable version for your grilled cheeses, too!
Soak the cashews overnight or for 8-12 hours to soften them. If you're pressed for time you can boil a cup or two of water, then add the cashews and remove from the heat. Let them sit for 30 minutes in the boiled water, then give a quick rinse in cool water.
In a high-speed blender or food processor (I used the single blender cup from my Ninja) process the cashews and starting with about a 1/2 cup of water, process until smooth, adding the additional 1/4 cup as you go.
Drain as much excess water off your starch as possible and stir. I let mine sit in the fridge for a day or two to try to get it to really separate before using for this. Make sure your starch water is at room temperature before beginning, or it can make your coconut oil solidify when mixing.* I microwave it in 30-second increments, stirring each time until it's ready. Be careful not to heat it too much or the starch will clump.
*You can also leave the starch on your counter for several hours or overnight so it begins to ferment. The sourness and slight acidity will add more depth of flavor to your cheese.
Prepare a steamer and have a container ready for your cheese. I use these silicone molds which easily release. You may want to oil a glass container if using. Whatever you choose, make sure it can easily hold up at least 2 1/2-3 cups of liquid, because the mixture will rise by about 1/3 during cooking.
Add the blended cashews and all the ingredients through the salt to your blender or food processor and blitz. Slowly add in the melted coconut oil and continue to blend until it is fully emulsified.
Finally add in the lactic acid and pulse the blender a bit more to incorporate.* Pour the mixture into the prepared vessel and steam for 45 minutes. Allow to come to room temperature before covering and storing in the fridge. The cheese will be hardened after about 6-8 hours of resting in the fridge and will continue to harden a little more as it rests.