Eager to try new things and add more raw food techniques to our newbie repertoire, today I decided on a whim to venture into sprouting and cheesemaking. Honestly I should be an old pro at sprouting by now – it’s my favorite part of gardening – but I’ve never set up production of sprouts for eating. The urging to begin has been lurking ever closer and today I ran into an article on cheese making. What, you might ask, does making cheese have to do with sprouts? I had no idea the two were related until I read Rawmazing’s post on cashew cheese made with rejuvelac. (Check out the gorgeous pic she posted!)
There are various ways to make raw vegan cheese. The basic ones are soft spreads or paté-style nut and seed cheeses simply blended in the blender until smooth. More formal cheeses are created by fermentation, using a probiotic starter culture. With the price of culture being what it is, so far I’ve been too chicken to try it. But then I ran into cheese recipes using rejuvelac, which is a highly nutritious fermented drink made from sprouted soft grain, invented by Ann Wigmore as a way to heal her digestive system. Rejuvelac is rich in enzymes, protein, friendly bacteria, and vitamins (especially C, E and B vitamins). Here’s how to make rejuvelac. And Ariel’s blog post Rejuvelac Triumph! provides some additional good tips for success in making this interesting drink.
So I’ve taken the first steps toward making “real” cheese: I’ve put 1/2 cup of barley in a mason jar to soak (after treating it with ascorbic acid)… The whole process of creating the rejuvelac takes from four to six days – I wonder how this will turn out!
UPDATE: It’s been almost 3 days. I let the barley soak overnight and then have been rinsing and draining it each morning and night. At first glance, it looks like nothing is happening, and I had about decided that my “raw organic barley” may not be so raw despite how the store labeled the bin. But upon closer inspection I can see many of the kernels have created a little thin spot at the end, through which I can just barely see the beginning of a white spot – a sprout! According to the directions, we want to use the barley right as the first tail of a sprout is peeking out, so I think probably come tomorrow it will be time for the next phase of this interesting process.
DAY FIVE: Well, sadly it appears this barley was not raw. Nothing happened. Will try again soon and edit this post once I start over.