When I found Tasty Yummies website, specifically her How-To series Tutorial Tuesdays, I had a little freak out. It’s genius. My first pin from her site even used all capital letters, see… freaking out. I adore all our guest posters, I do. But sometimes in life you just “connect” with someone. Their style, aesthetic, interests, the way they make their food, their writing style, their photography – it all just clicks and I’m left wanting to be friends with them, wanting to eat their food and shout my excitement from the rooftops [otherwise known as this blog] as loudly as I can. Beth’s blog is one of those blogs I’ve connected with.
I’m thrilled to share Beth and her blog Tasty Yummies with you all. She’s the bees knees and her bi-weekly series has produced tutorials like How-to Make Whipped Coconut Cream, How-to Make the Perfect French Fries, How-to Make Nut Butters and Nut Milks, How-to Sprout and so much more. I feel SO lucky that she’s shared with everyone here this how-to on making Dairy-Free Cultured Coconut Cream Cheese, inspired by the coconut milk yogurt she shared earlier this month.
Between this recipe from Beth and the genius yuca dough from Jennifer at Predominantly Paleo (my other new big girl crush) I can finally recreate a childhood recipe I plan to share with everyone as soon as we master putting it all together! I don’t want to tease you with something that may not come together the way we want, so I’ll hold on sharing exactly what it is. But trust me when I tell you, it’s worth getting excited about!
Being gluten-free these past, nearly 10 years, has been a challenging journey at times, that in the end has left me happy to have discovered my intolerance and excited about all of the many naturally gluten-free foods that are available to me. I have found I am so much more aware of every single thing I consume and in turn I have become a much better cook, too.
Though I don’t follow a paleo diet myself, eating moderately, mindfully and intuitively over the past few years, has meant cutting way back on my consumption of even gluten-free grains and I have also discovered that eating cow’s milk dairy just doesn’t always agree with me, so most of the time I tend to avoid that, too. Besides a diet being mostly focused on real food, these are why many of my recipes consequently end up being paleo-friendly.
One of the best things to come of me cutting out gluten and most dairy and of course, processed foods – is the joy I get in re-creating (or attempting to), some of my favorite things at home, where I can control the ingredients, avoiding the things I wish to.
Out of this explorative side and my desire to make as much as I can on my own, the Tasty Yummies Tutorial Tuesdays Series, was born. This bi-weekly series has produced tutorials like How-to Make Whipped Coconut Cream , How-to Make the Perfect French Fries , How-to Make Nut Butters and Nut Milks, How-to Sprout and so much more. When Paleo Parents contacted me about creating a tutorial post for them, I was so excited because I already had the perfect concept in mind. A Dairy-Free Cultured Coconut Cream Cheese, inspired by the coconut milk yogurt I shared earlier this month.
This tutorial is not only super simple, but there are several options available, too. I personally prefer the flavor when culturing the coconut cream with probiotic powder, found in my favorite daily probiotic capsules, but you can also lacto-ferment the coconut cream, with just lemon juice and sea salt, which produces great results, too. The best part is, no matter how you culture it, like regular cream cheese, you can flavor it any way you’d like, with fresh herbs and garlic for a savory cream cheese, which I like on my occasional gluten-free bagel or on fresh cucumber slices. Or you can also add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup and some of your favorite fruit or preserves, for a sweet option, great on fresh fruit, on a grain-free tart shell with some fresh fruit on top or just with a spoon, not that I would know!
This “Cream Cheese” is pretty legit, both in texture and flavor and I love that I have a great option for when I indulge once or twice a year, in the insanely yummy gluten-free and vegan bagels from Rising Hearts Bakery up in LA. Besides being dairy-free and paleo-friendly, this cultured cream cheese alternative is also vegan, too. Yes, there is a very subtle hint of coconut flavor, that I find lessens significantly, almost totally undetected, when you add a little sea salt and some fresh herbs. Additionally, below you will find other optional add-ins to customize this to whatever taste you’d like. Play around and have fun, give your cream cheese a little taste, after it has cultured and make it your own.
So, let’s get to it….
- 2 cups unsweetened organic coconut cream with no additives, except guar gum*
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon non-dairy probiotic powder (you are looking to have about 10 billion CFUs)**
- sea salt
- garlic powder
- fresh herbs
- a drizzle of honey or maple syrup
- fresh fruit or fruit preserves
- a squeeze of fresh lemon for a little more tang
- nutritional yeast for an extra cheesey flavor
- Mix probiotic powder (or lemon juice and salt) with the solidified, chilled coconut cream. Mix well using whisk or mixer, till combined. This will start to liquefy the coconut cream a bit, that's ok.
- Place coconut cream mixture into a pouch made from cheesecloth, a nut milk bag, an unbleached coffee filter, etc and place this into a strainer and over a bowl. Cover and leave at room temperature in a dark place. I just place it in my oven, which is turned off.
- Now we wait. Leave the coconut cream to culture for at least 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more tangy it will be. I usually leave mine somewhere between 24 and 36 hours. Taste it to find that perfect time.
- Drain off any liquid from the bowl, take the coconut cream from the pouch, place into a bowl or container, add a pinch or two of sea salt and any other flavorings you'd like. I like to add a little garlic powder and some fresh herbs. Stir well to combine. Place covered, in the refrigerator for a few hours (4-6 should be enough), for it to firm up. You can also add a little fresh lemon juice to add more tang, if you desire. I never have to.
* You want to use coconut cream you know will solidify when refrigerated, so I take a 2-3 cans of organic full fat coconut milk, I like Native Forest or Thai Kitchen while the Paleo Parents prefer Natural Value, and chill them overnight in the fridge. Then carefully open the can up and scoop out the solidified coconut cream for this recipe, saving the remaining coconut water for smoothies or freezing it as ice cubes. If you have a favorite brand of organic coconut cream that you like, that isn't loaded with junk, fillers, sweeteners or flavors, you can also just use that, too.
** I use probiotic powder from my daily probiotic capsules. Each one contains 3 billion CFUs, so I find that the filling from 4 capsules, or about 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder, is the perfect amount. This can vary with other capsules. Please be sure to refer to the package or contact the manufacturer of the probiotics if they must be certified gluten-free and/or dairy-free, as not all brands are.
Alternatively, you can lacto-ferment the coconut cream by using 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt per 2 cups of coconut cream. I personally like the flavor and the tang of the probiotic powder, much better, but this is another great and simple option and it follows the same instructions.
When you are ready to use this cream cheese, allow it to come to room temperature for 5-10 minutes, it will be much easier to spread. If spreading on warm toast or a bagel, wait for it to cool down, as this cream cheese will melt on warm foods.
This will not work in baking recipes that call for cream cheese, as it will melt in high heat.
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