Real cashew-based vegan brie!

by in Dips & Spreads
Tags: , ,
Time: Preparation time , cooking time , total time
Serves: 1/2 pound cheese
Cashew brie, vegan

That's right, this is a homemade vegan white fungus cheese! It's super creamy, with an overwhelming brie flavor and a firm rind. I've been coveting the moldy nut cheeses on various German and English blogs, but a lack of affordable vegan starter cultures was holding me back.

I bought cashew camembert by Happy Cheeze a few times, and I started wondering if it would be possible to use a piece of moldy rind from a store-bought cheese as the starter for a homemade one. I like experimenting, so when I had another Happy Cheeze camembert, I cut of a small piece of rind and blended it into my cashew cheese mixture. A few days later, some beautiful white mold started to appear. Success!

I don't know how many times this little trick could be repeated before the fungus gives up. If you make your own yogurt, the starter culture can go on pretty much forever, as long as you keep it clean and pure. I couldn't find out whether cheese fungus works the same way. Even if it only works once or twice, it's a nice way to save a bit of money. If do you have a freshly bought starter culture, you can also use that in this recipe.

My recipe is based on those by Full of Plants and Lecker Planzen. Their cheeses are made almost entirely from cashews. I wanted to have creamier cheese similar to ripe brie, so my recipe has more water and coconut oil. The coconut oil also helps the cheese set once it's placed in the fridge, making it easier to handle.

An added advantage of a higher moisture and fat content is that the cheese melts easier. This makes it very suitable for use on pizzas and casseroles. Add it in the last five minutes of baking so it melts, but does not evaporate too much. In the picture you see it melted on a pizza with tomato sauce, artichokes, thinly sliced onion and red peppers. This particular pizza is not low carb (sorry!), but the brie would also be very good on my low carb pizza recipe. It has quite a strong flavor, so you only need a few thin slices.

Pizza with cashew brie, vegan

Many people are a bit afraid to make fermented foods at home, let alone grow a fungus in their fridge! However it's really quite safe, if you just work clean and make sure no other fungi than the white fungus grow on your cheese. You do not need a lot of special equipment for this recipe, just a strong blender or food processor and a fridge. You will need some patience, but it is 100% worth it.

UPDATE: I removed the fermentation at room temperature, because I think the cheese tastes better without it.


  • 1 cup (130 g) raw cashew nuts, soaked for 8 hours
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) neutral tasting coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon soy or coconut yogurt
  • 5 gram (1 square inch piece) rind from a cashew camembert or 1 drop penicillium candidum
  • 1/3 teaspoon non-iodized salt


Drain the soaked cashews and add them to the jar of your blender or food processor along with the water, coconut oil, yogurt, camembert rind (or penicillium candidum) and salt. Blend into a smooth mass. Depending on the strength of your machine, this could take a few minutes. Add one or two tablespoons more water if needed to help the blending.

Take a flat bottomed round bowl that can serve as a cheese mold and cover it with plastic wrap. Pour the cheese mixture into the mold. Cover and put the cheese into the fridge for 8 to 16 hours so it can firm up.

Once the cheese is set, carefully peel away the plastic wrap and place the cheese onto a piece of parchment paper, in a sealed plastic container that is large enough so the cheese has a little space to breathe. Make sure to touch it as little as possible with your bare hands, so you do not contaminate it with the wrong molds or bacteria, especially in the beginning. Place the container in a room where the temperature is between 11 and 15 degrees C / 50-60 F. If you do not have such a room, the least cold spot in your fridge will do if you don't set it super cold (often the top shelf is warmest).

The cheese now needs to ripen for about 3 weeks at this temperature. Turn it over every day with the aid of a piece of parchment paper. If there is condensation on the sides of the container, wipe it off with a paper towel. Replace the parchment paper when it gets wet. The sealed container helps to keep humidity high, but it should not get wet inside. The cheese's odor can change from day to day, from fruity to sour or even a bit yeast like. This is all fine.

White fungus cheese, vegan

After five to six days the fungus will start to grow (see the pictures). It can have a grayish white or yellowish color. The cheese will continue to firm up. At some point you will be able to place it on a sushi mat or similar item instead of the parchment paper to allow more air to reach its bottom. Keep turning the cheese regularly so it do not stick to the mat. If the fungus on one side of the cheese grows faster than that on the other side, you can leave the slow growing side facing up for a few days so it gets more air. However, keep lifting the bottom off the mat every day, to prevent sticking.

After about three weeks your cheese will finally be covered with a nice thick layer of white fungus. You can now eat it, or keep it in the fridge a while longer. The fungus will continue to grow. If you want to make more cheese after this one, cut off a nice clean piece of fresh rind and start all over again with the recipe.


Trying any recipe from this site is done at your own risk, but that's especially true for experimental stuff like this. Study the instructions and maybe read up on fermentation a bit more before you begin.

Some people (including myself) get a bit of an itchy feeling in the back of their throat when eating fungus cheese. This is a mild allergic reaction, just like some people get from eating certain fruits like kiwi, pineapple and apples. Do not eat the cheese if you react badly. It may help to only eat the creamy part of the cheese (which has the most flavor anyway) and not the rind. The reaction is also much milder after you heat the cheese up, like you would do for a pizza, panini or casserole. Since this is a very tasty way to eat the cheese, it could be a good solution if you find you get a scratchy throat.


Harald op 1-12-2016 - 18:38

Hi Martine, your brie looks really very nice! Interesting thing that you use 1/4 cup of coconut oil and a bit of yogurt. I have also changed my recipe to use psyllium husk powder to get the mass more firm. I was quite happy with my last results. In my actual batch I am using coconut oil already (only 1 tsp) and I am very excited about the result. Best regards, Harald

Martine op 1-12-2016 - 22:18

Hi Harald, thank you for commenting! I was very happy to have your recipe as inspiration for my own attempt. Interesting that you use psyllium husk now. Maybe I'll play around with that a bit too.

NT op 16-12-2016 - 8:43

Hi there... any tips on where to find either the vegan cheese or the penicillin in Belgium?? Neighbouring countries, but I feel like Netherlands and Germany have gone farther with readily available vegan products. Well, Belgium is definitely getting much better compared to 7 years ago!

Martine op 19-12-2016 - 9:38

Hi NT, I don't know a Belgian (or Dutch) shop that sells vegan cheese cultures. That's why I just used the fungus I got from a store bought vegan cheese. You can order the cultures from Cashewbert, they ship internationally for reasonable prices.

Randall Layman op 16-12-2016 - 23:00

"... compared to 7 years ago!" .... now just imagine 25 years or from back in the 70s when vegetarian food was the worst! Grass and twigs. Anyway, great recipe, nice addition of the coconut oil. Vegans have conquered breakfast and dinner, milk, juice, Thanksgiving dinner. It is on the cusp of completely conquering cheese. I know Chef Sky is trying to perfect lunchmeat, but why?

Kristi Labrenz op 13-1-2017 - 21:45

Hi, what kind of penicillium candidum did you use, ABL, HP6, Neige, SAM3,or VB? Also - I cannot find this in liquid form, where did you buy? THX

Martine op 16-1-2017 - 21:03

Hi Kristi, as I describe in the introduction, I used a piece of rind from a Happy Cheeze camembert as my starter. The instructions for liquid candidum drops were inspired by other blogs that have tried this. You can also use a powdered culture if that is what you can find. Check out the Cashewbert website for vegan cheese cultures.

Malgorzata op 11-3-2017 - 16:30

I can not have coconut, is it any way to replace it?

Martine op 12-3-2017 - 19:33

Hi Malgorzata, any oil or fat that has a neutral taste and is solid at room temperature should work for this cheese. You could for instance try shortening, refined palm oil, refined food grade shea butter or refined cocoa butter if you can find it.

MC op 11-3-2017 - 17:47

Fabulous results! Especially as it seems a shorter time than some of the other recipes which is hugely exciting! One question, you don't mention salting the cheeses which Full of Plants does. Did you have a reason for not doing so?? Thank you.

Martine op 12-3-2017 - 19:30

Hi MC, I'm happy that you are excited about my recipe! I prefer to add salt to the cheese mixture itself rather than salt the outside, because I feel it is easier to control the saltiness of the cheese that way. It works just as well!

Marie Mésange op 14-3-2017 - 19:29

Hi! Thank you for the recipe! As it is difficult to find vegan cultured cheese from here, do you think it would work with a bit of dairy cheese(from my darling still eating dairy cheese), even if it is pasteurized ? (I'm dreaming that maybe the rind is not pasteurized...or still active anyway)

Martine op 15-3-2017 - 9:20

Hi Marie, I think rind from a dairy cheese will probably work. I think pasteurization happens to the milk before they add the mold, so you should have live mold, even on a pasteurized cheese.

Anna Varling op 28-3-2017 - 9:53

Hi Do you think this would work with a gorgonzola mold? thanks

Martine op 28-3-2017 - 11:53

Hi Anna, I think that would work yeah! I am going to try it soon. The vegan blue fungus cheese recipes I've seen call for scrambling the cheese half way through fermentation, so you get the blue veins inside the cheese. Have a look at this one for inspiration:

Niels op 10-6-2017 - 14:06

I am ripening it in the fridge, and it started to grow a combination of mostly white but also some gray mold. Is this normal, or is it a write-off? :(

Martine op 10-6-2017 - 15:06

Hi Niels, I think grey mold is probably okay. The white mold can be yellowish or greyish in hue, especially during ripening. Just watch out that you do not get blue or black mold. In the end it should have a nicely unicolor white fluffy coat.

Niels op 10-6-2017 - 16:22

Hmmm. it is a fairly dark shade of grey, clearly distinguishable from the white mold. I have two cheeses, and one of them has it more than the other. I'm worried it's the black mold you are talking about :( or is that really pitch back ?

Martine op 10-6-2017 - 19:01

Black mold is really pitch black, but fairly dark grey doesn't sound too good either... You could try to carefully scrape it off and see if it comes back, but your cheeses may be a lost cause. Sorry :(

Niels op 10-6-2017 - 20:19

Hey Martine, thanks for your answers. It's too much to take off. I am still in doubt though.. Let me put it this way: is it in any way possible that the good mold grows in two different colors at once?

Martine op 10-6-2017 - 20:30

I don't think so. I've never had darkish grey on my cheeses, only slight variations of white. You could let it grow for a few days to see how it develops, and then decide whether you want to eat it. Better safe than sorry though, the wrong mold can really make you ill in a bad way.

Quentin op 3-12-2017 - 16:44

I am so curious about the result. But i think i had issue with my try. I am using coconut oil that is liquid, and i read in the comment that you mention that solid oil is needed. After the first incubation in the fridge, it is still quit soft and sticky, could it be because the oil i used is liquid? thank you

Martine op 19-12-2017 - 14:47

Hi Quentin, coconut oil should always be solid below 22 degrees C and liquid above that temperature. If yours was liquid below 22 degrees, it is probably not pure coconut oil, but a mixture of coconut and other oils. For this recipe you need the pure coconut oil that is solid in the fridge. The cheese is always a little soft just after you make it, but it should not be liquid. It will firm up further as it ages. Until then, use foil or parchment paper to handle it.

Gustavo op 11-1-2018 - 20:29

Hi there, this is very interesting and I wouls love tomale this vegan cheese myself. However, all the Pinicillium I find on the internet contains dairy... is there a vegan version of it?

Martine op 12-1-2018 - 9:39

Hi Gustavo, there are several suppliers who have dairy free cultures. I order mine from Cashewbert. If you have trouble finding one that delivers to your country, ask around on the Vegan Cheeze hits and misses group on Facebook. People can hopefully direct you to a local company.

Lisa op 20-2-2018 - 10:47

Hey Martine, Thank you for the's amazing! I wanted to let you know I've featured in a cheese roundup that I've put together (, but couldn't find your contact details. Hope you don't mind? Best wishes, Lisa

Martine op 26-2-2018 - 13:02

Hi Lisa, thank you for including my recipe! Of course I don't mind. :D

Sharon op 28-8-2018 - 8:20

It was all going so well then day one of turning it all cracked and split. I’m not sure we’ll get through the week without the whole thing falling my apart. It is very big though so I was going to try again as I’ve now got all the ingredients and make two smaller ones. The problem might be the bowl I set it in wasn’t a flat enough bottom and when I turned it over the curve broke it. If you know what I mean. Anyway attempt no. 2 will shortly commence!!! Wish me luck.

Martine op 28-8-2018 - 12:53

Hi Sharon, sorry your cheese broke! If its just two large pieces you could continue fermenting it just like that. If its really falling apart, I'd try forming the scraps into two smaller wheels and fermenting it that way. You can use plastic wrap and a bowl to reshape the cheese mass. Good luck!

John op 31-8-2018 - 18:37

Hi Martine, I've made this recipe twice now, once with vegan yogurt and the second time using MM100 culture in its place. Both time I end up with something that looks good but as a seriously soapy aftertaste. So much so that it's not edible. I've done a bit of research and it seems to be due to lipase production from the coconut oil. Have you not experienced this flavor at all? I'm going to try a version with no coconut oil to see whether that's the issue.

Martine op 5-9-2018 - 9:50

Hi John, the soapy flavor can happen if the cheese is ripened at too low temperatures. You can try turning up the temperature of your fridge a little and/or place the cheese on the top shelf, which is usually less cold than the bottom. Another option is to use less coconut oil, but that will result in a firmer, less creamy texture.

Linda op 5-10-2018 - 22:21

Hi Martine, Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have made an attempt and used penicillium from Cashewbert. I followed the instructions but the mixture didn't firm up in the fridge. I have been turning it over the last two days. But this is more scraping it off the parchment paper and transferring to another piece of parchment. Is this something you have come across. Do you think it will eventually firm up or have I done something wrong?

Martine op 7-10-2018 - 9:08

Hi Linda, sorry you are having trouble with this recipe. You may have used a bit too much water. Did you use coconut oil? The coconut oil helps the cheese firm up. Eventually, the cheese will dry out a bit and become more firm, but if it is really wet that might take too long. You could reblend it and add a bit more coconut oil and cashews.

Apple op 17-10-2018 - 13:49

Hello I was wondering the cheese shelf life after the 3 weeks of fermentation?

Martine op 18-10-2018 - 6:57

Hi Apple, you can keep the cheese for another three weeks or so.

Ellen Pursell op 19-10-2018 - 2:21

What would the cheese be like without the fungus?

Martine op 19-10-2018 - 15:24

Hi Ellen, it would be like cream cheese. You can make fermented cream cheese by letting the cashew-yoghurt mixture sit at room temperature for a day or two. Then you blend it a second time with the coconut oil and refrigerate so it firms up.

Vicki op 4-1-2019 - 15:19

Hello, I am new to making vegan cheese so please excuse my lack of knowledge. Can i use a piece of the rind from my first batch to make my next batch and how long can i store it and how do i store it ?

Martine op 7-1-2019 - 9:53

Hi Vicki, you can do that, if your previous cheese was kept very clean. In my experience, store bought cultures get too contaminated after two or three generations. So you can use the rind from your first batch, but the chance of contamination increases for each batch, so you will probably not be able to do this indefinitely.

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Helen op 13-4-2019 - 22:58

Hi Martine. Thank you so much for your wonderful brie recipe. The end result was tasty beyond belief. The Brie is so delicious that I'll have to put a padlock on the fridge door and throw away the key. I can't stop having 'just one more 'teeny' piece.

Martine op 15-4-2019 - 11:12

Hi Helen, that's lovely! Glad you enjoy it so much.

Christine C op 14-8-2019 - 2:22

Hi-after trying several recipes I tried yours. I started getting mold within a few days and after 10 days the cheese was covered in a beautiful snow white rind. I was so excited. This was quicker than what your suggested, but I decided to wrap it up and put it in my cheese drawer of the fridge. I did cut a little wedge (which turned into a few wedges)for a taste and I was truly blown away by the creamy texture and the spot on brie flavor. it was quite tangy so not sure if this mellows with a few more weeks in the fridge or not - not sure it will last that long but will try for the sake of finding out. I used a piece of rind off a vegan camembert that I bought (which is not a patch on this recipe!!). I have frozen that for future use of the rind. This recipe is absolutely magic. I had tried the Full of Plants recipe but using powdered penicillum candidum but it did not take and I liked that yours had the coconut oil in it to make it creamy. Absolutely fantastic recipe. Will be making this regularly now. Thank you so much.

Martine op 19-8-2019 - 9:51

Hi Christine, I'm so happy you had a good result with this recipe. The speed with which the mold and the flavor develop depend a lot on the exact environment in which the cheese is aged. After alle, you're working with living and breathing organisms. Usually the flavor does not mellow with time, but rather becomes more pronounced. You could try aging at a slightly lower temp to get a more mellow flavor next time. Not too cold though, or the mold won't grow properly. Using less coconut oil will also make for a milder flavor.

Kelli O’Neill op 22-8-2019 - 17:31

Hey! I want to try this this weekend and only have the powder penicillin candidum. What would be the measurement on that?

Martine op 23-8-2019 - 9:47

Hi Kelli, with the powder you need only a tiny bit. Use the amount that fits on one tooth of a small dessert fork.

Catherine Hal op 1-12-2019 - 20:17

Do you have a firm measurement for the powdered penicillin candid? For example, 1/64th of a teaspoon? Less? Thank you in advance for your response.

Martine op 13-12-2019 - 15:32

Hi Catherine, Unfortunately I don't. The amount is so small that it is very hard to measure it precisely. Like I said above, it's one small drop for the liquid penicillin, and the amount that fits on one tooth of a small dessert fork if using the powdered form.

Rose op 23-12-2019 - 21:27

Hello! I am going to try making this tonight. I ordered vegan penicillium candidum in powder form. How do I find out the equivalent to one drop? Thanks!

Martine op 26-12-2019 - 10:21

Hi Rose, for the powdered penicillium, use an amount that fits on one prong of a dessert fork.

Catherine op 19-4-2020 - 18:17

I've made this recipe twice, it's delicious. Still trying to figure stuff out about it, but I have two questions: for the penicillium candidum, I've notice there is a moderate to fast ripening one, and a moderate to slow ripening one. Is one more preferable than the other? Also, how many times do you think you can use the leftover rind? indefinitely, or just once or twice? I'm thinking that when I used to make milk yogurt, I could only do that 3-4 times. Thanks!

Martine op 20-4-2020 - 8:15

Hi Catherine, in my experience using the leftover rind only works once or maybe twice if you're lucky and very careful. After that you get to many other molds moving in. With long fermentation, the flavor can become a little bitter and soap-like, so I guess a fast ripening one would probably be best.

Vincent Jones op 29-6-2020 - 15:38

Hi. Is there a way we can save the rind, maybe in the freezer or something for future use?

Martine op 13-8-2020 - 21:10

Hi Vincent, you can freeze the rind and use it as a starter for another cheese. In my experience, this works only for one 'generation' though. If you try to make more cheese from the rind of your second batch, it won't work anymore. The white mold looses it's growing power and other unwanted and possibly dangerous molds move in.

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Catherine op 7-12-2020 - 23:52

Hi, I have made this a few times, but the last two times, the mold starts to develop, but then it recedes. Is the temperature wrong? Something else? You may not know the answer to this question, but if you have any idea, that would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Cag op 10-5-2021 - 3:47

Do you know if I use a rind from regular camembert to start up?, wpuld it work. I don't mind is not 100% vegan

Patricia op 10-5-2021 - 21:51

Hi, when I put the cheese on the sushi mat, is is supposed to be in the covered box also, or just the sushi mat uncovered? For the first few days, I kept it in the basement, where it is pretty cool, and it was growing the mold pretty nicely, but then it kinda stopped, so I put it in the fridge ( still in it’s covered box), do you think it will grow properly, or is it ruined? How much mold should it have, before I can use the sushi mat instead of the parchment paper?

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