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Avellana Vegan Culture

We are pleased to introduce a new Avellana product!

Well, that’s interesting, you might think. But there are lots of vegan cultures available for purchase. What’s different about this one?

At Avellana, we strive toward utilizing the best product for the job at hand. In vegan cheese making, the culture is incredibly important. Avellana vegan cultures are different from the other vegan cultures available online in a few very important ways.

  1. Look how ridiculously cute this scoop is! Our cultures are so potent, you only need about 15 grains worth to culture an entire quart of milk! It’s incredibly economical, saves space, saves energy, and saves time.
  2. Our cultures do not contain any thickeners or preservatives. Most commercially produced vegan cultures contain fructo-oligosaccharides such as maltodextrin.
  3. Our cultures do not contain soy or gluten. Many commercially produced vegan cultures are fermented on barley or soy, which can impart trace amounts to the final product.
  4. Because of the super high potency of our product, just a tiny bit does a massive amount of work, making it incredibly cost effective. Other brands of culture require more than 10x the product to do the same job. With our pricing, you can culture a quart of yogurt for 12-15 cents!
  5. The strength of Avellana cultures reduces the amount of work that can be required for some other yogurt recipes. You don’t need to heat up the milk to a certain temperature, just put the culture in and ferment it. No mess, no fuss.
  6. Because this product is dry, it will remain viable in the refrigerator for a VERY long time, potentially years (this product has been tested as being viable for two years without refrigeration [NOT recommended for optimum use]).
  7. You will get the same results, every time. We used to use commercially produced yogurts as starters, but some would have very little results (likely because the probiotic activity was low) and contained undesirable ingredients like sugar, thickeners, and preservatives.

With 150 billion culture forming units per gram, this is a super vibrant fermentation mix. Unlike many other cultures, this product is completely free of dairy, sugar, gluten, soy, casein, yeast, artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, preservatives or genetically modified ingredients. Other brands of culture can also fizzle in strength over time. Avellana cultures retain their effectiveness like few other products on the market.  To retain maximum effectiveness, keep the culture sealed and refrigerated.

If you want the best results, you need to start with the best ingredients, and the culture you use is foundational to success.

Ingredients: 

  • Lactobacillus bulgaricus
  • Streptococcus thermophilus
  • Lactobacilus acidophilus
  • Lactobacilus lactis
  • Bifidobacterium lactis

Directions: Add a tiny pinch (one blue scoop or .01-.02 gram) of culture to one quart of milk of your choice. You will think it can’t be enough, but it is! Stir and ferment at around 100 degrees for 8-10 hours or until milk thickens into yogurt. The two gram package pictured above will make 100 quarts of final product if directions are followed.

Tips:

Some non-dairy milks will thicken better than others because of the nature of their proteins. Some may separate into curd and “whey.” You can still eat the yogurt if it separates. Some recipes will require removal of the extra liquid.

Test your fermentation station before you get started! It’s important that you have a strong enough and consistent enough heat source to culture your dairy free milks. Get a thermometer gauge (available online or at any hardware store) and test your station to be sure you can keep your temperature consistent.

Avellana Vegan Cultures

A super potent culturing mix for making dairy free yogurts and cheeses. (Cost includes shipping.)

$12.00

Would you like to order from Canada? Click here:

Avellana Vegan Cultures CANADIAN SHIPPING OPTION

A super potent culturing mix for making dairy free yogurts and cheeses. (Cost includes shipping TO CANADA)

$13.25

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DIY Fermentation Station

One important thing you are going to need in order to make cultured non-dairy foods at home is a fermentation station. You will need a place that safely gets predictably hot for a consistent length of time. You can do this really cheaply or quite expensively. I’m putting pictures and links here, but I am NOT affiliated with any of the companies listed. I’ve done some research and am jotting down some ideas that I’ve never tried.

You will also need a reliable thermometer to measure the temperatures in your station.

Oven-Many of the newer ovens have a temperature setting that will go down to 100 degrees. You will need to make sure that the setting matches the actual temperature in the oven (my oven is suuuuuper old and doesn’t match) but I have heard multiple folks say they can use their oven to ferment cheese and yogurt.

Crock pot-If you turn it on low and leave the lid off, some crock pots will hold around 100 degrees. Test it first by filling it with water and checking the temperature of the water after an hour or so.

Instapot-If you’ve spoken to another human being in the last 6 months, you’ve probably heard about the Instapot. You can make yogurt in these easily, though they are on the pricey side. I’ve never used one personally, but I would definitely get one, if I didn’t already have a pressure cooker and a crock pot and a yogurt maker.

Light bulb in the oven-I tried the light bulb in the oven trick, but my oven only got to 80 degrees. This is hot enough to culture non-dairy milks a little bit, but will not do the job completely. Soy yogurt will remain runny-ish. I used a 53 watt eco-bulb, and my stove is made in the 1930’s. If you want to try this one with a higher watt bulb in a newer, more airtight oven, you may be able to hit 100 degrees.

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Heating Pad in a box-This method worked great for me. I got a wine box from Trader Joe’s (not too big) and I wrapped it in a chenille blanket. I put the pad on high and it stayed at 100 degrees for many hours.

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Yogurt Maker-I’ve found yogurt makers at Goodwill, but you can also pick them up new pretty cheap online. I dislike many of the yogurt makers available because I make bulk amounts of yogurt and often these makers only fit small jars. There are exceptions to this rule, however, like the one I linked to above, which apparently comes with a component for thickening the yogurt as well!

Brød and Taylor-I have a Brod and Taylor and it works great, though it is expensive. It will fit massive amounts of milk for culturing and the temperature is adjustable.

Dehydrator-dehydrators can be made to reach low temperatures for long periods of time. I haven’t used one for this purpose, but I’m told that the Excalibur can be used for yogurt and cheese making purposes.

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Sad and Happy News

Avellana is sad to announce that we will no longer be producing cheese for resale. The happy news is that we are switching to an educational model! We are presently hard at work on a recipe booklet that reveals all of our trade secrets. We would like to thank out loyal customer base. You all are the very best and have made this trip an excellent and educational experience. Stay tuned for more news!

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Summer Zucchini “Pasta” Recipe

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It’s zucchini season! Here’s a delicious recipe that utilizes a ton of zucchini and it’s very easy too. We used spring chanterelles picked in coastal Pacific Northwest, but other mushrooms can be substituted with no problems-easy to access crimini or Portobello or shitake are delicious as well.

Ingredients

One giant zucchini (or four medium or 8 small)

¼ teaspoon salt

8 oz sliced mushrooms

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 cups spaghetti sauce

½ c chopped fresh basil

kalamata olives for garnish

Avellana Creamery hazelnut Parmesan

Directions

  1. Slice or spiralize your zucchini into long thin strips. I left the skins on.
  2. Toss the noodles with salt and put them in a colander to drain for thirty minutes or so. If you don’t have time to drain the zucchini you can strain out the extra water after you’ve cooked it and its fine, though your noodles might be a little less crunchy. You may actually need to drain them anyway, depending.
  3. Put the spaghetti sauce on low heat to warm up.
  4. Next heat a large skillet. If you’re using chanterelles you’ll need to dry sauté them, sauté them with no oil, to cook out the water they hold. If you’re using crimini you should add a tablespoon of oil and start with the mushrooms.
  5. I peeled and sliced the garlic and put it in next, then the zucchini noodles. I cooked everything until the noodles were al dente, which was around 3-4 minutes on high heat, stirring regularly then removed from heat. (Here’s where you may need to strain any extra water that’s cooked out of the zucchini.)
  6. Plate up your noodles, making sure to place the mushrooms throughout, put spaghetti sauce on top (to taste), and garnish with chopped basil, kalamata olives, and Avellana Parmesan.
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New Product! Avellana Fiesta No-Bean Mix

IMG_4805Avellana handcrafted Fiesta No-Bean Mix has many different possibilities for spicing up your meals. It can be used as: a dip for chips or crackers, a delicious sandwich spread, in place of refried beans in tacos or enchiladas and as a base for soups. Because it’s a dry mix, Avellana Fiesta No-Bean Mix is perfect for camping and back-packing, tiny houses, traveling, lunches, potlucks or a quick snack. Low in carbohydrates, high in protein and fiber, this hazelnut dip is healthy, affordable and convenient as well as delicious.

You can find our No-Bean Mix here at

Veganessentials.com

It is also available at Vegan Haven in Seattle and more stores soon to come!

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New Formulation!

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We have an exciting announcement!! Avellana Signature Cheeses have a new name and a new ingredient: Avellana Hemp and Hazelnut Signature Vegan Cheese! We’re super excited about the shift because it makes our cheeses SO MUCH MORE AWESOME. The body of our cheese is now firmer, less oily, and more beautiful while maintaining our usual unique Avellana flavor. Using fresh milk made from organic hemp seeds together with fresh hazelnut milk makes for a creamy, slightly nutty and ridiculously delicious vegan cheese.

Hemp seeds are a well-balanced and easy to digest vegan protein source that includes all of the essential amino acids. Hemp has many other benefits including antioxidants and minerals, abundant fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins and omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids. Hemp seeds are arguably the most nutritious seed in the world making them a hearty and healthy addition to our Signature cheeses. Best of all, hemp seed is incredibly eco-friendly, requiring less water, fertilizers, and land than other plants used for similar purposes.

We’re counting the days until we can use Oregon organic hempseeds, but in the meantime our organic hemp hearts are still grown in the Pacific Northwest Canadian province of British Columbia. Give it a try and let us know what you think! Saving animals and protecting our environment has never been so delicious.

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Pasta Primavera with Creamy Avellana Cheese Sauce

IMG_4041There are many uses for Avellana cheese aside from putting it on crackers and bread. This evening I used a block of Italian herb to make a delicious, rich and creamy sauce for pasta primavera. Here’s how I did it.Italian Herb fb

What you need:

• One block of Italian herb Avellana cheese (available for purchase at VeganEssentials.com)

• a few cloves of garlic

• vegetables good for roasting (I used cauliflower, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and yellow squash)

• salt

• 1.5 C Eden soy milk or another high quality non-dairy milk. (You can use less for a thicker sauce.)

•one package of fettuccine pasta

IMG_3920 First, Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Then, cook the fettuccine al dente and set aside. Do put a dash of salt in the water, it shortens boiling time and makes the noodles more flavorful. IMG_3928 Chop up the vegetables, drizzle olive oil and salt to taste, then roast the vegetables in the oven for about 10 minutes total. I like the cauliflower and garlic to get a little browned so I put it in first for about five minutes and add the squash, asparagus, and tomatoes for the last five minutes. IMG_3935 IMG_3951 While the vegetables are roasting, pour soy milk into a saucepan (use less soy milk for a thicker sauce). Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. I use coconut, but the type isn’t super important. You can also use a different type of milk, but the vinegar is used to curdle the protein, so it will need to be a good, high quality non-dairy milk. Non-dairy milk that has been highly processed and diluted with additives will not thicken. Eden unsweetened is my favorite commercial soy milk. IMG_3959 You can see it thicken up right way as you pour the vinegar in and whisk it. Curdled milk has a MUCH higher flavor range and is creamier than uncurdled milk. I’ve never tried to curdle coconut milk, so I’m not sure how that works. IMG_3967 Add the block of Avellana Signature Italian Herb Cheese and continue to whisk until smooth and creamy. (Tip-You can heat this up a little to speed up the whisking, but heat is not necessary and will reduce the amount of probiotics in the finished product.) IMG_3998 Place your noodles in a bowl, toss some roasted vegetables on top, then pour a little creamy sauce over everything and you’re good to go! You can decorate your final dish with a little smoked paprika or leave it as is. IMG_4016  YUM!IMG_4026

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Introducing Avellana Currant Hazelnut Cheese!

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We have an extra special treat for you today. One of our BEST flavors yet! Avellana Currant Hazelnut Cheese is a true winning combination…The currant may be small, but it’s flavor is mighty and it blends with hazelnut cream like a dream. It’s a little bit tart and a little bit sweet and a whole lot divine…try it on crackers or toast with fresh fruit for a truly etheric experience. Available now online at VeganEssentials.com and in our Eugene and Portland stores.

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Avellana Morel Poppers

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You’re going to need to sit down for this. But you won’t be for very long after your first bite. My first bite got me up and dancing around the living room in ecstatic food bliss. I promise, you will not be disappointed by the results of this combination of flavors, it’s at the very least magnificent.

Morrel picked 17

Here’s what you need:

Some morel mushrooms- It’s springtime in Oregon, and you know what that means….morel season! We had a great time going out and finding our own, but if you’re not mushroom savvy or don’t have the time, many grocery stores that carry local produce will often have fresh morels for sale. We used about 2 cups worth for this recipe

  • 1 cup Gluten free tempura
  • Faux egg replacer (two eggs worth)
  • Avellana Signature cheese

Morrels tempura 123 cropped

Making these poppers is actually quite easy… put about a cup of gluten free tempura flour (I used this one, which is pretty good) in a quart size ziplock bag. Mix up two faux eggs using Ener-G egg replacer (one T egg replacer and five T water).

Morrel split 39

Brush or wipe any dirt off the mushrooms and carefully split them down one side. Fill each mushroom with as much creamy Avellana signature cheese as would comfortably fit inside the hollow centers. It was surprising how little of the block it actually took. I used our spicy Berbere, but you could use any flavor you like best.

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Then, dip them in the egg replacer, put them in the bag, and shake it up. I like a thicker breading on my mushrooms, so I repeated the egg replacer dip and the bag shake to get a good coating. You could do it up to three times, but it gets a little messy by the third time.

Morrels tempura 102 adjusted

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Put a good amount of oil into a skillet and fry them for a minute or two on each side, until they get to the right crispy-ness. Here’s an image of the popper cut open showing the delicious layer combination of Avellana Signature Cheese, morel mushroom and crispy tempura.

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Oh My Goodness- too good! I tell ya, too good! Wow! They may look a little funny, but what a beautiful taste!