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Cheese making confusion - sources of rennet?  RSS feed

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Experienced cheese makers please help me out.

I want to buy rennet and so far I can’t find any sources to buy rennet that I am comfortable with. Here are my ‘issues’:

1. Animal rennet in the U.S. will most certainly come from factory farmed animals – I won’t buy that.

2. Vegetarian rennet is apparently a genetically modified product, starting in the 1990s. Used in most American cheeses and a large percentage of cheeses in Great Britain. What did they use before the 1990s? And where can I find that?

3. Many European countries ban the GMO rennet and apparently Denmark actually makes one cheese for use in country and another cheese using an inferior rennet for exporting to the U.S.. Where can I get the rennet that the European countries use? (the ones who ban GMOs)

4. Finally, is all animal rennet made from veal calves?


 
Fred Morgan
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Try here http://www.cheesemaking.com/cheeserennets.html

They have organic rennet.

 
Fred Morgan
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By the way Jeanine, something to think about regarding veal (really, just calf), rennet. You can't have milk, without having calves (i.e. cows don't give milk, if they don't give birth). Half of them will be male (roughly) and they are going to either be killed or raised as steers - usually if from milk cows, just killed.

A milk cow will live 7 to 9 years when in production (normally butchered after that due to drop off in milk) - figure they had at least 4 to 8 birthings in that time period - which means, if you don't slaughter some of them, the world will be ankle deep in manure in a short period of time. Which is also why male calves of milk cows are considered pretty much worthless.

If you accept cheese, is animal rennet really that bad? You can't have milk, without butchering male calves.

Not wanting to debate nor question your beliefs, just talking the circle of life here, as relates to milk production.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Fred, my opposition to veal stems from feeding calves at a cousins dairy farm when I was little. We played with the calves and bottle fed them. Then it was explained to me that veal came from calves that were not allowed to move - they were confined to boxes to keep the meat tender and were not allowed outside to play and graze like the calves at my cousins farm. That was around 1969 and I haven't touched veal since.

I do eat meat I am just very particular about how it is raised and slaughtered. So if I cannot find animal products that I am certain receive the same care as the animals that I raise at home for meat and eggs then I just go with out.

As a matter of fact I haven't eaten beef for some years now but I have considered getting a calf from a friends farm to feed and slaughter here at home but we just haven't made time or provisions for that at this point.
 
Joe Braxton
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Off topic I know, but I know a fellow who makes a really good income from raising dairy calves into steers. The dairies sell the male, 1 day old calves for about $20. Then you have to bottle feed them till weaned. After that its just fatten up and sell. Lots of work, little $$ input, and good $$ return. Most times he will have 15 - 20 somewhere along in the process.
 
Fred Morgan
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Jeanine,

I know where you are coming from on veal. I don't like the young of much of anything. I like them to grow up and get ugly, first. lol

Even when we had sheep, I didn't eat lamb. Too darn cute. Sheep on the other hand usually irritated me so much I was glad to butcher them...

 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Thanks for the link Fred. I just ordered the beginners mozzarella and ricotta kit. It has the non GMO vegetable rennet tablets. I figured the kit would be a good start and then I'll go from there after I see how the first batch turns out.
 
Fred Morgan
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Making cheese is fun - I have Artisan Cheese Making at Home, an excellent book

http://www.artisancheesemakingathome.com/

Once you understand what is happening, it sure does help in knowing what you can skip.

I tend to make farmer cheddar, and then ricotta from the whey every Saturday from 2 gallons of goat milk. Last Saturday, I made a soft cheese which was wonderful in a veggie lasagna.

We get a couple of gallons of milk a day from three goats, which keeps us awash in milk for coffee, cottage cheese, yogurt and hard cheese, even after sharing some of the milk with our caretaker!
 
John Polk
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Thanks for those links. Here is a handy one page 'tutorial' that also has some useful links:

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese_course/Cheese_course.htm

 
Danny Boosten
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Hello jeanine

I am a vegetarian and have made some cheese at home with some lemons that is the easiest i think
for soft fresh cheeses
or if you can get fresh milk just leave it a few days and it wil start by it self
i wanted to try to make real cheese i mean what you can keep longer but i havent figured that out my self

Good luck
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Reporting back on the cheesemaking: I ordered the beginners kit that Fred gave a link to above http://www.cheesemaking.com/cheeserennets.html

and it was SOOO easy; made wonderful mozzarella and now I want to make more.

I really shouldn't be eating cheese but I know I'm going to anyway ----- so I buy local raw milk and, so far make mozzarella that I keep in the freezer for an occasional treat.

For beginners like me I highly recommend the beginners kit from this company - follow the directions exactly, use the best quality milk you can find, and I think you will be happy with the results.

BTW, the beginners kit supplies enough to make 40 batches of mozzarella.
 
Rion Mather
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I tried cheesemaking for the first time this year when I made a basic Mexican crumbly cheese. I'm hooked. I was eyeing a monterey jack recipe last week. Go for it, Jeanine!
 
Fred Morgan
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Another thing, learn to make ricotta from the leftover whey. You have never had ricotta till you make it fresh yourself, and I use limes for acid to help it curdle.
 
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