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Whatchoogot? I'm skeeved out by the source of traditional rennet and would prefer an alternative if I'm to make my own cheese. I'm a complete newby, but am thinking about gifting home made mozzarella for the holidays.

Tags: rennet, vegetarian

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Cornelia,
Mozzarella, in my experience, needs rennet to do it's thing.
However, you can make soft cheeses like chevre' and fromage blanc without the addition of rennet using direct set 'bacterial' starter cultures. They are easy and fast. Instant gratification, you might say, in a cheesy way ;)( And I have to say, from experience, tiny chevre rounds rolled in fresh chopped herbs makes a gift that is not soon forgotten)
The right milk is also another matter...farm fresh milk is best, pasteurized yourself. Utra-pasteurized and homogenized milk from the store just will not work, regardless if it's organic or not. It's basically a lifeless product.
I order my direct set cultures from cheesemaking.com...Rikki Carroll's book HomeCheesemaking might answer some of your 'skeevy' questions...or call or email her through the website. She is very accessible. Oh and she does sell a variety of organic vegetable rennet products (liquid, powder, tablets) check it out!

Susan
I typically order from New England Cheesemaking at cheesemaking dot com, they have the best prices . I started out with Ricki's cheesemaking kit for making mozzerella and it was so easy I've been making it every week for pizza night.
Whoo hoo! Mozzarella kit ordered - thank you!

Fostermamas said:
I typically order from New England Cheesemaking at cheesemaking dot com, they have the best prices . I started out with Ricki's cheesemaking kit for making mozzerella and it was so easy I've been making it every week for pizza night.
OK, as I eagerly await the arrival of my kit, I'm wondering if anyone has ever added stuff to their mozzarella during the "stretching" part. Herbs? Nuts? Or what about adding something to the milk after pasteurizing - wasabi? um, maple syrup?...Am I insane and messing with perfection? I might just tinker up a few batches and report back here.
Chuckles and ridicule welcome. Stories of your own cheese tinkering are much appreciated.
I've added some dried basil. Mmm MMm tasty!
~~Herbs? Nuts? Or what about adding something to the milk after pasteurizing - wasabi? um, maple syrup?...Am I insane and messing with perfection?~~

No chuckles, you're just a cheez maverick.... ;)
Guess I'll dig my mozzarella kit out, too. Got it and didn't use it yet, because her quick method recommends using a microwave and that just seems counterintuitive to me...Guess I'll try the long version.
I've used simple vinegar to curdle cheese. Some Hindus taught me this, the result is kind of like a mild white melting cheese, real simple, real easy to make. Just heat a gallon of milk to near boiling then add a quarter cup vinegar. Separate with a cheesecloth, press all the liquid out. It's ready to eat without aging.
OK - back from vacation and ready to report on my first mozzarella making experience:
I was able to find raw milk at the Lebanon, NH Food Co-Op (the best grocery store in the world IMHO), so I pasteurized my own. Sadly, I failed to see that it was LOW FAT raw milk, so that definitely made a difference.
I am amazed at how EASY the process was! The directions say that cheesemaking is art and science, so I honored my inclination to go with what the cheese was telling me (what, food doesn't talk to YOU?). Stretching the curds - once they come together - is an excellent way to burn the crap out of one's fingers, so I'll opt for gloves next time. I didn't add anything fancy - just a pinch of salt - and the flavor was very mild and creamy. A half-gallon of raw, low-fat milk made two respectably-sized balls 0 cheese.The texture was a bit...squeaky. So next time I'll tweak with the full fat milk and see if that's the difference.
Trepidation is nil! Cheesemaking intimidation - eliminated. Onward and upward into the cheesy heavens I go!!!
Next up with the Ricki's Cheesemaking kit - mozzarella for homemade lasagna - one of my many hand made holiday gifts for the busy working parents/brother/sister-in-law.

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