What is rennet?
A substance that includes the enzyme rennin, which has the ability to coagulate milk into curd for cheesemaking. Rennet comes in liquid, tablet, paste and powder forms. Animal-derived rennet comes from the fourth stomach of a milk fed calf. Vegetable-derived rennet is a microbial rennet that contains no animal products. Animal Rennet is considered to be single strength rennet. Microbial/Vegetable Rennet is considered to be double strength rennet
Diluting Your Rennet
Always dilute rennet (liquid, powder or tablet) in cool, non chlorinated water before adding it to the ripened milk. 1/4 cup is sufficient for 1-2 gallons of milk. If rennet is not diluted, it will be unevenly distributed in the milk, which could produce a faulty curd.
- Powdered Rennet: let rennet sit for 30 minutes in the water, stirring occasionally, to completely dissolve it before use.
- Tablet Rennet: crush it with the back of a spoon and let sit for about 10 to 30 minutes in the water to completely dissolve before use.
- Liquid Rennet: add to advised unchlorinated water dilution and mix before use.
Adding Your Rennet Solution to Milk
When adding your diluted rennet to your milk, try to pour slowly as to avoid any splash back. Once the solution is in your milk, stir slowly from the bottom of the pot to the top, to ensure that your rennet is mixed in and distributed evenly throughout the milk. Then, Let the rennet sit still- After adding rennet, do not disturb the milk solution for the advised amount of time, as instructed in your recipe. Stirring at this stage will cause severe loss of butterfat, and break the bonds forming between protein molecules and they will not rejoin, thus producing a weak curd.
Our Rennet Options
Is Paste rennet the same as liquid rennet? Yes and no. The paste specified rennet contains the natural lipase enzymes from the animal. This produces the higher sharp flavor in many Italian cheeses. The liquid animal rennet lacks this component.
- Animal (R7) - This single strength liquid animal rennet is the highest quality form of rennet available on the U.S. market today and is NON-GMO. Liquid rennet is easy to measure and add to milk, which makes it a favorite for both beginner and advanced cheese makers alike.
- Organic Calf Rennet Paste (R10) - This organic calf rennet paste (Dolce) by WalcoRen is a NON-GMO, pure natural calf rennet paste that is based on the production of traditional rennet paste.
- Organic Kid Rennet Paste (R12) - This organic kid rennet paste (Piccante) by WalcoRen is a NON-GMO, pure natural goat rennet paste that is based on the production of traditional rennet paste. This rennet can be used to make aged cheese where goat lipase is desired for the development of typical ripening flavors. Mixtures of milk, or pure cow milk, also work well with this rennet.
- Organic Lamb Rennet Paste (R11) - This organic lamb rennet paste (Semi Piccante) by WalcoRen is a non-GMO, pure natural lamb rennet paste that is based on the production of traditional rennet paste. This rennet can be used to make aged cheese where sheep lipase is desired for the development of typical ripening flavors. Mixtures of milk, or pure cow milk, also work well with this rennet.
- Natural Vegetable (R9) - This double strength liquid vegetable rennet contains no animal products, is NON-GMO and gluten free. Liquid rennet is easy to measure and add to milk, which makes it a favorite for both beginner and advanced cheese makers alike.
- Thistle (R8) - This liquid thistle rennet (cardoon) is a NON-GMO, 100% flower extract rennet, made in the USA from thistle (Cynara cardunculus). Thistle rennet is commonly used in Spain and Portugal to make small scale, artisanal cheese with sheep and goat milk including Ibores.
- Chymosin (R2) - CHY-MAX® is a double strength, NON-GMO, gluten free pure chymosin rennet produced by submerged fermentation on a vegetable substrate. This rennet can be used for producing any type of cheese; hard, semi-hard, soft, mold-ripened, low-fat and ingredient cheeses.
- Tablet Vegetable Rennet (R4) - These vegetable rennet tablets contain no animal products, are gluten free and NON-GMO. Each tablet is scored into 4 segments, making it easy to break into smaller amounts for home cheese making.
Non Vegetarian/ Traditional
- Tablet Animal Rennet (R3) - These organic animal rennet tablets from WalcoRen are NON-GMO. Each tube contains 80 tablets for 1 gallon of milk each, making it easy for home cheese making.
- Powdered Calf Rennet (R13) - This organic powdered calf rennet by WalcoRen is NON-GMO.
Where do I store rennet?: Liquid and Paste rennet should be stored in the refrigerator. Tablet, and Powdered rennet should be stored in the freezer.
I left my rennet out! Have I ruined it?: Rennet requires very specific storing temperatures. Although forgiving in transit, we always recommend testing your rennet’s viability before potentially wasting any milk.
Will rennet past it’s best by date make me sick? No, rennet does not go bad in a way that makes you sick, rather it loses its viability over time, and becomes less effective.
How long should I stir my rennet solution after pouring it into my milk?: Evenly stir your rennet into your milk in an up and down motion, to ensure its equal distribution. Continue stirring for no more than 30 second.
Can any other rennet on your website be substituted equally for your recipes that call for the animal rennet? Yes, All of the rennets are interchangeable.You would follow the directions on the rennet for the amount to use per gallon of milk in your recipe.
What is the safe working temperature for adding rennet to your milk? This rennet works best when added to milk that has been heated to 90F (32C). If the milk is too hot, the enzyme will be damaged, and if the milk is too cool, the enzyme will not fully activate and your curd will be slow to set, or may not form at all.
How is this vegetarian rennet derived? Our Liquid Vegetable Rennet is microbial (enzyme produced by the fermentation of the fungal specie Rhizomucor miehei.) If you are looking for a plant based rennet, we do carry Thistle Rennet.