Q. I have chlorinated city water. Do I have to buy distilled water for dissolving my rennet and for adding moisture to my cave?
A. If your water is simply chlorinated, all you have to do is allow the water to sit in an open pot overnight and the chlorine should de-gas and the water will be fine to use.
However, if you call the water department and find out that your water is chlorimated, which has added ammonia, you will need to buy non-chlorinated water; spring water would be fine, it does not have to be distilled.
Liquid Rennet: Animal vs. Vegetable
A. The main component in all of our rennet is an enzyme called chymosin. This is what causes the proteins in the milk to come together and form a curd.
Both the animal and vegetable rennet are standardized so they will always be the same strength batch to batch. The vegetable rennet is from a microbial (vegetative) source and the animal commonly comes from a calf. The vegetable rennet is double strength and the animal is single-strength.
Weak Substitute for Rennet
Q. It's hard for me to get rennet in the Philippines. I've heard papain could be a substitute for rennet. I also read that bromelain, made from pineapple, may also work. Our local store-bought meat tenderizer (looks like salt) is either papain or bromelain, can this powder can be used as a rennet substitute for cheese making?
A. Although these are all enzymes that react with proteins, similar to rennet (chymosin), they do not all behave the same way. They each break the proteins at different bonding points so the end results are different. The extract from papaya, pineapple, fig, etc., as well as some other plants like thistle, will cause a certain degree of coagulation, but these will not make a firm set like rennet. These extracts have been known to be used for certain soft cheeses that are consumed in a matter of days, but not for a firm or aged cheeses.