What is rennet?
Rennet is a set of enzymes that is used in the cheesemaking process.
What is rennet's role in making cheese?
Rennet causes milk to coagulate, beginning the process of separating the solid curd from the liquid whey. Cheesemakers start the process of making cheese by introducing bacteria to milk that converts lactose to lactic acid. Rennet is then added to coagulate the milk. The enzymes in rennet cause the casein proteins in milk to cling together, forming a solid curd and trapping the fats and minerals in the milk that are essential for making cheese.
What is rennet made from?
Historically, rennet was harvested from the stomach lining of young cows, sheep, and goats, and many cheeses today are still made with this type of animal rennet. Cheesemakers also use rennet made from vegetable and microbial sources, as well as rennet that is genetically modified from animal enzymes and can be produced at a larger scale.
What is rennet cheese vs. non-rennet cheese?
Rennet cheese uses rennet to coagulate the milk, while non-rennet cheese uses other ingredients such as vinegar, lemon, or other acidic substances.