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I want to make some homemade mozzeralla and I know that I need rennet but I am at a loss at how to obtain it. I also don't know which type I need out of the artifical or natural. Is there a way to make it for myself? My searches are turning up conflicting information and I am a little lost in the woods here.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The easiest way where I live to get rennet is to buy Junket tablets at the grocery store. If they have it it's near the ice cream toppings. You can buy it online from the company. It's very cheap and although not 100% pure rennet it works just fine for the variety of cheeses I have made. The box of tablets comes with reliable recipes for a variety of cheeses and ice cream.

Online cheese making suppliers can sell you "higher quality" rennet that is much more expensive. This may make sense for you- especially if you are buying from them anyway for specialized bacteria or mold to make a particular cheese like swiss, etc. I can't recommend one in particular but they are easy to find.

You can make your own. I wouldn't recommend it. Rennet is an enzyme used by calves to digest their mother's milk. Historically, when a calf was slaughtered the correct stomach (I believe the first) would be chopped up and soaked for some time in water. The stomach was then removed and the water with dissolved rennet would be used to make cheese.

If you have access to a calf and have a tougher constitution than I you could certainly try this.

Nowadays rennet is mostly recombinantly produced. For those opposed to our genetically-modified-bacteria-friends non-recombinant rennet can be found. Vegetarian rennet derived from vegetables or mold with similar properties is also available. Recombinant is, of course, much less expensive.

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3  
+1 for knowing the oh-so-yummy origin of rennet. You have to wonder what joker figured that out...It doesn't work if the calf has had real food at any point. –  Satanicpuppy Oct 16 '10 at 0:09
    
@Satanicpuppy - instead of boiling a kid in it's mothers milk, someone must have stored the milk in the stomach of the formally nursing animal - possibly in a warm desert environment - in the days before glass or plastic bottles. –  OpenID-test2 Jun 15 '11 at 2:40
    
Stomachs (and bladders) were commonly used for storage of liquids in antiquity, so that explanation of rennet's discovery rings true. A lot of dairying processes were probably discovered in gross ways; I picture people saying (in whatever language they used in Sumeria) "ewww, that's all clumpy and smells weird... but I'm so hungry I might as well eat it!" –  BobMcGee Sep 3 '11 at 16:29
    
You don't need to store milk in a stomach to make this discovery. If you slaughter a calf, milk will be in its stomach, right? Apparently it was a Roman delicacy to poach the innards with their partly-digested milk in place. It's a short step from that to getting fresh milk and exposing it to the saved raw stomach a few times to make the same creamy stuff. –  Kate Gregory Jun 13 at 14:29

I've gotten Junket rennet tablets from a popular mail-order supplier with free shipping if you order totals over $25 dollars. Probably not cheaper than local, but I've had no luck shopping locally.

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A few sites online, but i usually buy liquid rennet on E-Bay

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Maybe you'd care to cite the sites? –  BobMcGee Sep 3 '11 at 16:23
    
While this link may answer the question, it is better to include the essential parts of the answer here and provide the link for reference. Link-only answers can become invalid if the linked page changes. –  KatieK Oct 7 '12 at 0:56

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