"Say Cheese!" is heard seldom in our daily lives. After all, cheese makes us smile! This delicious yet intricate dish makes everything better. However, many people think that you have to give up Cheese when you want to go vegetarian. Although, that is not always necessarily true.
One of the most commonly asked questions is, "does mozzarella cheese have rennet?" The question is mostly striking amid aspiring vegetarians. We're here to tell you you can have cheese without Rennet, the component made from animal fat. While mozzarella cheese does have Rennet, you can still enjoy an alternative version.
Hence, without any further ado, let’s look further into rennet and how you can avoid consuming it.
What is Rennet?
Rennet is an agent that help to coagulating Cheese. Metabolites in milk like glutamate, creatinine, or choline along with rennet help the protein to coagulate and make cheese.
However, why is Rennet non-vegetarian? The main reason is, Rennet is derived from the fourth stomach lining of a newborn calf. It can also come from cows and goats. The newborn calves have an enzyme called Chymosin. Rennet comes from this specific enzyme. Chymosin helps a calf to suckle on their mother's milk and help indigestion.
Hence, in the preparation of extracting Rennet, animals are hurt. Some may even die. Therefore, the entire procedure makes it non-vegetarian. Chymosin extraction can kill a newborn calf as it restricts its absorption process.
You can find out whether or not a cheese has Rennet by simply checking the ingredients. The ingredients will say it contains animal fat, enzymes, or animal enzymes.
What Cheese Doesn't Contain Rennet?
Although Rennet is popular in the cheese industry, some cheeses don't require using Rennet. Most hard cheeses such as parmesan, cheddar, pecorino romano, and more come through Rennet. However, many kinds of cheese such as cream cheese, Ricotta, swiss Cheese, provolone, and more don't need Rennet.
However, you can also enjoy the kinds of cheese which previously included Rennet. The reason for this is the revolutionary vegetarian Rennet. The vegetarian substitutes for Rennet have different options.
The Rennet used in Cheese has only one objective- curd the milk and coagulate the milk proteins to form Cheese. Hence, you can use different non-animal derived options to form the Cheese. Let's discuss some vegetarian rennet options below.
Vegetable rennet is the easiest Rennet to make at home. Nowadays, it's used widely in commercial spaces as well. Vegetable rennet comes from plants that have the ability to cur the milk and thicken it.
You can make vegetable rennet from plant enzymes. Some plants that release vegetarian-friendly Rennet are ivy, dried caper leaves, fig juice, wild thistles, safflower, and more.
Making this type of Rennet requires the use of bacteria and fungi. Before being fermented, enzymes come from bacteria and fungi.
The cost of microbial Rennet is the cheapest. However, the taste of microbial Rennet isn't all that great. The aftertaste includes a bitter feeling which ruins most of the cheesy goodness in the dish.
Genetically engineered Rennet
Genetically engineered Rennet gives the closest taste of real Cheese made from animal enzymes. In this process, the calf's stomach lining DNA is taken and mixed with the DNA of bacteria and yeast.
To form Chymosin, the DNA goes through rendering. The process is FPC to GMO conversion. Fermentation-produced chymosin (FPC) doesn't harm animals in the process. It's also suitable for vegetarians.
Nowadays, it's the most popular form of chymosin production and cheap as well.
How To Know if Your Cheese is Vegetarian
The more popular brands nowadays use vegetarian substitutes for Rennet. In this way, anyone can consume the cheese. The cheeses, which are FDA approved for vegetarians, you'll find under the ingredients section. The vegetarian cheeses have ingredients such as "vegetarian enzymes," "vegetable rennet," "non-animal enzymes," or "microbial enzymes."
You can find it easily under the ingredients list. The plant-based enzymes work as great as the real ones. If the manufacturers didn’t tell you the cheeses are made from plant-based enzymes, you wouldn't know the difference.
Vegetarian Cheese is inspired all across the world. It utilizes plants, and it's completely cruelty-free. Next time you have Cheese, you won't experience a guilt trip about any animal being hurt in the process.
The enzymes that are extracted in a plant-based way don't always give a consistent result. However, over time and practice, you can perfect it.
Plant or vegetable rennet is occasionally produced by soaking plants above to extract an enzyme similar to animal rennet. In contrast, microbial Rennet is recovered from specific rennet-like fungi in a laboratory setting.
Parmesan is one cheese that may be difficult to come by in a vegetarian-friendly form. According to the European Union legislation, you cannot term a cheese as Parmigiano-Reggiano unless it includes a calf's Rennet. On the other hand, products merely branded Parmesan may be produced using vegetarian Rennet.
However, when you eat outside, things may be different. Unless a restaurant specifies that they're using plant-based cheese, you should presume they're using animal-based cheese. However, there's no harm in asking them when you book a reservation.
At Pizza Bien, we're 100% vegetarian friendly and use authentic Neapolitan baking styles. Hence, you can be free of worries when you order our delicious pizzas!
Rennet Free Cheeses
There are a few soft kinds of Cheese that don't require extensive curdling, nor Rennet. Hence, the safer option when you want to buy authentic rennet-free cheese, you should opt for vegetarian-friendly cheeses.
Adding different coagulation factors can produce curdling in Rennet-free cheeses. Vinegar, lemon juice, bacteria from lactic acid, and more are added to milk. The milk then reacts and curds, forming soft cheesy goodness made without Rennet.
The following cheeses are safe to consume most of the time for vegetarians.
Like many other types of cheese, authentic mozzarella uses animal rennet, a substance obtained from the stomach lining of young animals that have not yet been weaned.
Many vegetarians and lactose intolerants cannot consume mozzarella and a variety of other classic European cheeses due to this restriction.
If you're wondering does mozzarella cheese have Rennet, the answer is both yes and no. You can pick an animal-based or plant-based mozzarella.
In contrast, rennet-free mozzarella cheese has a mild flavor and a soft texture ideal for creating panini or pizzas.
Aside from having the right balance of tanginess and saltiness, Frigo cheese also has the perfect fat. Both of these varieties of mozzarella cheese don't require Rennet.
Cottage cheese is a kind of fresh cheese distinguished by its tiny curds and mildly flavorful and creamy flavor. Today, however, there are additional types available that contain medium or big curds as well.
It also happens to be a protein powerhouse. Cottage cheese, which contains up to 15 g of protein per half-cup serving, is an excellent source of protein.
Cream cheese is a mild version with a neutral flavor. It comes from cow's milk and cream. The delicate sweetness, moderate tanginess, and silky smooth texture make it very versatile. Toss it into your bagel spread, incorporate it into cookie dough or cake batter, or use it as a foundation for your following creamy frosting recipe.
Cream cheese, a favorite of the ketogenic community, is a safe bet for vegetarians. It's free of Rennet in general unless mentioned.
Ricotta curds have a creamy white look and a somewhat sweet flavor that compliments other cheeses. The amount of fat in the milk varies based on the kind of milk consumed. In this form, it has a reasonably similar texture to certain cottage cheese variations, but it is much lighter in weight. It has a concise shelf life.
Additionally, Ricotta offers several unexpected health advantages, in addition to being decadently creamy. For starters, it has a high concentration of whey protein, which is one of the most readily absorbed and used types of protein. It does not include Rennet in general. Hence, you can enjoy Ricotta without any worries!
Curdled milk and some fruit or vegetable acid, such as lemon juice, make paneer (Indian Cheese). Paneer has several characteristics that distinguish it from other cheeses: Mild Cheese with a mild flavor.
When combined with spicy solid flavors found in many traditional Indian recipes, paneer has a gentle, milky flavor and a thick, crumbly texture that works well. Because it does not melt like other cheeses, pieces of it may be added to soups or curries without melting and yet retain its integrity.
One of the most popular reasons that keep people from turning their diet vegetarian is the fear of not eating cheese. However, it doesn't have to be that way. Most cheeses don't have Rennet. You can find substitutes for the ones that do.
Therefore, we hope by now you're well aware of different kinds of cheeses and their vegetarian friendliness. Till the next time, happy feasting!
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