ISO rennet: another exercise in futility

summary: searching for rennet in Toronto

We are so miffed about the quality (or lack thereof) of commercially produced mozzarella that we thought we’d try making it ourselves. After all, the ricotta cheese we’ve made has been absolutely stellar. And after watching a couple of videos, it looks like it’s not that hard or time consuming to make mozzarella.

We were excited! We headed out on our bikes to get milk and rennet. We were going to make mozzarella. Whoohoooooo!!

Well, rats. It turns out that rennet is required for making the curds. Can we find rennet? Anywhere in Toronto?

We went to Fiesta Farms, where they allegedly sell rennet. Yes, indeed they do sell rennet. But it’s not pure rennet but “junket rennet” tablets:

Junket Rennet Tablets […] Salt, Calcium Lactate, Corn Starch, Rennet, Tricalcium Phosphate, Calcium Stearate (Food Grade) junket rennet tablets

Can all those extra ingredients be right for making cheese?

I DON’T think so….

And internet search comes up with the following answer to the question “Can junket rennet be used for making cheese?”:

With that kind of result, we decided we should get pure rennet (we’d settle for vegetarian rennet).

So far, we have called the Big Carrot asking if they carry vegetable rennet (they said that LOTS of people have called asking the same question. Hmmmmm. Mightn’t that be a clue for them to find some??)

And we checked at an Italian cheese store that makes fresh ricotta. Nope. But they suggested we try our pharmacy.

Pharmacy?! Okay….

Our pharmacist asked us to call back in 15 minutes while he did some research about the availability of microbial rennet, while he called two of his biggest suppliers. Sounded promising…. Answer: nope.

We looked online:

Rennet tablets (Microbial) – Box of 100 tablets
[…] One tablet for fifty (50) liters of […] cow milk at 35 C. rennet tablets (microbial)

50 litres!? Yikes! We don’t have a kitchen large enough to house 50 litres of milk!

We have emailed Danlac Canada Inc. to ask what they suggest for people who are making cheese from one or two litres of milk. We await their reply.

In the meantime, even though some say that junket rennet tablets won’t work for cheese making, we’re going to give it a try anyway. As soon as we get some citric acid and junket rennet tablets. Fingers crossed that it works!


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10 responses to “ISO rennet: another exercise in futility

  1. Elaine

    And I remember being proud of making Caesar salad dressing form scratch – never even thought of making the cheese! For the rennet tablets, is it possible for you to dilute it? If you dilute it in 500 mL of water, and only use 10 mL, you -should- have the amount needed for 1 L of milk.

    Good luck on your mozzarella adventures.

  2. Cathy

    What about raw milk? Should Canada legalize healthy raw milk? Legalize Raw Milk

    Absolutely! Along with the ridiculous notion that raw milk cheese is unsafe. (I’m sorry to have missed’s Cheesy Soirée – Raw Milk Cheese – Is it legal? Safe? that took place in February 2009.) We’re over-legislated. It’s remarkable that highly processed milk that is laced with preservatives, chemicals, stabilizers, and artificially manufactured vitamins IS the stuff that is supposedly the safer choice than milk directly from the cow or goat. Isn’t it wonderful that Michael Schmidt won his court battle? Isn’t it disgraceful that it took 16 years? Now if only it would be easier to find a share in a goat or cow or two…. -Elizabeth
    » where can I find real (raw) milk?
    » Acquittal for farmer who sold raw milk Distribution only allowed through ‘cow-sharing’
    » Legalizing Natural (untreated) Milk in Ontario
    » Education the answer to raw-milk cheese flap
    » Raw Milk Cheese – Is it legal? Safe? ( 2009/02/10)

    Raw milk would contribute to our food culture, and laws against selling it are no longer necessary. -The Mark, 15 April 2010

  3. ejm Post author

    Well, rats! I am very sorry to see that Michael Schmidt is being sent back to court after finally being aquitted! Ontario appealing raw milk ruling

    But I haven’t been able to find out if he has already been aquitted. thebovine

    Many thanks for opening up this can of worms, Cathy! (And I’m NOT being facetious.)

    I am also sorry to report that our first attempt at making Mozzarella was almost, but not quite, a success. It ended up being like very firm ricotta. (We will be using the failed Mozzarella to make stuffed pasta again…). I’ll give the full report soon. I’m thinking that by the time I get around to it, I’ll be posting about SUCCESS SUCCESS SUCCESS instead of RATS RATS RATS.

    It turns out that it will be relatively easy to cut the tablets in pieces, Elaine. But your idea isn’t bad either. The only problem with it is that some of the rennet would be wasted and I hate the idea of throwing away around 18 cents for each tablet used (they’re around 25 cents each).

    How is your search for Mozzarella going, Tanna?


  4. Nick

    For the record, David Fankhauser’s recipes all use standard Junket rennet and he appears to be highly successful in his cheesemaking endeavours. Have a peek at his basic 1-gallon instructions:

    Elsewhere on his site you’ll find instructions for aged, and even Penicillium-inoculated blue cheeses. All made at home, all using Junket, and all looking fairly delicious.

  5. Cathy

    I have no personal experience so far but my search for Rennet came up with this… they also sell Cheese making supplies including kits.
    They are in Brampton (Steeles w/o Dixie Road). Not downtown but not in the USA either.

  6. Katharine Redmond

    Canadian Home Brew Supplies
    10 Wilkinson Rd., Unit 1
    Brampton, Ontario L6T 5B1

    They sell liquid rennet and rennet tablets.. calves rennet & vegetarian.
    for example: Liquid Calf Rennet – 50ml – $11.15


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