Cheese. Betrayed by the cheese. And rennet.

I made a recipe that I got from Giada. It was listed as a vegetarian dish. Mine didn’t turn out quite like hers, so I went back to the site to read the reviews and see what I did wrong. A couple of reviews down, I saw this – “You do realise that parmesan cheese is not veggie-friendly in that it contains rennet! I suggest that you use a veggie alternative hard cheese if you really want to make it veggie-friendly.

Whoosh! Just like that, all the air went out of my lungs. Rennet. Cow’s stomach. That certainly isn’t vegetarian. I have messed up. Messed up big time. See, I use parmesan cheese. A lot. I’ve used it in my recipes that I have shared with you. My vegetarian recipes.

Please accept my apologies. I am still learning. I shall endeavor to do better in the future.

I have gone back over the recipes and changed the forbidden cheeses to vegetarian approved varieties. There is a rainbow. There are many cheeses that are made with microbial or vegetable rennets. I’ll list some, that are taken right from the manufacturer’s websites. You can also look for the kosher label. If it’s kosher, it’s good for us veg heads, too.

What kind of rennet is used to make Cabot cheeses?
Cabot uses a microbial-based enzyme to manufacture all of our award-winning cheeses with the exception of our Processed American Cheese slices. The microbial-based enzyme coagulates the milk into curds and whey. It is approved for vegetarians and also allows our cheeses to pass kosher certification. Our Processed American Cheese slices are sourced from plants that Cabot does not own, so we cannot guarantee that they are made with microbial enzymes. Cabot Cheese

Is Tillamook Cheese vegetarian-friendly? Most of our cheeses are made with a vegetable-based rennet that’s kosher-certified, halal-certified, and vegetarian-friendly. Three of our cheeses – Vintage White Medium Cheddar, Vintage White Sharp Cheddar, and Vintage White Extra Sharp Cheddar – are made with a traditional animal-based rennet . The traditional rennet helps develop the unique flavor in these three cheeses. Tillamook cheese

Is Organic Valley cheese made with animal or vegetarian rennet/enzymes?

Most cheese production uses the enzyme rennet to coagulate milk into curd. Organic Valley uses “microbial enzymes” for most all of their cheeses instead of animal rennet. Using microbial enzymes allows us to serve the strict needs of vegetarians. Microbial enzymes are produced by a controlled fermentation process.

We do use a lipase enzyme derived from animals in creating the flavor profile for our Blue Cheese Crumbles, Kickapoo Blue Cheese Wheel/Wedges and the Romano in our Italian Blend Shredded Cheese; and we use animal rennet in our 3 Vermont Cheddar cheeses for coagulation. Use of these enzymes derived from animals makes Blue Cheese Crumbles, Kickapoo Blue Cheese Wheel/Wedges, Italian Blend Shredded Cheese, and Medium, Sharp, and Extra-Sharp Vermont Cheddar our six non-vegetarian cheeses.                      Organic Valley Cheese

What is the source of the enzymes in your cheeses?

Rennets (enzymes) are added when making cheese to thicken the mixture to form the curds. These milk-clotting enzymes originate in microbial (synthetic) and animal sources. The manufacturing process of most varieties of cheese (all cured or ripened cheeses) involves enzyme coagulation.

Most Sargento shredded and sliced cheeses and all of our refrigerated natural cheese snacks are made with non-animal rennets. The only Sargento natural cheeses that may contain animal enzymes are those that contain Romano, Asiago, or Jarlsberg cheeses. Those include: Artisan Blends Shredded Parmesan & Romano Cheese, Shredded 6 Cheese Italian Cheese, Shredded Reduced Fat 4 Cheese Italian Cheese, and Deli Style Sliced Jarlsberg Cheese. The cheese dip in our non-refrigerated MooTown Snacks, Cheese Dip & Cracker Sticks, Cheese Dip & Pretzel Sticks, and Cheese Dip & Crackers, is made with beef rennet.  Sargento cheese

Organic Valley says that many of their cheeses contain no animal rennet. You have to look at each variety to be sure.

A cheesy website with tons of rennet free cheeses listed!        

My lesson has been learned. I thought I was a conscientious  label reader. Turns out, I wasn’t. You can bet that I will be flipping over all my packages and reading the labels from now on!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 thoughts on “Cheese. Betrayed by the cheese. And rennet.

  1. Wow, thanks for the info, I had no idea that Parmesan was made with rennet. Mind you, we’re not vegetarians, but my kids are costing me a fortune in parmesan cheese (we eat lots of pasta) so maybe if I tell them about your discovery, they’ll be just as disgusted by it as they are by Jell-O and save me money 🙂

    Great research on the other brands too, it’s eye-opening. Now i feel guilty about being so lazy in sourcing the foods we eat on a daily basis.

  2. Yuck! I am not a vegetarian, but I don’t want to eat cow’s stomach either. Never heard of rennet. Thanks for the education.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *