Ask the Times

Published April 16, 2007

How is vegetable rennet used to make cheese, and where does it come from?

Rennet curdles milk in cheesemaking. The most common way to make cheese is to use animal rennet, a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, but many cheesemakers use vegetable rennet. Vegetable rennet is sometimes used to describe any nonanimal rennet including the enzymes commonly produced using microbes.

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