Does Goat’s Cheese Have Rennet? (Exposing Goat’s Cheese Ingredients!)

Are you a goat’s cheese lover like me?

Then, you’ve probably wondered whether or not it contains rennet.

This is quite a common question and is obviously of concern if you are a vegetarian.

But, of course, rennet can be plant-based and not just derived from animals.

Does the fact that it is made with goat’s milk make any difference?

Maybe the country where it is manufactured determines what sort of rennet is used.

And why is rennet necessary anyway? What does it do?

Are there any alternatives to rennet?

Let’s solve this mystery once and for all!

Goat’s Cheese Lovers Rejoice: Debunking Rennet Myths

Goat’s cheese can contain rennet, but this may be derived from animals or be plant-based. Rennet is an enzyme that is used to coagulate the milk, which in turn separates the curds and whey. If the traditional method of making goat’s cheese is used, then the rennet will be derived from animal sources. Typically, this will be from the stomach of a calf or kid goat. However, with the increasing demand for vegetarian alternatives, many manufacturers now use plant-based or microbial rennet. Always check the label or ask the vendor if it is not clear.

Is All Goat’s Cheese Made with Animal Rennet?

So, if you’re a fan of the strong taste of goat’s cheese but you’re also vegetarian, then you need to know whether it’s made with rennet.

Unfortunately, I have to say, the answer is not clear-cut.

I always used to believe that rennet had to be made from the stomachs of young animals. 

However, some producers do use rennet from animals, whereas others use microbial sources or plant-based rennet.

This is something I discovered once I became more interested in the cheese-making process.

And if you’re curious about microbial rennet, this is made from bacteria or fungi.

Plant-based rennet is typically derived from nettles or thistles. 

It’s important to note that some types of rennet are not as efficient at coagulating the milk, and this could affect the texture of the cheese. 

The flavor may also be less strong, hence why some artisanal cheesemakers still prefer to use animal rennet for the most authentic taste.

Cheese NameOriginTasteTexture
ChèvreFranceDelightfully tangy, with a hint of earthinessCreamy and spreadable
FetaGreeceSalty, briny and irresistibly savoryCrumbly and slightly grainy
GoudaNetherlandsSweet, nutty, and enchantingly smoothFirm and dense
ManchegoSpainIntense, with a spicy zing that warms the soulSemi-firm with a buttery feel
RoquefortFranceBold and assertive, with a pungent, blue-veined aromaSoft and crumbly, yet moist and creamy

What is Rennet, and Why is it Used in Cheese-Making?

You may be wondering why rennet is used anyway, and what exactly does it do.

Rennet is an enzyme, which is essential in cheese making.

Its main purpose is to coagulate the milk, allowing it to separate into curds and whey.

Rennet does actually add to the flavor and texture of the goat’s cheese.

Traditionally, it was obtained from the stomachs of young ruminants.

And, in case you are wondering, a ruminant is a hoofed animal with a unique digestive system, such as cows, goats, and sheep. 

Hence, why any cheese made with rennet is not usually suitable for vegetarians.

Today, with vegetarianism becoming more mainstream, other sources of rennet have emerged.

Are There Alternative Options for Those Who Prefer to Avoid Rennet?

As a vegetarian, you will need to seek out goat’s cheese made from plant-based or microbial sources.

These are more sustainable and ethical alternative options, for the consumers and the cheese producers.

Although, it is actually possible to make cheese without any form of rennet.

Vegan goat’s cheese is made with the addition of ingredients such as soy, or cashews, thus not using any dairy or animal products. 

The necessary coagulation is achieved by using vinegar or lemon juice.

Although they may not have the authentic flavor, they are still a delicious alternative for those who prefer cruelty-free cheese, not derived from animal sources. 

Goat Cheese vs. Cow Cheese?

Key Takeaways

  • Goat’s cheese often contains animal rennet, but some producers use alternatives such as plant-based or microbial sources
  • Rennet is an enzyme used in the cheese-making process to coagulate the milk and separate it into curds and whey, creating the desired flavor and texture
  • Non-animal sources of rennet, such as plant-based or microbial alternatives, provide a more sustainable and ethical option for consumers and cheese producers
  • To avoid rennet, look for labels that indicate ”rennet-free” or “vegetarian” cheese, or vegan options made from soy or cashews
  • Not all non-animal rennet sources provide the same high quality of coagulation the flavor of the cheese may be affected

If you are a fan of goat’s cheese and you’re looking for a more ethical, cruelty-free option, then understanding the role of rennet can play a part in your choice.

By knowing the many different sources of rennet, you can confidently make an informed decision, and ask your cheesemonger the right questions.

Are you willing to try the alternatives?

You may also wish to read about vegetarian feta cheese.

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