Are you always trying out new vegan cheese recipes? Then you definitely need vegetable rennet! It’s an important, irreplaceable ingredient when it comes to homemade vegan cheesemaking. Keep reading for the full recipe!
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Vegetable Rennet for Homemade Cheese
- 2 lbs. fresh nettle
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
Step 1: Clean the Nettle Leaves
Take the two pounds of fresh nettle leaves and rinse in cool, running, filtered water. Keep flushing them with water until the soil and debris are completely washed off of the leaves. Set aside.
Step 2: Cook the Nettle Leaves
After washing the leaves, place them in a large pot and submerge in four cups of filtered water. Feel free to add a bit more water if the pot you’re using is too big. Place the pot over medium heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, then simmer for another 30 minutes.
Step 3: Stir in Some Salt
30 minutes into simmering the pot of nettle, scoop in a tablespoon of sea salt. Stir until it dissolves in the water.
Salt acts as a compound to break down the leaves’ components and stimulate enzyme release. This will lead to a richer, fuller flavor.
Step 4: Drain the Nettle Leaf Mixture
Cover the colander with a clean cheesecloth then place inside the bowl. This will serve as a nettle leaf strainer.
Once you’re done cooking the leaves, pour everything into the cheesecloth-lined colander. Wait for all the excess water to drip.
Step 5: Extract the Vegetable Rennet
Set the leaves aside then and squeeze out any remaining juices you can from the cheesecloth into the bowl. This bowl of extracts is your nettle rennet.
For the best tasting results, we suggest mixing 1 cup of rennet with a gallon of warm milk. Using too much will make the mixture curdle while using too little will compromise the cheese’s flavor.
Step 6: Store the Liquid Vegetable Rennet Properly
Keep the rennet sealed in an airtight container then store it in the refrigerator. It should stay fresh for one to two months as long as you store it properly.
Check out this video by Cooking With Vlada for a visual guide on how to make cheese with vegetable rennet:
Learning how to make vegetable rennet is a very important skill for any amateur cheesemaker. After all, you'll be able to follow an array of cheese recipes even if you don't have access to livestock or dairy products.
Plus, cheese made of vegetarian rennet is very good. It has a rich, savory taste and the body remains firm even as it ages — cheese made of animal rennet tends to become runny.
What type of cheese are you first making with your homemade vegetable rennet? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
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