What are the cheeses without animal rennet and therefore also suitable for vegetarians? Here is the complete list of cheeses with vegetable or microbiotic rennet on the market, updated to 2018.
There are cheeses with and without animal rennet. For vegetarians it is very important to know the difference as well as the list of those that are made without using this ingredient or preferring the plant or microbial variant. Here then are the cheeses without animal rennet updated to 2018.
The cheeses, in order to reach their characteristic consistency, different from type to type, must be processed with the use of rennet. But what exactly is it?
What is rennet?
Rennet is an acidic substance that serves to ensure that milk proteins are coagulated, this is essential to condense various types of cheese and there are very few types that do not contain this ingredient.
Practically the use of rennet makes sure that the milk proteins are no longer soluble, precipitino on the bottom creating precisely the “curd” which is then collected and re-worked to make the different cheeses. A substance therefore of fundamental importance but which hides little “green” implications, at least for those who have chosen to respect the animals by not eating meat.
Animal, vegetable and microbial rennet
There are different types of rennet, specifically:
- Animal rennet: also known as the rennet is composed of an enzyme extracted from the stomach of calves or lambs. It is still considered the best type of rennet and is used for example to produce PDO cheeses.
- Vegetable rennet: there are different types of rennet, there is for example that which is extracted from the fig tree (it is latex) or those that are obtained from flowers and plants such as the common thistle (Cynara cardunculus).
- Microbial rennet: this type is extracted from a mold (Mucor miehei) and is considered a less valuable and economical rennet variant.
There is also a coagulant obtained from genetically modified fungal organisms such as Aspergillus niger var. awamori or bacterial like Escherichia coli.
The rennet on the label
There are some types of cheese that are always without animal rennet, two known examples are ricotta and mascarpone. This is true because they are subjected to a type of processing that, at the base, does not require the use of this ingredient (even in the vegetable variant).
For almost all types of cheese, however, it is advisable to check with the manufacturer or carefully read the label on the type of rennet present. In some cases there may be the simple word “rennet” even if more often there is the indication “animal rennet”, “vegetable rennet” or “microbial rennet” also to give way to vegetarians to orient themselves in choosing the cheese to buy .
To make informed choices, as always it is essential to carefully read the list of ingredients of what we want to bring to the table.
Cheeses without animal rennet: the updated 2018 list
Given the increased demand for cheese without animal rennet, several companies have marketed products made with vegetable rennet or microbial rennet, even where traditionally that product was curdled instead with the solution of animal origin.
There are therefore stracchino, mozzarella and also some caciotta made with vegetable rennet or microbial rennet. Easier yet to find fresh cheeses and first salt without animal rennet, while decidedly more difficult for a vegetarian to eat mature cheeses.
List of Vegetarian cheeses
According to the following cheese companies, these cheeses do not contain rennet or any other nonvegetarian enzymes:
- Kraft Natural Swiss
- Kraft Cream Cheeses
- Grated Parmesan
- String cheese
- Cheese made by Pauly
- County Line: Old World Swiss, Colby, Monterey Jack
- Giant Cream Cheese
- Giant Natural Swiss slices
- Giant Natural Muenster slices
- Biery cheese
- Giant Chunk Cheese: New York Sharp, Wisconsin Cheddar, Longhorn, Swiss, Danish Havarti, Monterey Jack, Pepper Jack
Mid American Farms