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In my previous post Rennet Type Experiments – The Background, I detailed six different types of rennet I would use in an experiment to see which rennet produced the best flavoured cheese.

I stuck to my tried-and-tested camembert recipe, but instead of using my usual goat milk, I decided to try out a combination of unpasteurised Ayrshire and Guernsey milk which is available from Blackheath Farmer’s Market on a Sunday from Redlays Farm.

Home cheese making equipment

Home cheese making equipment

As with the previous experiments which have required separate vats (for example, when looking at what type of milk to use for cheese), I divided my vat into six separate compartments, which would each be coagulated using a different type of rennet.

Different types of rennet

Different types of rennet

From left to right: vegetarian rennet, animal rennet, premium animal rennet, calf rennet, lamb rennet, kid rennet.  Note how the rennet pastes are cloudier than their liquid counterparts.

Each rennet had instructions for use on the side of the bottle, which were almost identical.  I thought this was quite odd, as I’ve noticed in the past that vegetarian rennet is required in higher volumes than animal rennet, but I followed the instructions regardless.  One notable difference was that the calf, lamb and kid rennet were all in “paste” form, rather than the yellow liquid I would usually associate with rennet.

Vegetarian rennet set

Vegetarian rennet set

Each vat was heated to 30C then a small pinch of DVI starter, geotrichum candidum and penicillium candidum was added.  30 minutes later I added 0.04% rennet (0.8ml) diluted in three times the amount of water.  Based on previous experiments into how much rennet to use, this should have given a “clean break” in 90 minutes.  There was a marked difference in set strength after this time, as shown by the vegetarian rennet set above, which was quite weak and soft.

Generic animal rennet

Generic animal rennet set

The generic animal rennet showed a good clean break, splitting easily over my finger.

Premium animal rennet set

Premium animal rennet set

Premium animal rennet didn’t give as good a set as the generic animal rennet, with the curd splitting up inconsistently in places.

Calf rennet set

Calf rennet set

The calf rennet surprisingly didn’t give that strong a set either, with the break not being entirely clean across my finger.

Lamb rennet set

Lamb rennet set

The lamb rennet set was perfect.  Moving my finger through the curd caused a completely clean split through the curd, with almost no residue.

Kid rennet set

Kid rennet set

Likewise the kid rennet set was just as good, if not better than the lamb rennet.  No residue whatsoever, and a lovely split.

Curd draining

Curd draining

The curd was ladelled out into two sets of numbered moulds and left to drain naturally for a day.

Drained curd

Drained curd

At this stage, the curd was dry salted with 2.6% Cornish Sea Salt, and left to dry for a couple of days before being placed in a cheese cave to mature.

Rennet yield

Rennet yield

There was a noticeable difference in yield from each rennet type, with vegetarian and calf producing the lowest yield, and lamb and kid producing the highest.  I would imagine this is a function of the set strength, since a softer curd would naturally lead to higher whey loss during ladelling and draining.

The tasting results of the experiment will be posted shortly!

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