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Just over a week after making cheese with different types of rennet, the cheeses were ready for tasting!
From top left to bottom right, left to right: vegetarian, generic, premium, calf, lamb, kid rennet.
The cheeses were quite different in texture, most noticeably the vegetarian rennet cheese was much softer than the any of the other cheeses.
Notice that the vegetarian rennet cheese has significant breakdown just beneath the rind, which creates the soft texture to the touch. The rind actually ended up slipping slightly off the underlying paste. Taste-wise, it was a bit disappointing, having a slightly metallic, acrid flavour.
GENERIC ANIMAL RENNET
The generic animal rennet cheese had much less breakdown beneath the rind, and a nice soft paste. The rind texture felt a little thick when biting down on it, and the paste had a good strong earthy flavour to it, without a hint of bite.
PREMIUM ANIMAL RENNET
The premium animal rennet cheese had quite a dense paste, and the rind was surprisingly fluffy. The paste tasted relatively inoffensive, and may have benefited from a few more days maturing.
The calf rennet cheese had hardly any breakdown below the rind, with a slightly chalky paste. As a consequence, the rind texture was quite thin, although this resulted in a slight aftertaste after an initially mild flavour.
The lamb rennet cheese had broken down substantially just below the rind, with the paste starting to break away. This resulted in a thicker texture to the rind when biting down on it, although the paste remained quite soft and buttery, with a slightly meaty flavour.
The kid rennet cheese had quite a fluffy rind, and the paste had a much stronger flavour than any of the other cheeses. Overall it was the best combination of rind texture and paste flavour, with only a small amount of breakdown.
Clockwise from top: vegetarian, generic animal, premium animal, calf, lamb, kid.
In conclusion the results are quite surprising. I was expecting calf rennet used with cow milk to give the highest yield, and the best flavour and texture. It was however the kid and lamb rennets which gave both the highest yield and best resulting cheese. Vegetarian rennet was also surprising in that it gave quite an unpleasant resulting flavour. I had read that in long-aged cheeses, vegetarian rennet sometimes gives a sharper flavour than animal, but wasn’t expecting it in such a short maturing time.