Sunday, 21 February 2010

Day eightythree...


What is makes cheese vegetarian?

"Well is kinda doesn't have the rennet in it. Depends whether there has been, um, if there has been an animal process in it. Animal fats or something in there, and if you get a vegetarian cheese it doesn't have any of that in it at all. So the rennet, sometimes they wrap it in these sort of cheeses from European type cheeses they can wrap it in a bit of rennet to intensify the flavour"

Well don't believe everything you see on TV. This was Ainsley Harriott's attempt to describe rennet. What's wrong with just saying, I'm not certain...

Fast forward to 4:00 for a beautiful explanation.

This may seem a bit smug. But I don't mean to be. I'm not making light of his lack of knowledge but I don't see why he has to lie. It isn't vitally important but he is so brash about it he must be outed. Mmmmm I love that rennet wrapped cheese.

That is an exaggeration. Rennet is actually just a group of enzymes that are naturally produced in a cows (or any other mammalians) stomach. It is used to separate (coagulate) cheese into curds and whey. This is why it isn't vegetarian. It is extracted from young calves that are being breed for their veal.

Sorry if this has put you off your cheese and pickle sandwich grinding in your mouth. However most widely produced cheese these days is produced using a genetically engineered rennet. Produced by the fungus of the aspergillus niger.

But why did we delve straight to the stomach of the cow?

"As when fig-juice is added to white milk and rapidly coagulates the liquid,
and the milk curdles as it is stirred, so speedy was his healing of raging Ares."

This passage is from Homers epic Greek poem The Iliad. Of course this was written in the 8th or 9th century so why not make cheese this way. Then instead of the above nauseating stomachs above, we would have a similar but not as gruesome object hanging...

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