HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Citric acid, Rennet, etc... what kind of stores carry these, typically? Also, possible substitutes?

The mozzarella thread below reminded me I've run out of these supplies. I know lots of places to get them online, but I'm really looking for where I can get these kinds of things in normal stores. What kind of store would carry rennet or citric acid?

Citric acid, I assume, is less of a problem, since I could find it at a health food store, maybe? (someone once told me that citric acid and vitamin c were the same... but that isn't true, is it? I thought Vitamin c was ascorbic acid. Regardless, could I use them interchangeably in a recipe... its used in the recipe to help curdle the milk and for textural reasons). Plus, a tablet of vitamin c, I'm assuming, would have other kind of binders and stuff, no?

Anyhow, the harder part of this is finding rennet. I don't really care if it is vegetable or animal. Does rennet have any other use except in dairy products? Is there a kind of store that would typically carry this?

I remember a while ago someone mentioning that an Indian store nearby sold vegetable rennet. Not sure why... maybe for some yogurt making? I'll have to check it out.

Thoughts? Ideas? Help?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Hi,
    http://www.cheesemaking.com/ has everything you need to make cheese.

    You make mozzarella? I'm really interested in trying it out!
    Have you ever made buffalo mozzarella?

    I think the above address has liquid rennin and powdered/tablet kind.

    Can you give me some tips on mozzarella making?


    1 Reply
    1. re: BellaGator

      I've bought the supplies from that cheesemaking.com before - but I'm specifically looking for non online kinds of sources. from them before. Since found cheaper online sources, but now I'm looking for the kind of stores that would stock these so I don't have to pay more in shipping than the price of the items.

      I've only made mozzarella 3-4 times. At the same site you cite, she has a demo for 30-minute mozz. It's pretty good and works pretty easily. I'll just say that I like to work (knead) the mozz a little longer so I can get a firmer texture. Homemade mozz is pretty soft - even softer than most of the fress mozz you find in good stores. So working it a little longer, than dropping it in an ice bath helps to firm it up.

      Try it out - it's great. Plus, adding in some fresh chopped basil toward the beginning-middle of the kneading makes a great treat - basil mozzarella. You can also add sun dried tomatoes or other things too. lots of possibilities.

    2. Citric acid and ascorbic acid are both available in homebrewing / wine making shops. Don't know if you can use the two interchangeably, though.

      Citric acid is sometimes used to make pickles, so a store catering to home canning gardeners might have some on hand, especially during these summer months.

      Rennet? Sorry, can't help there.

      1. i once got citric acid at kalustyans.com, and i checked, and they also sell rennet tablets . . . no, citric acid and vitamin c are not the same. you can make gelees and coat them in a mixture of sugar and citric acid, but i wouldn't want to eat a gelee coated in sugar and vitamin c!

        1. Fruit Fresh found in grocery stores with canning supplies is citric acid. Near the gelatin in your store look for Junket. It is rennet.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Candy

            Perfect! This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks so much!

            1. re: Candy

              Candy -

              I have also been looking for Rennet. If I look near the gelatin in a store (such as Jewel or Dominick's) I'll find it?

                1. re: MTaylor

                  the one in baton rouge, LA keeps it in the dairy case. i would assume that it is the same at other WFs.

              1. Fruit-Fresh is asorbic acid, not citric. Citric is sometimes sold as sour salt - depends on the market. Eastern Europeans use it a fair amount. I don't how ascorbic would behave in this use, but they don't necessarily behave the same way chemically.

                As for the junket, be sure you get only the tablets - it's also sold flavored, instant, etc. which you obviously don't want.

                2 Replies
                1. re: MikeG

                  Actually Fruit Fresh contains both.

                  1. re: MikeG

                    Middle Eastern markets are also good bets for citric acid.

                  2. I was able to get liquid Rennet at Whole Foods on Ashland in Chicago.

                    I used Fresh Fruit last night to make a 30 minute mozzarella (the recipe from www.cheesemaking.com ) . It took a little longer (about 15 minutes) for the curd to form, but the curd still formed.

                    1. Cheesemaking is a precise art. If the recipe says citric, use citric. If a quick bread recipe utilized citric acid for leavening, I might sub the equivalent amount of ascorbic, but not in a cheese recipe.

                      1. Adam -

                        If you live in LP/ Lakeview, you can get Citric Acid at the Hydroponic and Home Brew Store on Elston and Armitage. It is kind of tucked away and I called and they do have it.

                        Also, I got Rennet at the Whole Foods on Ashland.

                        1. A little late to the party but if you're in the Phoenix area, there's What Ale's Ya... http://www.whatalesya.com/

                          1. I bought my citric acid in the Indian aisle at a local "international market". It was packaged in a little bag and hung along with the spices.

                            I've seen junket with the gelatin and baking supplies at the regular old supermarket, but never rennet. I have heard of people making mozzarella with junket, though. I think we sell rennet in the cheese department at the semi-upscale natural food store where I work. It's probably becoming more common as more people get into cheese-making. So I'd try natural food stores, health food stores, food co-ops etc. that have decent cheese departments. Maybe even Whole Foods? Or a farmer's market?

                            1. here in Philly the WF does not sell rennet - which I find surprising but the homebrew outfit does

                              1. I searched all of the Orlando area for rennet, but was unsuccessful. They claimed there was a distributor problem. I ended up getting it on amazon.com. The citric acid is in my regular grocery store.

                                The hardest part was finding appropriate milk for cheese-making. Still searching for a supplier.


                                2 Replies
                                1. re: grieftrip

                                  i see there is a trader joe's opening there soon. their cream-top milk and goat's milk are not ultrapasteurized and make good mozz and chevre.

                                  1. re: grieftrip

                                    I took a cheesemaking course and she said supermarket milk will work as long as it's not ultrapasteurized. I just use a local brand, nothing fancy, and my mozz and ricotta come out fine.

                                  2. Lemons contain citric acid and I prefer to use fresh lemon juice when I make Indian cheese - paneer. Have not tried making any other cheese but would love to try my hand at mozzarella. One day :)