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Where to buy Rennet / Citric Acid Powder?

I know this question was asked last summer, but I thought there might be some new intel on the subject.

My online order hasn't come in and wanted to get started this weekend on some new cheeses.

Does anyone have a local source for rennet, citric acid & starter cultures?


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  1. I buy citric acid for canning & pastry at Rainbow Grocery, in the back left corner of the store where the mason jars are kept (citric acid in water keeps things from browning as you prepare apples or whatever). I've never looked for rennet there, but they very possibly have vegetable-based rennet; if you're set on animal rennet Rainbow almost certainly won't have it.

    2 Replies
    1. re: SteveG

      SteveG is correct. You can buy Citric Acid and Vegetable-based rennet at Rainbow Grocery. You need to ask the cheese person they will get it for you. For some reason it is not on their shelves but I'm betting it has to do with the tiny container and high price.

      Rainbow Grocery
      1745 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      1. re: billraymond

        They told me it is very light sensitive--it degrades if exposed even to indoor light. So they keep it in the back, refrigerated and in the dark.

    2. I bought some citric acid recently from Vik's in Berkeley, but I don't think they have rennet.

      1. I just checked at El Cerrito Natural Foods and they led me to the refrigerator spot it would be in if they had it. Alas, they didn't.

        1. I've made a lot of cheese and have never found a local supplier for rennet or cultures. Pity, huh?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Carrie 218

            Oh well, guess I'll have to do soft cheeses this weekand. And learn to pay attention and keep stocked up on culture & rennet. Citric acid powder isn't that big of a deal since there are easy substitutions.

            Thanks all!

          2. We have been buying cheese-making supplies from the Food Mill in Oakland.


            1. 4 oz. of citric acid $1.99
              Bombay Bazar
              548 Valencia Street
              (between 16th St & 17th St)
              San Francisco, CA 94110
              (415) 621-1717

              1. I bought rennet tablets at Andronicos on Irving St. in SF several years ago. You might call and see if they still carry them.

                1. Whole Foods on this side of the continent (East) has rennet in the spice aisle although I'd be amazed if Berkeley Bowl didn't.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: hill food

                    All of the SF stores are out or don't carry it.

                  2. I just saw citric acid (I think it was powder) at Market Hall in Rockridge on a low shelf with the baking items.

                    1. Beverage People in Santa Rosa sells rennet and other cheesemaking supplies.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Doh! At our big cider making party last fall, someone told me all about them and gave me their catalog. I've been meaning to get up there and check them out ever since. Now I've got a good excuse. Thanks.

                      2. i just bought some Citric Acid from Rainbow Market in san francisco (its in the canning area above the peanut butters):


                        As for Rennet, i looked everywhere and found out that Mollie Stones (formerly tower market) is the only place that sells it in san francisco. Its in aisle 4a above the jello boxes. I got 8 Junket Rennet tablets for $1.99.


                        FYI...i bought both items yesterday 2/9/09

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: SteveG

                            This is Mollie Stone's Twin Peaks store:
                            635 Portola Drive
                            San Francisco, CA 94127

                            Phone: 415.664.1600
                            Fax: 415.664.7406
                            Open Daily: 8am-9pm

                        1. just bought vegetable rennet and citric acid at rainbow grocery in sf... 7/10/09.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: andrew.m

                            Rainbow's cheese department carries it, but it is light and temperature sensitive so they keep it in the back and you have to ask them. They're doing a real service to the foodie community, because at $1 per 50 liter tablet, they aren't making much money after the handling hassles and the individual manual repackaging. A shaving off the side of the tablet clotted my milk & cream and made for some delicious fresh ricotta.

                          2. You don't need starter, you can use buttermilk or yogurt. See Dr Fankhauser's cheese site:

                            Get the junket rennet tabs at all of the spots everyone has mentioned. I found mine at Lunardi's in Danville.

                            Did you make it?

                            1. How about cheese making supply stores? I'd love to be able to buy molds and cheese cloth and wax and cultures and all that somewhere locally instead of having to order online. . .

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: seejeneat

                                vintage molds - check "Cookin" on Divis near Oak (she's too mean to ever die, even though I think she's awesome) rennet has been sourced upstream, cloth is available at any old dumb store or you can improvise with an old threadbare shirt., food stable wax can be found at some of these sources like Whole or Bowl.

                                1. re: seejeneat

                                  As noted upthread, Beverage People, is a local supplier of cheesemaking supplies.

                                  Beverage People
                                  840 Piner Rd # 14, Santa Rosa, CA

                                2. I used to get my rennet (and citric acid--look in the bulk section!) at the Food Mill in Oakland http://www.foodmillonline.com.

                                  Lately, they've been out of rennet. I got mine this morning at the Cheese Board (cheeseboardcollective.coop) on Shattuck.

                                  Food Mill
                                  3033 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Tharissa

                                    Oak Barrel in Berkeley (San Pablo Avenue, just south of Gilman) has started to carry cheese-making supplies.

                                  2. You can get all kinds of esoteric chemicals / food additives at Sanctuaire in San Francisco. Make an appointment first, though.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: the mess

                                      I really don't think rennet and citric acid qualify as esoteric chemicals although Le Sanctaire has ascorbic acid C6H8O6 for $32 for 32 oz but that is not citric acid C6H8O7. I bought my citric acid for about a buck from the bulk bin at BBE and my rennet at Lucky's.

                                      1. re: wolfe

                                        Hello, can you tell me what BBE stands for? Thanks.

                                        1. re: Marsha

                                          BBE = Berkeley Bowl East.
                                          It's so crowded that no one goes there anymore.

                                          Berkeley Bowl
                                          2020 Oregon St, Berkeley, CA 94703

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              Yep, Food Mill in Oakland has citric acid....cheap too!

                                              Food Mill
                                              3033 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602

                                    2. SF Brewcraft on 17th & Clement carries citric acid powder.

                                      1. samirami's, the middle eastern store on mission street, carries it. i prefer it to fresh lemon in hummus.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. I found some cheese starter kits at Williams-Sonoma in the Stanford Shopping Center. They had Mozzarella, Queso Fresco, Cheddar and Jack. They are for home use only, as they come in small packages. They sell for about $20 each. Hope this helps.

                                          1. Duc Loi on Mission & 18th carries citric acid; just bought some there last week.