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Cheese made w/ citric acid but no rennet, or rennet alternatives

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Hi, I'm going to have a little free time this month, and have been thinking about trying to make cheese for the first time in my life. I live in a small town in Thailand, where raw cow or goat milk is available much more cheaply than it would be when I move back to the US, so it seems worth the experiment.

But rennet is not available. Citric acid is. Do citric acid and rennet always go together, or are there cheeses that can be made with only the citric acid? It's hard to run a Google search on this because including all these words gives results WITH rennet.

Also, I've read that papaya leaves can be steeped to make a coagulant. Easy enough to find around here. But most search results have said it can be either bitter or not strong enough or just generally unpredictable. Then there were one or two people saying it's fine, tastes normal.

Have also seen mentions of pineapple juice, but it's been hard to determine if this is close to the lemon juice/vinegar end of the coagulant spectrum (boil milk and then add) or more on the rennet end (heat only to something like 80F--which is room temp here anyway--then adding it will be enough to coagulate).

Finally, if I go with the standard farmer's cheese method--no rennet, no citric acid, just boil and add white vinegar--can this be made with cultured milk, and aged slightly? Or is that variety really only good for a couple days?

Thanks!

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  1. I'm no cheese expert, but I'm not sure if you can make much besides ricotta or maybe paneer with only citric acid.

    1 Reply
    1. re: babette feasts

      As far as I know, this is the case (plus farmer's chees), but I haven't looked int it too much.

      My favorite acid-only cheese is fresh goat's cheese, made simply by heating goat's milk to at least 180F, add acid (I usually add lemon juice--about 1/2 lemon/quart), let cool slightly, and strain through muslin (actually old cotton clothes or coffee filters. You can add salt and flavorings at this point, but I've enjoyed it plain.