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How to Make Nettle Rennet for Cheesemaking
Using nettle rennet is an ancient form of milk coagulation. Nettle rennet is simple to make and easy to use and is a great option for those looking for a way to coagulate milk without using animal-derived rennet.
This recipe calls for Stinging Nettle, a plant that can be found in most regions and climates. It is painful to touch, so if you plan on harvesting it, definitely wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from this plant’s irritating leaves. Please also be sure that you have the right plant. Here is an official description of the Stinging Nettle Plant, or urtica docica, with pictures and other uses described.
If you do not have this kind of nettle growing in your yard, you may be able to find it dried in health food or herbal remedy stores or even online, since it has many other uses. Substitute ¾-1 pound dried nettle for 2 pounds fresh leaves.
Instructions for Making Nettle Rennet
How to Use Nettle Rennet
When using this rennet in cheesemaking, reduce the amount of salt that the cheese recipe calls for just a tad, because the rennet will add a bit of saltiness.
Nettle rennet can be used for any milk to make cheese, even cow’s milk. Just remember that any cheese made with any vegetable rennet will probably be slightly more bitter if aged for a long period of time, (say, over 2 months). Solve this problem by making cheeses with shorter aging periods when using nettle rennet, or merely eat the cheeses younger.
This rennet will keep in the refrigerator or cold storage for a few weeks if tightly covered and in the dark.
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