Cheese Rennet is a preparation of the lining membrane of the true stomach of the calf, or a goat or sheep &c. which yields an enzyme capable of causing the coagulation of casein, and is used in the manufacture of some cheese.
Traditional rennet was made by washing the stomach of a young ruminant after it has been slaughtered, and then salting it. The salted stomach is kept in dried form, with cooks snipping off small pieces and soaking them in water when they have a need for rennet. Some cheesemakers continue to make and use rennet in this way; the vast majority use commercially processed rennet, which is made by creating a slurry and then subjecting it to a compound which will cause the enzymes to precipitate out.
The main enzyme in rennet is rennin, although there are a few other enzymes as well, and the precise content depends on the animal the rennet comes from; sheep rennet, for example, is different from cow rennet. When added to milk, the enzyme causes the milk to coagulate, essentially starting the digestion process. Once curds have formed, cheesemakers can cut the curds, drain them, and pack them into molds to make cheese.
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