Can We Make Leipäjuusto Without Rennet?

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Leipäjuusto, bread cheese is synonymous with Finland. It is a non-fermented cheese that can be easily made at home. The only difficulty is to get rennet, an enzyme for cheese making.
Amazon.com: Microbial Liquid RENNET Ideal Coagulant 30ml | add 2ml per 1 gallon of milk: Home & Kitchen
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If you don’t need rennet, it will be even easier to make Leipäjuusto.

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What is Leipäjuusto?

Leipäjuusto is a Finnish food that is as famous as cinnamon rolls. It is an unfermented cheese with little to no flavor and is usually served with cloudberry jam.

Rennet is indispensable for making this Leipäjuusto.It is an enzyme that is needed to cut the casein in the milk and make it coagulate. A detailed explanation of how it works can be found on the Leipäjuusto recipe page.
Finnish Bread Cheese - Homemade Leipäjuusto
Leipäjuusto, Bread cheese served with cloudberry jam is a famous Finnish dish. You can make at home as long as you have access to rennet, an enzyme for cheese.

Leipäjuusto with Cottage Cheese?

Now, if rennet is not available, can we make Leipäjuusto in other ways?

One cheese that can be made at home is cottage cheese. By adding acids such as vinegar or lemon juice to milk, the proteins coagulate to make cheese. For more information, see the Cottage Cheese Recipe page.
Cottage Cheese - Easy Homemade Cheese with Vinegar
Cottage cheese is a simple cheese that can be made by adding vinegar and lemon juice to milk. This article also mentions how cheese is made.

Experiment

Can you make Leipäjuusto with acid-flocculated cottage cheese without rennet? Let’s start experimenting.

Card making

I used this recipe for Leipäjuusto and cottage cheese. I also pre-salted the cottage cheese in order to have the right ingredients.
Finnish Bread Cheese - Homemade Leipäjuusto
Leipäjuusto, Bread cheese served with cloudberry jam is a famous Finnish dish. You can make at home as long as you have access to rennet, an enzyme for cheese.
[https://pieceofoishi.com/r

Start cooking. Then, from the time I added the rennet and vinegar to the milk, I could tell there was quite a difference.

The Leipäjuusto did not harden for a while after the rennet was added. But after 30 minutes, the whole thing had become one big chunk. I broke it down and strained after a while, but even during the straining process, the broken chunks stuck to each other and formed a big chunk.

Cottage cheese, on the other hand, started to settle the moment the vinegar was added. Even after waiting for a while, the precipitated grains do not stick to each other. During the straining process, the grains did not stick to each other to form a single lump, as in the case of rennet.

Squeezing

The differences between the cheeses could also be felt when draining the water.
Leipäjuusto could be squeezed out without any problem, even with a lot of force, just the water.

Cottage cheese, on the other hand, when squeezed with a lot of force, cheese grains popped out through the space between the fibers of the cloth. Normally, cottage cheese is drained in a coffee filter without force. I think one of the reasons for this is that each grain is so fine that it will pop out if force is applied.

Each was wrapped in cloth, formed, weighed, and dehydrated overnight in the refrigerator.

Baking

The next day, I removed them to an oven dish and baked them.

You can see that there is quite a difference when you take them out of the oven dish. On the left is the Leipäjuusto with rennet, and on the right is the cottage cheese with vinegar.

In the Leipäjuusto, the cards, which were scattered when drained, stick together to form a large mass. The surface is quite smooth.

Cottage cheese, on the other hand, retains its individual grains. The surface is quite uneven.

I baked this in the oven at 275 degrees for 10 minutes, until it was well browned.

The Leipäjuusto has a lot more small char marks on it. The cottage cheese has a smoother surface and larger char marks. Both look like commercial Leipäjuusto.

I wondered if it would be possible to make Leipäjuusto with vinegar. Let’s try it with high expectations.

Different textures

Leipäjuusto has a unique texture that cannot be experienced with other ingredients. Its texture, which does not melt even when heated, and the sweet and sour taste of cloudberry jam make it the most delicious food.

If you add vinegar and make it with cottage cheese, it becomes quite tender when heated. And it does not have a chewy texture. This is delicious, but it is not a Leipäjuusto.

Conclusion

Rennet is essential for making Leipäjuusto. It cannot be substituted with vinegar or lemon juice.

Does the Mechanism Change the Texture?

Unfortunately, it was not possible to make Leipäjuusto with vinegar or lemon juice.

As explained on the respective recipe pages, the mechanism for making Leipäjuusto and cottage cheese is different. I believe that the mechanism of cheese making has a lot to do with the chewy texture of Leipäjuusto.
Amazon.com: Microbial Liquid RENNET Ideal Coagulant 30ml | add 2ml per 1 gallon of milk: Home & Kitchen
Online Shopping for Kitchen Utensils & Gadgets from a great selection at everyday low prices. Free 2-day Shipping with Amazon Prime.

The good news is that you can make Leipäjuusto at home, although you need a rennet. This is the time of year when it is difficult to travel, so please give it a try.

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