The Best Kosher Cheese…

Sharon November 9th, 2010

…Is the one that you make yourself.  One of the great problems of keeping kosher is finding decent kosher cheese.  Technically speaking, I don’t have to do this – I’m a Conservative Jew, rather than an Orthodox one, and the Conservatives have long treated rennet as far enough from its origins not to worry about.  But it bothers me, and I have friends who won’t eat cheese made using animal rennets, so I have tried to mostly serve kosher cheeses.  The problem is that kosher certification is extremely expensive, which means most small artisanal cheesemakers won’t bother, which means one finds oneself back at bigger cheesemakers from far away.

Thus my quest for really good Kosher cheeses – real Camembert, blue cheeses that can knock your socks off – and I’ve tried a lot of recipes.  I’m starting to feel like I can produce something worth having – and entirely kosher.

Unfortunately, the barriers to starting up a dairy in New York are so great that there’s no way I’ll ever be able to sell it.  On the other hand, if you too seek really good kosher cheese, I can sell you a couple of dairy goats and point you to some nice videos on the subject!

Making Blue Cheese

5 Responses to “The Best Kosher Cheese…”

  1. K.B. says:

    Are kosher cheeses made with “vegetarian” rennet? Or is there another alternative? Can you discuss this in more detail, for us cheese-maker wannabes, or point us in the right direction?

    I’m not vegetarian, but was thinking a while ago about the availability of locally produced rennet vs. the alternatives.

    Thanks!

  2. Sharon says:

    Kosher cheese is made with vegetable rennet – actually I’ve done a little bit of experimenting with yellow bedstraw as a rennet substitute (it also curdle cheese naturally) and it gives the most wonderful fragrance. I must grow much more!

    Sharon

  3. sueinithaca says:

    I wonder how many local cheesemakers, while not kosher, use vegetable rennet anyway. If you’re getting good at fancier varieties, then you may not have the need, but my cheese skills end at simple farmer’s cheese, so I buy in. Northland Dairy, which is local to me (and not insanely far from you), uses cardoons for rennet. MaryRose, the cheesemaker, grows them herself on the property. She is particularly awesome, but maybe she’s not alone?

  4. Caitlin says:

    Is that text “Making Blue Cheese” supposed to be a link? It isn’t working. :(

    Ps Love your site! :)

  5. carol says:

    Sharon

    The following site has some more detailed recipes than I’ve seen, including a nice step by step for Stilton including how to get the bluing right… and I don’t see why it wouldn’t work with vegetarian rennet. veg rennet is always double strength so you’d just use half of what the calf rennet would be, and I think the starter mold you might need (but the same site sells both and the price is reasonable). You typically seen basic cheese recipes (farmers cheese), etc – I like that this site had many of the more complex.. good luck. When we’re ready for goats, we’ll give you a call

    http://www.cheesemaking.com/recipes/recipedetails.html

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