Rennet Tablets for Making Cheese

Times Staff Writer

Question: I have a recipe for homemade cottage cheese that calls for one junket (rennet) tablet. I don’t have the slightest idea where I can find this. I know that rennet is an enzyme for making cheese that comes from a calf’s stomach.

Also, a few years back there was a product on the market called junket--it was chocolate-flavored and similiar to pudding. Do you know what ever happened to it?

Answer: Both junket tablets and junket custard are available from the Vermont Country Store, Mail Order Office, P.O. Box 3000, Manchester Center, Vt. 05255-3000. Cost for a package of 36 tablets is $5.50, plus shipping. Strawberry, vanilla and chocolate custards are sold in sets of three boxes for $4.50, plus shipping.

Q: I am a vegetarian; therefore, I eat a lot of cheese, especially feta. I know it’s salty, but it tastes great on salads.


Now I wonder about its nutritional value--it seems the information is nonexistent. And is it made from cow’s or sheep’s milk? The store where I buy it carries three kinds--Greek, Bulgarian and French. I’ve also seen advertisements for a Danish feta made from cow’s milk. It’s all pretty confusing. Maybe you can tackle it in your column.

A: In “Cheese: A Guide to the World of Cheese and Cheesemaking” (Facts on File Publications, 1984: $18.95), authors Bruno Battistotti, Vittorio Bottazzi, Antonio Piccinardi and Giancarlo Volpato explain that the name feta “derives from the fact that it is cut into large blocks or slices (fetes) and stored in brine in large barrels.

It is the most widely produced and consumed of all Greek cheeses, and in recent years other countries have exported their own versions. Bulgaria is one producer that keeps to the traditional practice of using ewe’s milk or ewe’s and goat’s milk, but cow’s milk is increasingly used nowadays, especially by such large producers as Denmark.

“Nutritive Value of Foods,” U.S. Department of Agriculture Home & Garden Bulletin Number 72, gives the following nutritional analysis for one ounce of feta cheese: 75 calories; four grams protein; six grams fat; 25 milligrams cholesterol; one gram carbohydrate; 140 milligrams calcium; 96 milligrams phosphorus; 0.2 milligrams iron; 18 milligrams potassium; 316 milligrams sodium; 130 international units Vitamin A; 0.04 milligrams thiamin; 0.24 milligrams riboflavin; 0.3 milligrams niacin, and 0 milligrams ascorbic acid.

The same publication lists 4.2 grams saturated, 1.3 grams monounsaturated and 0.2 grams polyunsaturated fatty acids in that same amount of the cheese. The bulletin does not specify a type of milk, but we assume the calculations were made on cheese made from the traditional ewe’s milk.

In response to the June 29 “You Asked About” . . . column on hummingbird nectar, we received a barrage of letters saying red food coloring should not be added to the sugar water, as it is harmful to the birds.

Instead, make sure that there is something red on the feeder. Other correspondence advised the mixture should be supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

Address questions on food preparation to You Asked About . . ., Food Section, The Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Personal replies cannot be given.