Vegetarians do not want to eat products for which an animal has to be killed. This can cause a problem with cheese.
Hard cheese is usually made with rennet, which causes the milk to coagulate. For this purpose, either rennet is obtained from the stomach of calves or microbially produced. Traditionally, cheese production with calf rennet still prevails. This rennet is extracted from the stomach of young slaughtered calves (infants, which still have enough enzymes for the digestion of milk). Rennet does not have to be declared, so basically: If you want to know if a cheese is suitable for vegetarians, ask the producer. This also applies to fresh cheese or curd cheese. They can also be made with calf rennet.
Meanwhile there are also some cheese varieties and finished products which contain the cheese, which are labeled with the V-Label as ovo-lacto-veg. or lacto-veg. In this case, microbial animal-free lab was used for cheese production.
A list of microbial cheese varieties facilitates purchasing: Cheese list
Attention:This list was compiled by us according to the producer data. However, Swissveg can not guarantee that the information is correct or that the recipes of individual types of cheese have not been modified according to our request. Swissveg can guarantee this only for products marked with the European Vegetarian Label, since only these products are controlled by us.
What is rennet?
The stomach of a calf secures a juice that breaks the drunk milk, so that it can be digested well. If such a calf is slaughtered, the butcher cuts out the stomach and ishes and dries it. Then he sells it to the cheesmaker, and the latter cuts it. Every evening the cheesmaker puts a vial of calf's carrots into a cupboard. On the following morning he presses these pegs like a sponge, and empties the yellowish fluid, the rennet, into the heated milk to coagulate them. Today, cheeses mostly buy ready-made labs in powder form. Thus the desired quantity can be accurately weighed on the gram.
(From a textbook. Unfortunately, today only the calves are fed with the milk of their mothers in the rarest cases)
Some numbers about the cheese:
In Switzerland produced milk : 3.9 million tonnes per year.
Of this are processed to cheese: 1.6 million tons.
This results in 137'000 tonnes of cheese.
That means for 1 kg of cheese one needs over 11 liters of milk.
Innovative suppliers have now developed different cheese alternatives. For fresh cheese there are tasty alternatives in the Reformhaus; Nutrient yeast flakes are a great substitute for grated cheese; As a substitute for hard cheese or fresh cheese there are corresponding alternatives from the reform house or internet.
- Source of suppply for vegan cheese alternatives.
- Also vegan cookbooks provide recipes on how to make substitute products e.g. for sour cream, cheese, milk, etc.