do you recommend a site for buying it, or doesn't matter much? thanks!
They may not be the cheapest, but New England Cheesemaking Supply has everything, easy to shop, and the cultures arrive very quickly. So, I use them.
I've bought mine at New England Cheesemaking and Cultures for Health. Hoegger Supply focuses on supplies for goats and their prices may be a little better too.
If you decide to order from Hoegger, I would like to add to your order and get some acid detergent and dairy soap to clean my cheesemaking equipment (pot and mold mostly).
If you need rennet (liquid animal rennet) and want a starter culture for mesophilic "fresh" or themophilic mother culture (all can be recaptured easily), I have plenty of "fresh" and I'm about to make up a new batch of mesophillic.
I'll be interested in making some goat cheese once in a while if you find yourself looking for an occasional outlet if you have a glut of milk at any point.
One of the things I keep thinking would be nice is if some of us could share live culture from time to time. I appreciated your help and encouragement to make and freeze more mother cultures, and have been successful doing so now, too.
I had been thinking in terms of rennet, not cultures. For rennet, I think it makes sense to buy and store. But, for cultures, count me in on being interested in more Ithaca-based sharing and exchange.
I see that my reply wasn't written as carefully as it should have been. I shared a quart bottle of liquid animal rennet with another IthaCan cheesemaker, and if someone needed an immediate source of rennet, I would sell them a little bottle of it if they didn't want to wait until they could receive one ordered online. This would only work once or twice, but I have visions of the times I've gotten everything I needed together to start a project, and then found out I need one more thing - not available locally - to proceed.
I hope your big cheeses are working out. I had to throw away a beautiful 4 pound cheddar after fruit flies got to it while it was air drying. It was beautiful, but imperfect - it had too much whey after being sealed, and some softer spots developed, and that must have made it easy for the fruit flies to penetrate it to the point that I couldn't just cut off the offensive parts. YUCK! The chickens are enjoying it . . . I think cooler weather will help.
Yes, the warm weather has also kept my cheeses warmer than I want. We just opened my big cow-milk cheddar, and it is good. Great melting consistency. But, I did it because I need to re-wax it (most of it) yet again. The oil seems to eventually loosen the wax when it is too warm, but the wax keeps off the mold and fruit flies. Worst on the cheddar, but also a bit of a problem with the parmesan and goat cheddar.
Thanks for offering other cheesemakers the chance to buy rennet if in a pinch-- indeed, I have resorted to Wegman's and Junket rennet tablets when in a pinch, and had inferior setting time and stayed up WAY too late.... all because I had no rennet! So, I bought a lot now... but encourage others in a bind to contact Nancy instead. A community of cheesemakers can support one another in lots of ways!
Back to the discussion about cardoon as a vegetable rennet source...There was a great article in Culture Magazine a few years back that discussed cardoon in detail. http://www.culturecheesemag.com/style/spring_2010/thistle_rennet_ch... Apparently, it's really best used with sheep's milk cheeses. Has anyone played around with ordinary local thistle? I hadn't considered this, but it seems that--with varying results--it can be used, as well.