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Cheese Curds

Homemade cheese curds have a unique squeaky texture that is delicious

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Cheese curds are fresh cheddar cheese that isn’t pressed or aged. As a cooked curd cheese, they are perfect as a snacking cheese or for melting. See the section above for serving options.

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 liters of milk
  • 1/2 package of mesophilic culture (see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp of liquid rennet in 2 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp of calcium chloride in 2 Tbsp filtered water (if using pasteurized milk)
  • 1 Tbsp salt (non-iodized)

Instructions

  1. Heat milk to 90F (32C). Stir in the culture and maintain the temperature for 90 minutes.
  2. Stir in calcium chloride, then the rennet, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Maintain the heat at 90F and let the milk rest for 45 min to set the curd.
  4. When the curds show a clean break, cut the curds into 1/2-inch cubes.
  5. Cook the curd by gently stirring every 5 minutes for the next 1/2 hour, while slowly raising the temperature to 110F (43C).
  6. Once you have reached 110 F, maintain the temperature and continue stirring every 5 minutes for another 30 minutes. The curds will have cooked for a total of 1 hour.
  7. Line a strainer with butter muslin and pour the curds and whey into it.
  8. Hang the curd in the butter muslin and allow it to drain for 30 minutes.
  9. Twist the muslin tight then press the cheese with 8 lbs of weight for 2-3 hours.
  10. At that point, the curds will have knit into one solid mass. Break them up with your fingers and sprinkle on the salt.
  11. The curds will be “squeaky” for the first few hours. Otherwise, you can store them in the refrigerator and use them within 4 weeks.

Notes

  • The best milk for cheesemaking is non-homogenized. If you’re using homogenized milk then add the calcium chloride.
  • You can replace the mesophilic culture with a 1/4 cup of milk kefir or a 1/4 cup of cultured buttermilk. The flavor will be slightly different, but it will acidify the milk. If using homemade culture you may want to test the acidity of the cheese before setting the rennet.

Keywords: diy, homemade, poutine, curds, cheddar, cheesemaking, fall, winter