Cheese Curds (Basic)
Learn how to make delicious homemade Cheese Curds with this step by step recipe. Their flavor is mild with about the same firmness as cheese. Fresh curds squeak against the teeth when bitten into, which some would say is their defining characteristic.
Servings: 2 pounds
- Stainless Steel Pot
- Good Quality Thermometer
- Curd Knife
- Slotted Spoon or Ladle
- Cheese Cloth
- 8 lb Weight (1 Gallon Jug of Water) --- mmm --- JUGS!!
- 2 Gallons Raw Milk (Not Ultra-Pasteurized)
- 1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride
- 1 packet C201 Thermophilic Culture
- 1/2 tsp Single Strength Liquid Rennet
- Cheese Salt
- Start out by bringing 2 Gallons of milk up to a temperature of 96°F. Once the milk is at 96°F, set a timer for 90 minutes (so you can measure the critical process from ripening through scald; this is the critical part and needs to run by the clock) and proceed with the recipe.Optional: If you want more color in the curds add 1/4-1/2 tsp of annato cheese coloring at this point
- Next 1/2 tsp of Calcium Chloride is measured out and added to the milk along with a pack of (C201 Thermophilic Culture). The milk is then kept at 96°F to culture (ripen) the milk for 30 minutes.
- Next measure out 1/2 tsp of single strength Liquid Rennet and add this to 1/4 cup of cool water, add and stir the milk gently for about 30 seconds.In about 6-10 minutes the milk will begin to gel and in 18-25 minutes a firm set should take place.This can be tested by inserting a knife and lifting with the broad surface to split the curd as seen above. In a few seconds the cut will fill with clear whey, if it is cloudy wait a few more minutes.
- Next cut the curd surface into 3/4 inch cubes. Wait 3 minutes then begin to stir. Keeping the temperature at 96°F and as you stir the curds will become smaller.
- You can now begin heating the curds slowly to 116°F over 30 minutes. They will continue to shrink as more whey is released. About now your timer should be going off. Continue to cook the curds for 30-60 minutes depending on how dry you like them.
- Once the curds are cooked, transfer them to a cloth lined colander to drain. The cloth is then gathered by its corners and hung for 15-20 minutes. Then the cloth is twisted tight to press the curds together.
- A small plate, placed on top of the curds, provides an excellent flat surface for pressing. Press with a weight of 1 Gallon of water (app. 8 lbs) and let set 1-3 hours. In about 1-3 hours, you'll have a nice consolidated mass of curds.
- This curd mass can now be broken into bite size pieces and tossed with a bit of salt.
- It is now ready for eating. I store the curds in a zip lock bag in the fridge.
- NOTE: If you have a pH meter, the end of step 5 should be pH6.4 and step 7 pH5.3.