Who doesn’t love fresh, squeaky cheese curds? Plain, slathered with pesto, deep fried, or with fries and gravy as poutine, cheddar curds are fun and delicious. But making them usually involves half the day, and who has time for that? In this recipe, I have shortened up a few of the steps, the result is tasty, satisfying, and a real crowd pleaser.
If you can, use creamtop, non-homogenized milk for the best results. Pasteurized, homogenized grocery store milk works as well, but the texture of the curds won’t be quite as firm and squeaky.
- 1 gallon whole milk (goat or cow)
- 1 cup fresh, cultured buttermilk (if purchased, buy one with the longest expiration date to ensure that the bacteria are still active)
- 1/4 tsp. double strength (or 1/2 tsp single strength) rennet
- Combine milk and buttermilk in a stainless steel pot.
- Place on direct heat and warm, stirring constantly to 95 F
- Turn off or remove from heat
- Add rennet diluted in 2 TB cool non chlorinated water
- Let set for 10-15 minutes until just pulling away from the sides or firm when pulled away
- Cut into 3/8 to ¼ inch pieces then let rest for 5 minutes
- Stir very gently for 5 minutes at 95 F
- Begin to increase heat very slowly over 15 minutes to reach 102 F
- Pour curds into cloth lined colander and tie in a bundle
- Cover and keep curd at 100 F for 10 minutes
- Cut slab into two pieces , stack, cover and keep warm, use a plastic bag filled with 100F hot water to help keep th
- Turn every 10 minutes until chicken breast texture is achieved (about 1 hour)
- Cut slabs into ½ to 1 inch long by ¼ to ½ inch wide pieces.
- Place in colander over hot whey and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Stir then cover with hot water bag for 5 min. (mellowing)
- Repeat salting and mellowing one more time.
The curds are ready to eat as soon as the salting is completed. They can be bagged and stored, but will lose their squeak after a day or so. They can also be frozen and thawed to enjoy later. Yum!