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    You are in: Home / Community Forums / Cooking Q & A / Cheese Curds
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    Cheese Curds

    serita jones
    Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:24 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Have seen several recipes which include cheese curds. What exactly are cheese curds and how can I make or purchase them?
    duonyte
    Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:54 pm
    Forum Host
    After rennet is added to milk to make cheese and it sets, the coagulated part is the curd. The curd is cut and then drained. The curds are what remain - very fresh cheese. They can then be packed and pressed to make a more familiar cheese, but if left as is, you have curds.

    If you live in Wisconsin, you can get it in a lot of places, it's very popular there. Not sure about other places.

    Some people refer to cottage cheese as curds, but cottage cheese has cream added to it. I think you might be able to use paneer.
    Zeldaz
    Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:56 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Cheese curds are also popular in NY State. They are irregularly sized pieces that are big enough for a bite or two. Any relatively mild white cheddar should do. http://www.cheesemaking.com/Recipe_CheeseCurds.html
    Dee514
    Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:16 pm
    Forum Host
    I can buy them in the supermarket at the Deli counter or cheese counter where they sell the specialty and imported cheeses (not in the cheese case where they sell the packaged and shredded cheeses like Kraft, Sargento, etc.).
    I can also get them at the farmers market.

    http://www.amazon.com/Yanceys-Fancy-Plain-Cheddar-Cheese/dp/B006MH1GQC

    Connie Lea
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:41 am
    Food.com Groupie
    My Dad used to work at a cheese plant. At their plant they added the rennet to the milk in huge vats, had to stir it and I can't remember if it was heated or not. Anyway the resulting curds were white and rubbery. It was then shipped to another plant for further processing. He used to bring some curds home and we all just loved it. The curds you can buy are a little more processed (not exactly sure how) but they aren't as rubbery and have more flavor that the raw curds. Sure wish I could get those raw curds someplace.
    Dee514
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:57 am
    Forum Host
    Connie Lea wrote:
    My Dad used to work at a cheese plant. At their plant they added the rennet to the milk in huge vats, had to stir it and I can't remember if it was heated or not. Anyway the resulting curds were white and rubbery. It was then shipped to another plant for further processing. He used to bring some curds home and we all just loved it. The curds you can buy are a little more processed (not exactly sure how) but they aren't as rubbery and have more flavor that the raw curds. Sure wish I could get those raw curds someplace.

    Yancey's curds and the ones I get at the farmer's market are the old fashioned "rubbery" kind. icon_biggrin.gif
    I know what you mean about some store bought brands being "over processed" though icon_sad.gif
    pinky kookie
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:05 pm
    Food.com Groupie

    Here is this interesting info about cheese curds and how to make them:

    WHAT ARE CHEESE CURDS? -
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curd
    Curds are a dairy product obtained by curdling (coagulating) milk with rennet tablets or an edible acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar, and then draining off the liquid portion.
    The increased acidity causes the milk proteins (casein) to tangle into solid masses, or curds. The remaining liquid, which contains only whey proteins, is the whey. In cow's milk, 80% of the proteins are caseins.
    Milk that has been left to sour (raw milk alone or pasteurized milk with added lactic acid bacteria or yeast) will also naturally produce curds, and sour milk cheese is produced this way.

    HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CHEESE CURDS
    http://www.ehow.com/how_2288692_make-cheese-curds.html
    By G.K. Bayne, eHow Contributor
    Most everyone knows the old nursery rhyme about Little Miss Muffet, but few know that the curds and whey she was eating was an old fashioned form of cottage cheese, known as pot cheese. Simple to make, most households used excess milk to make cheese curds for eating.

    Things You'll Need:
    1 gallon raw milk
    Large stainless steel pot with cover
    Wire mesh colander
    Instructions
    1. Pour the milk into the pot and cover. Place the pot in a warm area of your home. This could be near a heater vent in the winter or on a covered porch during the summer.
    2. Let the milk sit for several days or until curds form. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days depending on the temperature. Check daily.
    3. Drain the curds in a cheesecloth lined colander. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth and let the cheese bag hang for 15 to 20 minutes.
    4. Untie the bag and put the curds into a container that can be covered and refrigerate for up to one week.






    Dee514
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:39 pm
    Forum Host
    FYI....
    Having made many different types of cheeses over the years, I do know that raw (cow) milk is not available (against the law to be sold) in some states in the US. In states where it is available, it can be difficult to come by. I have found the most reliable/safest sources for raw milk is from small, local dairy farmers. Raw goat and sheep milk do not seem to fall into the same category as raw cow milk and is usually more easily obtained, (although not really suitable for making that type of curds).
    Pasteurized milk can be used, but the best results will be obtained with a recipe written for pasteurized milk.
    pinky kookie
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:53 pm
    Food.com Groupie

    I found this very interesting information about raw and pasteurized milk. Read on:

    CHOOSING MILK FOR MAKING CHEESE: RAW vs. PASTEURIZED
    http://www.culturesforhealth.com/choosing-milk-cheese-making-raw-pasteurized

    HOW TO MAKE FARMER'S CHEESE - (Cheese Curds)
    http://cheese.about.com/od/homecheesemaking/r/Farmers-Cheese.htm
    Farmer's cheese is a simple, very mild cheese with a crumbly texture. It is really easy to make at home with this simple farmer's cheese recipe.
    To add more flavor, mix fresh herbs in with the curds or sprinkle herbs on top of the farmer's cheese with olive oil and red pepper flakes. Farmer's cheese can be eaten with bread or crackers, or crumbled on top of salads.
    Prep Time: 15 minutes - Cook Time: 15 minutes - Total Time: 30 minutes
    Yield: 1 1/2 - 2 cups of cheese
    Ingredients:
    1/2 gallon whole milk (pasteurized is fine, but NOT ultra-pasteurized)
    1/4 cup white vinegar
    1 teaspoon salt
    Preparation:
    **Note that you do not want to use ultra-pasteurized milk for cheesemaking because a curd will not set. Ultra-pasteurized milk is not always labeled as such, but you can tell because the expiration date is extremely long, usually 30-90 days from the day you buy it. Regular pasteurized milk, however, will work fine for cheesemaking.

    Bring milk to a slow boil. Keep the heat at medium or medium low, otherwise you risk burning the milk to the bottom of the pot.
    When small, foamy bubbles begin to form on the surface of the milk, but it is not yet at a rolling boil, turn off the heat. If you have a thermometer, which is helpful, the temperature will read about 190 degrees.

    Add the vinegar and stir the milk. You will notice curds immediately beginning to form. Let the milk sit for 15 minutes. After this time, add any additional flavors (like fresh herbs).

    Place a colander over a large bowl or pot. Drape either cheesecloth or a thin dish towel over the colander. Pour the curds into the cheese cloth. The whey (liquid) will drain and be collected in the bowl below and the solids curds will be caught in the cheese cloth.
    Lift the cheese cloth up and wrap it around the curds, twisting and squeezing to expel moisture. After squeezing out the moisture, the curds for farmer's cheese will be dry and crumbly. If you want a creamier texture, mix a little of the reserved whey back in with the curds.

    To shape the cheese, keep it wrapped in cheese cloth and form it into a mound on a plate. Set another plate on top and press the curds into a flat disc that is 1-2 inches tall. Cover and refrigerate for an hour or so before removing cheese cloth.


    Dee514
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:58 pm
    Forum Host
    A- "True" cheese curds must be made with rennet! Lemon juice or vinegar will not produce the proper type of curds .

    B- "Farmers Cheese", especially the kind made with soured (vinegar or lemon juice) milk does not make real "cheese curds", nor does it make "real/true" Farmer's cheese.

    "Real" Farmers Cheese is made by using a "mesophilic" (non-heat loving) culture which is used for making cheeses that are not heated more than 102F in the cheese making process. This includes the typical soft cheeses, as well as the Blue cheeses, Cottage cheese, Farmers Cheese, Cultured Buttermilk and Sour Cream, among others.
    Sorry if I sound like my knickers are in a knot about this. I just really get frosted about people claiming you can make "real cheese" by using vinegar or lemon juice to "sour" the milk, which is actually a "drained fermented yogurt" or "yogurt cheese" as opposed to "real" cheese made with the proper process and using the proper cultures/bacteria.
    icon_confused.gif
    Dee514
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:58 pm
    Forum Host
    icon_redface.gif Sorry...duplicate post icon_redface.gif
    pinky kookie
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 8:36 pm
    Food.com Groupie

    Whatever floats your boat, too. icon_biggrin.gif icon_wink.gif
    Zeldaz
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:06 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Dee, I have some vegetarian friends who only eat cheeses that are made with vegetarian rennet. Do you know anything about this, the difference, that you can shed light on? I know regular rennet is an animal product.
    DrGaellon
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:19 pm
    Food.com Groupie
    Dee514 wrote:
    B- "Farmers Cheese", especially the kind made with soured (vinegar or lemon juice) milk does not make real "cheese curds", nor does it make "real/true" Farmer's cheese.

    Sorry if I sound like my knickers are in a knot about this. I just really get frosted about people claiming you can make "real cheese" by using vinegar or lemon juice to "sour" the milk, which is actually a "drained fermented yogurt" or "yogurt cheese" as opposed to "real" cheese made with the proper process and using the proper cultures/bacteria. icon_confused.gif

    Actually, it's not yogurt cheese either, since yogurt is ALSO a cultured product; yogurt cheese is just yogurt that's drained until it's almost solid.

    No, when you add acid and heat to milk, what you're making is actually paneer - there isn't a proper English word to name it, since, as you point out, proper curds are made with rennet, so I use the Hindi word for it. Indians use this stuff in all sorts of dishes.
    Dee514
    Thu Oct 11, 2012 11:50 pm
    Forum Host
    DrGaellon wrote:
    Actually, it's not yogurt cheese either, since yogurt is ALSO a cultured product; yogurt cheese is just yogurt that's drained until it's almost solid.
    You are absolutely right Doc, and I know that......guess I had a senior moment. icon_redface.gif icon_redface.gif Thanks for the correction icon_smile.gif

    Zeldaz wrote:
    Dee, I have some vegetarian friends who only eat cheeses that are made with vegetarian rennet. Do you know anything about this, the difference, that you can shed light on? I know regular rennet is an animal product.
    Zelda,
    Check the link below for an explanation of animal rennet and vegetable rennet.
    I have never used vegetable rennet (nor have I ever made my own animal or vegetable rennet). My only experiences are with store bought (animal) rennet.
    I have tried making cheese with "Junket" (rennet) tablets, but the results were unsatisfactory...Junket makes a good custard, but awful cheese.

    Traditional animal rennet is an enzyme derived from the stomachs of calves, lambs or goats before they consume anything but milk.
    Vegetable rennet (microbial coagulant) is obtained from a type of mold (Mucur Miehei). The final product is an equivalent chymosin product which works equally well but is not animal derived.
    From what I have read, some people make their own vegetable rennet from the juice of nettles, figs, etc. Homemade vegetable rennet works for sheep's milk and soft cheeses, but not for aged, hard cheeses.

    Cheese rennet is at least 80% chymosin and 20% pepsin

    http://www.cheesemaking.com/LiquidVegetableRennet.html (Liquid Vegetable Rennet) click on "Specifications" for the explanations.
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