How to Make Cheese Curd at Home
Cheese curd is a fresh curd of cheese that has a mild flavor. It is as firm as cheese, but is a little rubbery and springy in texture. Fresh curd has the property of squeaking against your teeth when you bite into it. Some varieties of this cheese are white or cream in color, while some may have an orange or yellow tint. This cheese has a very short shelf life, as it may loose its squeakiness and flavor even after 12 hours of refrigeration. But if you are not so concerned about its squeakiness, you may refrigerate it for as long as 4 months. Cheese curd is commonly used to make Poutine, but it can serve as a nice lunch snack too. Kids love it and here is how to make cheese curd at home. Read on this OneHowTo.com article for step by step instructions.
Start to make cheese curd by bringing the milk to a temperature of around 96˚F (35.5˚C) and setting the timer for around 90 minutes. This is an important process that plays a great role in ripening through the scald, and that is why it should be done by clock.
Next, add ½ teaspoon of calcium chloride into the milk along with one pack of C201 (thermophilic culture). Then keep the milk at 96˚F (35.5˚C) to let it ripen for half an hour.
Now, measure half a teaspoon of rennet and mix it in ¼ cup of cold water. Gently stir the milk for around 30 seconds. After 6-10 minutes, you will see the milk turning into a gel, and within 25 minutes, it will form a firm set. You can test this by inserting the back of a spoon or a knife into it, and splitting the curd from between. Within a few seconds, you should see the cut filling with whey. If it still seems cloudy, you should wait for some more time.
Once the curd has settled, cut its surface into small cubes around ¾ inches in size. Wait for 3-4 minutes and start stirring. While keeping the temperature constant at 96˚F, you will see the curds becoming smaller in size as you stir. Now, you can start heating the cheese curd pieces slowly for 30 minutes at 116˚F (46.6˚C). As they release more whey, you will see them shrinking more and more. At this time, you will see your timer going off too.
Depending upon how dry you want your cheese curd to be, continue cooking for another 30 to 60 minutes. When you have cooked the curds well, transfer them into a colander lined with a muslin cloth. Gather the cloth by its corners and hang it for 15 to 20 minutes. Let the fluids drain, and then twist the cloth tightly to press together the curds.
You can place a small plate over it to press the curds and get a flat surface. You may put a jug full of water on it to provide weight. Let it sit for around 3 hours, after which you will get a nice chunk of curds that you can enjoy.
You can break this mass of curd into tiny pieces, toss them with some salt as per your taste, and enjoy. You can store them in an air tight bag in your refrigerator.
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