Cheese Curd

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About

Cheese curd is the fresh, young random-shaped curd from cheddar cheese before it's processed into blocks to age. Cheddar cheese usually ages from at least 60 days to many years. Curd, on the other hand, needs to be eaten fresh and unrefrigerated (within about 12 hours) otherwise it turns dry and salty.

Information

Other names: Curd
Translations: Siers Biezpiens, Varškė, Caşului, Sirnog gruša, Phụ Cheese, Sera twarogowego, Stremsel, दही पनीर, Requeijão, Сыры Творог, Τυρί πηγμένο γάλα για τυρί, الجبن الرائب, 치즈 두부, Sýřenině, Сир Цурд, Cheese keso, 奶酪豆腐, Formatge mató, Sir Koagulum, Syrenine, Formaggio fresco, גבינה הגבנה, Ost Ostmassa, Curd Cheese, チーズ豆腐, Fromage blanc, Käsebruch, Ost Curd, Ost Curd, Queso requesón, Сири Сир, Juustomassaseoksella, Сирене извара

Physical Description

Cheese curds are little-known in locations without cheese factories, because they should ideally be eaten within hours of manufacture. Their flavor is mild with about the same firmness as cheese, but has a springy or rubbery texture. Fresh curds squeak against the teeth when bitten into, a defining characteristic, due to air trapped inside of its porous body. Cheese curds are sometimes referred to as "squeaky cheese".[1][2] They are sometimes somewhat salty. The American variety are usually yellow or orange in color, like most American Cheddar cheese. Other varieties, such as the Québécois and New York variety, can be roughly the same color as white Cheddar cheese.

Colors: WHITE OR YELLOW

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Salty
Mouthfeel: Soft, Squeaks on teeth

Selecting and Buying

Choosing: Fresh cheese curds may be deep fried, sprinkled on top of foods, or served on appetizer platters for a special treat. Since they go bad very rapidly, it can be difficult to obtain cheese curds in an area which is not close to a major cheese manufacturer. Consumers can, of course, make their own by curdling milk, just as they can make their own cheeses. Once produced, the cheese curds should ideally be eaten within 10-12 hours for optimal flavor, texture, and squeak.
Buying: After twelve hours, even under refrigeration, they have lost much of their "fresh" characteristics, particularly the "squeak". This "squeak" has been described by the New York Times as sounding like "balloons trying to neck".[3] After twenty-four hours, they will lose their freshness entirely. If they are purchased locally and need to be kept for a couple of days, room temperature, rather than refrigeration, may preserve the flavor and "squeak".

Preparation and Use

Ingredients:

1 gallon 2% milk
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp salt

1. Heat the milk to 190F. You will need a thermometer for other cheeses but you can get by here turning off the heat just before the milk begins to boil.

2. Add the vinegar and allow the mixture to cool.

3. When cool, pour the mixture, (which now consists of curds and whey as in Miss Muffet food) into a colander and drain off the whey.

4. Pour the curds into a bowl and sprinkle on the salt and mix well. You may wish to use less salt or more. It is simply a matter of taste which is the next step. You can add a little cream for a silky texture.

Conserving and Storing

After twelve hours, even under refrigeration, they have lost much of their "fresh" characteristics, particularly the "squeak". This "squeak" has been described by the New York Times as sounding like "balloons trying to neck". After twenty-four hours, they will lose their freshness entirely. If they are purchased locally and need to be kept for a couple of days, room temperature, rather than refrigeration, may preserve the flavor and "squeak".

Social/Political

he New York Times in 1911 reported on an ancient Celtic song, dating from the 12th century, that mentioned cheese curd, perhaps the first musical reference to the most musical of cheeses:

"Visions of MacGonlannee"

Stately and pleasantly it sat,
A compact house and strong.
Then I went in:
The door of it was hung beef,
The threshold was dry bread,
Cheese-curds the walls. [...]

Author

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