Monday, July 12, 2010

What are Cheese Curds?

When we are sampling our cheese products at fairs, craft shows, farmer's markets, etc we often get the question "What is a Cheese Curd?". So we thought we'd take time and do a blog post explaining what Cheese Curds are.

First of all it is important to note that Cheese Curds are in the Cheddar cheese family. Curds aren't your typical Cheddar Cheese that most people are familiar with like mild cheddar (slightly aged) and sharp Cheddars (aged longer), they are actually fresh (no longer than 7 days in age). Now we will get to some more specific questions about cheese curds.

How are cheese curds considered Cheddar?

In short a cheese curd is considered Cheddar because it is the first stage of the cheddar making process. Cheese curds are taken directly from the vat and pressed into wheels or blocks. Pressing the curds will drain out the whey and allow for the cheese to form back into one solid piece. This solid piece of cheese is then set aside to age into Cheddars like Mild, Sharp, and Extra Sharp (the longer it's aged the sharper the cheese will be). You can read more details about this process on our blog post From Cheese Curds to Cheddar Blocks.

What are the nutritional values for cheese curds?

In 4 ounces of cheese curds there are roughly: 115 calories, 9 grams of fat (5 grams saturated), 31 milligrams of cholesterol, 1 carbohydrate, 150 milligrams of sodium, and 7 grams of protein.

What type of milk are Cheddar cheese curds made from?

Cheese curds being Cheddar are made from cow's milk.

Are cheese curds made from pasteurized milk?

At Golden Age Cheese all of our cheeses are pasteurized so yes our cheese curds are too. It is quite rare to find raw milk cheese curds as most factories choose to pasteurize their cheeses and are required to do so by state laws.

What is the texture of fresh cheese curds?

The texture of a fresh cheese curd is soft and spongy, and will be moist (not dry like aged cheddar cheeses) as the whey from the cheese making process will not be completely pressed out (like aged Cheddars).

How can you tell that cheese curds are fresh?

Cheese curds are the best tasting when they are fresh. To tell that a cheese curd is fresh, you want to look for that small bit of moisture, squeaking when the cheese curds are bitten into, and look for coloring. If cheese curds are beginning to lose their freshness, the moisture will begin to dry up, the cheese curds will begin to look more like bite sized pieces of aged cheddar, and also will begin to yellow in color (fresh curds from Golden Age Cheese are always bright white). Cheese curds squeak not only when they are fresh out of the vat, but also regain their squeakiness when left at room temperature. You know you have found fantastic cheese curds if when you bite into one, it squeaks against your teeth! If cheese curds begin to lose their squeak then you know they are beginning to lose their freshness. The old saying that "the squeakier the cheese curd, the fresher" is very true!

Why do cheese curds squeak?

Many people don't realize that when eating cheese curd, there is one important characteristic in which they should be looking for. When eaten only days after it is made, cheese curd is known to squeak against your teeth when it is bitten into. Cheese curds squeak because they are still "wet" and have some of the whey from the cheese making process in the pieces. The older the cheese curds, the less whey or moisture in each piece which causes the squeak to disappear. So remember when eating cheese curds, it is important to look for the squeakiest curds because the squeakier, the better!

Can cheese curds be frozen?

Yes cheese curds can be frozen for up to six months. Although cheese curds do not taste as fresh and may become a bit crumbly once thawed, they still taste great! It is actually recommended to use frozen cheese curds when making fried cheese curds.

How big is a cheese curd?

A cheese curd is a bite sized piece of cheese. Getting a bit more technical, a cheese curd usually isn't longer than your pinky finger and an inch on each side.

Can cheese curds be eaten any other way than just plain?

Cheese curds come in many different flavors. Flavors range from bacon & chive, ranch, and Italian, to very spicy like Cajun, jalapeno, and even habanero. Another way to eat cheese curd is frying it. By using cheese curd batter mix, cheese curds can be fried up and enjoyed like a bite sized Mozzarella stick. Also, some enjoy using the small cheese curd pieces to put on salads, make Poutine, or as a child friendly snack.

We would love to answer additional questions that you may have about cheese curds, so please be sure to drop a comment with your question and we'll respond with the answer as soon as possible!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great post! That answered so many great questions!


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