One of the greatest little snacks is fresh cheese curds. You can’t beat the flavor, and the tiny little squeak noise that you get when you bite in to them. Also they are very easy to make since they do not require a press to make. This is a great cheese for a person that is just starting to make cheese. Small curd size when cutting is very forgiving to those starting out. ingredients:
- 2 gallons of milk
- 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride
- 1 packet of thermophilic culture (yogurt culture)
- optional: annato coloring
- 1/2 tsp rennet or 1/2 rennet tablet
1. 2 Gallons of Milk are heated to 96F, add 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride at this point. (Optional; If you want more color in the curds add 1/4-1/2 tsp of annato cheese coloring at this point)
2. Add one packet of thermophilic culture and let this ripen for 30 minutes.
3. Then add 1/2 tsp rennet and stir gently for 30 seconds. the milk will begin to curd in 6-10 minutes and a full curd will be set 25 minutes
4. When firm cut the curds into 3/4 inch cubes and slowly stir 5 minutes.
5. Then begin to cook the curds to 116F slowly over the next 30 minutes. (starting out at 2F every 5 minutes and then increasing the heating rate as the curds dry out)
6. Continue to stir the curds for the next 30-60 min at 116F to increase firmness. (60 is best if you want a dry firm curd)
7. Drain the curds and whey into a cloth lined colander and bundle by tightening the cloth after the whey is drained.
8. Press with a weight of one Gallon of water (app. 8 lbs) and let set three hours.
9. Now break or cut the curds into small bite size pieces(or cut into cubes) and toss with a bit of salt or herbs (to your taste) they are then ready to eat. The curds will lose their squeak after 12 hours or so. But they still taste great regardless. I had a batch from the store that was covered in garlic and dill that was delicious. That is a variety I would love to make for a potluck. Mmmm squeaky cheese goodness.