Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For the love of pete, make your own cheese curds.

How to make cheese curds:

1. Heat 2 gallons of milk to 96F and add 1/2 tsp of calcium chloride.

2. Add 1 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 gel in 6-10 minutes, and will be fully set and ready to cut in 18 -25 minutes.

4. When firm, cut the curds into 3/4 inch cubes and 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). (Open a nice white wine now, pour yourself a glass)

6. Continue to stir the curds for the next 30-60 min at 116F to increase firmness. (top-off you glass of wine at this point)

7. Drain in cheese cloth and bundle by tightening the cloth.
Press with a weight of 1 gallon of water (aprox. 8 lbs) and let set 1-3 hours. (yep, time to open the next bottle. You are not going anywhere tonight anyway)

8. Now break the curds into small bite size pieces and toss with a bit of salt (to your taste). They are ready to eat. They can be stored in a covered glass container or a ziploc bag.

NOTE: If you have a pH meter (you really should), the end of step 5 should be pH6.4 and step 7 pH5.3.

Pretty straight forward.