Squeaky Curds!!

I am often asked if I’ve made squeaky curds.  After my initial response of:  Squeaky What?, I learned they are some sort of an obsession in Wisconsin.  OK.  But, what’s the big deal about cheese that squeaks?  (I didn’t embarrass myself by asking that out loud to the squeak lovers.  At least I don’t think I did.) 

Well, I can now officially answer that: “Yes.  I have made squeaky curds.”

And, officially, I am now addicted.

It’s not just the squeak that gets you hooked, although that’s a fun party trick.  It’s THE TASTE, THE TEXTURE and EVERY DELICIOUS SALTED MORSEL THAT EVEN THINKS OF HITTING YOUR TONGUE!!!

It starts with this plus milk.  1/2 tsp 30% Calcium Chloride in one gallon of milk.  I, of course, used raw goat’s milk.  You can use any raw or pasteurized animal milk, just not ultrapasteurized.  Stir this in and heat to 86 degrees.  On my stove, I set my milk in my stainless steel pot on the burner set on 3 or 4.  You want to heat it slowly.  

Once the milk hits 86 degrees, sprinkle one whole packet like this (which equals 1/4 tsp) of Mesophilic Starter Culture on top of the milk (don’t pay attention to the directions on the label).  Let it just sit there for 2 minutes to rehydrate.

After it rehydrates, stir it in with a slotted spoon…But, Here comes a trick.  Stir it with an up down motion.  Make sure your spoon touches all areas of the milk and that you go all the way from the bottom to the top when you “stir.” 

Now, cover it, at let it sit for 45 minutes.

Now, add 1/2 rennet tablet (that has been disolved in 1/4 cup distilled water), to the milk mixture.  Stir up and down again.  Touch all parts of the milk with your spoon again.  Cover, and let sit for 45 minutes again.

After 45 minutes, your milk should have turned into a curd.  It will be solid and shiny and may have little watery looking drips on the top of it.

So, you’ll want to check it for a “clean break.”  This will tell you if it is ready for the next step.  And, it’s kind of fun.

Stick your clean finger down into the curd, then lift up.  You want to see a sharp tear like this.  If it spreads like cottage cheese over your finger, it’s not ready.

Use a long, sharp knife and cut it all the way to the bottom into 1/2″ squares. 

Then, let the curds sit for 5 minutes.  They will begin expelling whey.  (They are like sponges that, throughout the process of making this cheese, will squeeze out all of their whey!)

Now, put the pot on the lowest setting on your stove.  For me, that’s Low. 

Start stirring.  Slowly.  And, keep stirring.  And stirring.  And stirring.  For 30 minutes. 

 Seriously.  It’s better with a glass of wine.  (Not in the cheese, but for you to drink.)

Your goal here is to get the temperature up to 100 degrees, but VERY slowly.  The curds will be expelling whey this whole time.  And, shrinking.  And shrinking.  And shrinking.

As you stir, many of the curds will break.  That’s fine.  There will be a lot that don’t and that stay big.  That’s not fine.  You need to cut them so they’re all 1/2″ square or less.

Like that.  More or less.

After 30 minutes, take a scoop of curds out into your hand and gently squeeze them.  If they stick together, but then can be pretty easily separated with your fingers, it’s ready. 

If not, go get another glass of wine.  You’ve got more stirring to do.

Once it’s ready, pour the curds through a strainer, and KEEP THE WHEY!

Put the whey into a pot that’s shallow enough for the curds, inside the strainer, to be mostly submerged. 

Leave it there for 10 minutes. Be quiet, it’s cheddaring.  You’d need quiet too if you were cheddaring.

After 10 minutes, it should be in a thick mat at the bottom of the strainer.  Cut the mat in half.  Then, put one half on top of the other half, and put it back in the strainer and the strainer back into the whey for 10 minutes.

After the second 10 minutes, flip the curd.  Let it sit, in the whey for 10 minutes.  Flip again.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat. 

Keep flipping every 10 minutes so that all the flips equal one hour.

After one hour, take the now solid slab (there may be a few marbley curds that fall off here and there.  They must be eaten.) and put it on a cutting board. 

Cut the curd into pieces that end up being 1/2″x 1/2″x 2″.  Or so.  This is before they were final size.

This is when they are the final size.

Then, put them in a Ziploc bag and add 2 tsp. salt.  Close the bag and gently move the curds around inside, coating them as evenly as possible with the salt.

Then, try to keep them away from your family.  If you are not able to, there is a risk that they will devour the whole bag of curds before you even sit down to rest.  You have been at this for about 4 hours, now. 

You deserve a break.

And you deserve to eat as many of those curds as you can fit into your stomach. 

But, because it takes so much time, so much work and so much milk for a small amount of curds, you may decide to ration them.  One curd per family member, per day.

You decide.

And, yes, they do squeak.

–  The Squeaky Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  Thanks to Leeners.com for help with the recipe.

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About The Goat Cheese Lady

I am Lindsey. At first I was a city girl. Then I was an urban farmgirl, attempting to balance city and farm life. Now, after moving to the country, I have embarked on life as a rural farmgirl, complete with my husband, the Animal Whisperer, man of exceptional knowledge and patience, two boys who are louder than my sister and I ever were, a herd of milking goats, and a flock of egg-laying chickens. Coyotes, mice, country dogs and prairie dogs are frequent visitors. Just 45 minutes north is Colorado Springs, the setting for our first six years in the goat world. Our family. Our city friends. Our introduction to cheesemaking. But we...and our growing farm and soon-to-be creamery...have set up shop down off of Highway 115 in Penrose, Colorado.
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12 Responses to Squeaky Curds!!

  1. Chris says:

    when making 2 gallons at a time do I need 2 packets of starter?

  2. Joyce says:

    ? I looked at the madmillie site, and did not see Mesophilic MW3 to order. There was a Mesophilic 5pack, but it din’t say MW3 and I wasn’t sure if I needed the gas producing or non-gas producing…

  3. Chris says:

    I add a table spoon of liquid smoke to the whey before cheddering and it tastes great.

  4. Linda says:

    my cheese turned out wonderful and it squeaks . Can you freeze squeaky cheese successfully or do we need to eat right away . I love the pics they really helped me while I was making the cheese keep up the great job and thank you Linda

    • You can freeze it…but when you thaw it later, it will have a little bit different consistency and most likely won’t squeak. Still edible though. I think the best thing to do is eat it right away, it always has the best squeak on the first day. After that, it loses it’s squeak! I’m glad it turned out well!

  5. Linda says:

    I am trying to make now. Am I suppose to keep the whey at 100 degrees while im fliping the curd mass? It wasnt very clear at that point Ive flipped twice and the whey is cooling so i hope it turns out. Is it better to have the curds all the way in the whey or when you put one half on top to have that half out of the whey for the 10 min.then flip and the other half is out. Help the last 3 batches of different cheese was a flop although the pigs and dogs and chickens and farm cats dont mind as they all get a little . This is my first attempt at squeaky curds that im actually trying to get them to squeak ha ha Ive had a few mishaps when trying to make hard cheddar that squeaked.Thanks Linda

  6. Nancy says:

    p.s. My wonderful husband ran to the store for me so I could have that glass (or 2!) of wine!!

  7. Nancy says:

    I am new to goats and adopted a ‘rescue’ herd (2 mom’s and their 3 doelings/1 buckling from last year) of beautiful Nubians that have produced 4 doelings in the last 2 months. So I have learned to milk (had done it in Europe many many years ago) and now attempting my first hands at making cheese.

    I happened upon your site and decided to try this recipe. Well, my dear, I must say it is the most fun I have had making anything in a long time! Your humor is wonderful, and I look forward to reading many more of your recipes. I am ‘flipping’ my curds as I type you this email, very close to having my first very own squeaky curds.

    Continue your fun and adventures in life. The moments are precious and finding authentic people like you makes it all the more fun! Wish we lived close (I am in SW Florida), you are someone I would enjoy getting to know!

    Regards

    Nancy

    • Hi Nancy! How did the squeaky curds turn out?? I’m sure they were delicious!!! And, with the wine, too! That’s the only part I was missing! It sounds like you’re having a ball in Florida, if you’re ever out this way, I’d love to meet you! Lindsey

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