Saturday, July 21, 2018

Homemade Cheese Curds – Plan B

Making your own cheese curds at home requires several special ingredients, takes many, many hours, and there are a lot of steps. Other than that, it’s a pretty quick and easy thing to do. So, if you’re planning on making poutine, and there’s a store nearby that sells fresh curds, you should really consider that Plan A. This recipe is Plan B.

Having said that, this is still a fun, satisfying project, and even someone as inexperienced as I am can produce a decent product. Keep in mind; we’re eventually going to pour hot beef gravy all over these, so that should help everyone stay relaxed. Some of the ingredients below sound exotic and kind of scary, but they’re all easy to find in health food stores, or online, and used properly, are completely safe.

With that in mind, I encourage you to do some research on things like sterilizing equipment, and other best practices. While their times, temps, and procedures are slightly different, I referred to these fine videos by ChefSteps and Gavin Webber. In regards to complexity of technique, my method falls somewhere between those two, but they’re both well worth checking out for more info.

Besides the time involved, the hardest thing is keeping everything at those relatively low temps. A sous vide set-up would be prefect for this, but a double-boiler does work. Just keep a thermometer in place, and once the milk gets up to 90 F., alternate between low heat and no heat to get where you need to be.

Is it worth all the effort? I’m not sure, but fried cheese curds are a very nice treat, and having a cube of fresh cheese to pop into your mouth anytime you get the urge is pretty sweet, and then of course we have Poutine. Which is the only reason most people know that cheese curds are even a thing. So, if Plan A isn’t an option, I really do hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for about 1 Pound Cheese Curds:
1 gallon whole milk
1/2 teaspoon calcium chloride crystals, diluted in 1/4 cup of water
1/8 teaspoon mesophilic culture
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet, diluted in 1/4 cup of water (Check directions on package, as the strengths can vary. Mine was “double-strength”)
*kosher salt to season finished curds

* You want to apply exactly 1% kosher salt based on the weight of the finished curds. For example, if you end up with 400 grams of cheese curds, then season with 4 grams of salt.


G said...

Thank you, Chef John. I love cheese curds and if a bowl of poutine just happened to find it's way to me...even better. Hurry!:)

Unknown said...

Chef John you never disappoint, but this is among the best (and definitely the most concise) home cheese-making instruction videos I've seen. Also, you could give yourself more credit, these curds will be way better than what most people could score locally. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Already started on this one!

Spud Lyfe said...

I'd love to see your take on Lomo Saltado, the Peruvian Poutine!

Unknown said...

I went looking tonight for the DEFINITIVE Salisbury Steak recipe--and I thought for sure you would one-up this frozen dinner classic! Could you fulfill my Foodwish and post your own (way better) version? P.S. I'll try the cheese curds soon!

Unknown said...

Thank you chef John,
I am more confident than ever to show my skills in the kitchen! All the credit goes to you.
I wanted to mention how we make cheese curds in India which is less time consuming and equally delicious.
While milk is boiling we add some white Vaneger. It makes the milk curd up right away. After staining we tie the solid material in cheese cloth and put some weight on it overnight , in the morning perfect chees curd is ready known as Paneer in India.
Thanks again for sharing your skills ��

Inky said...

I was super excited when I saw this video pop up on youtube! Though after watching it now, I'm not sure I've got a few hours anytime soon to dedicate to making curds. :(
Time permitting though, I'm not exactly sure where I could find some of the cheese inducing ingredients locally, so I'd probably have to buy online. It's definitely something I wanna try eventually. Thanks for sharing this one Chef John, it was fun and informative to watch! :D

MnMike said...

Very interesting!
As a Minnesotan of Canadian lineage, I adore, and whenever possible, sample Poutine!
Please, please, give us your take on this sometimes boring and tasteless, to Phenomenally Innovative and Delicious dish!? Specifically, aside from your already delightful fries and easily to get fresh curds from WI, what would your unique and interesting toppings and presentation be!!?? Let us know? Thanks for sharing your gifts!