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Homemade Cheese Curds

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"Generally, if the need for poutine is strong, you'd stock up on fresh cheese curds at the store. But since many of my viewers don't live near such stores, I decided to take one for the team and show you how to make your own. Is it worth all the effort? Well, fried cheese curds are a very nice treat, and having a cube of fresh cheese to pop into your mouth any time you get the urge is pretty sweet. And, of course, your poutine will thank you. You can serve these immediately or cover with a cheesecloth and let sit for 12 hours for a tangier flavor."
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Ingredients

4 h 50 m servings 146
Original recipe yields 16 servings (1 pound)

Directions

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  1. Pour milk into a sterilized pot. Place pot into a larger pot filled with a few inches of water. Heat milk, stirring occasionally, to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). Remove from heat.
  2. Dissolve calcium chloride in 1/4 cup water; stir into the milk. Sprinkle mesophilic culture over the surface of the milk. Let sit for 1 minute, then stir gently for 1 minute. Cover and let culture ripen for 35 minutes.
  3. Dilute rennet with 1/4 cup water. Stir rennet into the milk mixture for exactly 1 minute. Cover again and let sit until a knife can cut cleanly through the curd, about 45 minutes. Cut curd into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes directly in the pot. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Cover curds and heat, stirring every 10 minutes, to 98 degrees F (37 degrees C), about 90 minutes. Squeeze curds together to check if they stick. Drain curds and transfer to a cheesecloth-lined strainer set inside a pot.
  5. Pour enough whey over the curds to reach about 3 inches at the bottom of the pot. Let drain for about 1 minute. Cover with cheesecloth and the pot lid. Heat the whey below to keep curds between 112 and 115 degrees F (44 and 46 degrees C); let drain for 10 minutes. Curds will stick together to form a slab. Cut slab in half, re-cover, and let drain for 10 minutes.
  6. Flip curds over and re-wrap. Drain for 10 minutes more, keeping the temperature still between 112 and 115 degrees F (44 and 46 degrees C). Cut the slab into smaller slabs and stack them inside the cloth. Return to the pot and cover. Continue draining, flipping and rearranging the slabs every 15 minutes at the same steady temperature, about 1 hour total.
  7. Unwrap the slabs and let them rest for a few minutes on a paper towel-lined plate. Cut into cubes and place curds in a zip-top bag. Add 1/2 of the salt; shake to coat. Add remaining salt and repeat.

Footnotes

  • Chef's Notes:
  • 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.
  • 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 degrees F, alternate between low heat and no heat to get where you need to be.

Nutrition Facts


Per Serving: 146 calories; 7.9 11 7.9 24 218 Full nutrition

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