Cheese Curds 101

Who loves cheese curds? You do! It’s apparent that you, our amazing customers, can’t get enough of these bits of creamy, salty, squeaky cheese. Here at Renard’s Artisan Cheese they are our biggest seller. During our busy summer season we can sell over 300 pounds of them in a single day! So we’ve put together some of the most popular questions that people ask us about cheese curds, so you can learn too. Ready? Here we go…

What are cheese curds? How are they made? Curds are one of the earliest stages of cheesemaking and are made from only three ingredients: fresh pasteurized milk, starter cultures, and rennet. Rennet is a natural ingredient, used to coagulate the milk and turn it into cheese. After the cheese solidifies, it’s cut into pieces, resulting in curds and whey. The liquid that you sometimes see in your bag of cheese curds is the whey.

Why do they squeak? When fresh cheese curds squeak, it’s them saying they love you too 🙂 But scientifically, the squeak is caused by proteins in the curds being tightly bound, and your teeth rubbing against those proteins creates the sound. After the first day or two the proteins start to break down. That’s why curds eventually stop squeaking, and also explains why curds taste best when they are fresh. At Renard’s Artisan Cheese we make our cheese curds fresh every day. That’s why they’re so delicious!

Should I refrigerate my cheese curds? Cheese curds do not need to be refrigerated until they are 24 hours old. After that, it’s recommended that curds are kept in the refrigerator. That being said, cheese curds taste best at room temperature. Warm them up by either microwaving them for a couple of seconds or let them sit on the counter for a bit before enjoying them.

What’s the difference between yellow and white cheese curds? Both our yellow curds and our white curds are made of cheddar cheese. The only difference between them is annatto, which is a plant-based coloring agent that makes the cheese yellow. Although the yellow and white curds taste the same, some guests have a distinct preference for one over the other. Renard’s Artisan Cheese offers white curds on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. Yellow curds are available every day.

Why does Renard’s sometimes run out of cheese curds in their store? Our cheesemakers start in the earliest hours of the day, since it takes about 5 hours to make a batch of fresh curds and get them bagged up for sale. Planning ahead is essential for us, but sometimes we are much busier than expected, we get a tour bus that comes through unexpectedly, or some other reason that causes us to sell out of curds. Don’t worry, we’ll make more the next day! If you just can’t wait to taste that squeaky goodness, our curds are also available at several businesses throughout the area.

Do you have flavored cheese curds? We absolutely do! When you’re in our stores, just take your curds over to our Sample Table, and our associate will add the flavoring. While you wait, sample some of our amazing cheeses and our tantalizing homemade fudge. You can also order our most popular flavored cheese curds on our website.

Congratulations, you’ve just completed Renard’s Cheese Curds 101!

Meet our Melt Bistro

Renards Cheese Store Sandwich

Renards Cheese Melt
locations deli cheese melt sandwich

“A sweetened cream cheese & sourdough sandwich dipped in French toast batter, grilled, then topped with Door County cherries, toasted almonds and whipped cream. Served with a side of maple syrup.”

“Macaroni and cheese topped with bacon, pulled pork, chicken & shredded medium cheddar, baked until bubbly, topped with golden panko bread crumbs, drizzled with BBQ sauce and sprinkled with scallions.”

And so begins your introduction to Melt Bistro (Did I just hear your stomach rumble?) These delectable dishes are just two examples of the mouthwatering options that you can find on our menu. We use fresh, local ingredients and our famous handcrafted cheeses to create homestyle comfort foods that you’re sure to enjoy.

What is Melt Bistro, you ask?

Over the last few years, the deli inside of our Sturgeon Bay location of Renard’s Cheese has grown up. It debuted a new look, a new menu, a new dining room, and also a new name- Melt Bistro! Named after the hot sandwiches that are featured prominently on our menu, it’s a great option for a quick snack, a sit-down meal, or grabbing food to go. We’ve even got all day breakfast choices.

If you’re just looking for a treat, we’ve got something for you too. Melt Bistro sells hand-scooped ice cream made right here in Wisconsin by Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. This super-premium, award-winning ice cream is rich and creamy and tastes absolutely sinful! The flavors are something to behold. How about This $&@! Just Got Serious (salted caramel ice cream with sea salt fudge and salted cashews) or Munchie Madness (cake batter ice cream with Oreos, M&M pieces and peanut butter cups) or Kitty Kitty Bang Bang (cheesecake ice cream with a sweet raspberry ripple, Oreos and soft chocolate chunks), just to name a few?

You can enjoy your fare in our newly built dining room or outdoors on our patio. We’ve got plenty of picnic tables with umbrellas for shade in our spacious front and back yards, or bring a blanket and have a true picnic on the grass. We’ve got lots of space to spread out and enjoy the Door County sunshine! Want to call in an order for pickup? You can do that too! Call Melt Bistro direct at 920-825-7272 x105.

If you’re planning to entertain, Melt Bistro can make custom cheese trays and charcuterie boards that will be the envy of your friends. Just give us at least 24 hours notice and we’ll take care of the rest.

Check out our Melt Bistro menu here.

Melt Bistro is open the same hours as Renard’s Cheese. Our hours are Monday through Friday 8 AM – 5 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM – 4 PM. Next time you visit our Sturgeon Bay location, be sure to stop at Melt Bistro to satisfy your hunger.