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, they 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! Did we miss anything? Feel free to ask us in the comments below.